Walking

Here are 5 Great Calf Exercises (with and without equipment) That Tone and Shape Your Legs

Are you bulky, toned, with abs of steel up top, but unable to get the same effect for your calves? Chances are you’re the guy that constantly gets called out for skipping leg day. Some of us really don’t care about the mismatch between legs and arms, figuring they’re never really seen. Then there are those of us who do try to get our calves in tip top shape, but are either stumped at what exercises to do or where to start.

You can find tons of articles on how to build muscle mass. There are hundreds more on proper eating, not including the millions of diet options found on the internet, and millions more on how to get the perfect abs. But when it comes to leg or calf exercises, it usually requires a lot more searching.

 

Movedownload (9) Your Legs
Something that we should already be doing is going for walks, jogs, and runs. You can tour your neighborhood, walk the dog an extra few blocks, or even walk/run/jog in place in your home. Anything that strains and gets your legs moving. The stairs in your home can be treated as built in exercise equipment. Go up and down a couple of times, if you’re not up to being outside. It’s important to work a little bit harder with every workout. Try including a Polar Loop into your walk, and track your steps and distance. Challenge yourself to go further and achieve more steps in the next walk. If you repeat the same routine, you won’t get the results you want.

download (10)Cycle a Lot
A bike is exercise equipment, and can usually be found in many households. If you have a sunny day, ride your bike to work for the day and leave the car at home. It’s a great way to target the muscles in your calves. Switching gears can heighten the intensity of your bicycle workout, as well as riding over hills and rougher surfaces like grass instead of pavement. Another advantage of biking is that you’ll save on gas.

 

                                          Calf Raises 

Calf-Raises-BasicAnother great calf exercise is the calf raise. Standing with your feet shoulder width apart, your back straight and your hands at your sides. Contract the calf muscles, while lifting your heels off of the ground so your weight is on your toes. Hold for a second, then release back to the floor.
Repeat for twenty raises, or until you can feel a sore strain in your muscles.

 

Seated Calf Raise

or_bc95b316126642248312988This is a workout that is necessary for the calf muscles to reach their maximum capacity. While this movement is similar to the standing calf raise, the seated calf raise will actually target the lower muscles of the calf. Sit with the machine pads resting on your thighs. Again, drop your heel to 2-4 inches depending on how flexible you are. Raise again and squeeze the calf muscles once you reach the top. The rep range for this workout, as well as the standing calf raise, should between 10 and 20 depending on the needs of your body and what you can tolerate.

 

                                         Jump Rope
jumping-ropeWe’re going to go back to the basics. Get yourself a jump rope and perform either timed sets or sets for a specific number of reps. Bounce on the balls of your feet and keep your ground contact time as short as possible. Make it a game, or a competition with the family. First see who can jump the longest. Another fun game is seeing who can get more jumps in.

When working on building muscle in the lower legs, it’s important to remember to take in the proper amount of nutrients and protein to sustain your exercises. Give your body the appropriate time to rest and recover between each workout session. Never push yourself beyond your daily limit. Damaged muscles don’t serve any purpose.

Fitness and Supplements

The supplement in384x324-images-stories-supplements_702_277_s_c1dustry has become inundated with ineffective supplements, with false claims of helping you reach your fitness goals, making it even harder to figure out which supplements actually work. It is vital that we do our research and consult our physicians before adding any supplement to our diets. While you gather your questions for your next doctor visit, we’ll take the hard part out… The research. Here’s a list of supplements that can actually help you reach your fitness goal.

Whey
Whey tops the list of mass-gain supplements because it’s the most crucial for pushing protein synthesis. Whey is a milk protein that has a high level of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs, No. 4 on our list). Bottom line: Whey takes the crown because it digests fast and gets to your muscles rapidly to start building muscle. Whey also contains peptides (small proteins) that increase blood flow to the muscles. This is why we always recommend consuming whey protein immediately after training.

Green Tea
Green tea fights fat. Animals who are given the extract in studies gain less weight and burn substantially more fat than animals getting a placebo. You can drink the tea, experts ideally recommend about eight glasses a day-or go the easier route and just take a supplement. Aim for 90 milligrams three times daily.

Creatine
Creatine is perhaps the most efficient supplement if you’re doing a high-intensity activity. There are very few supplements that have the solid scientific foundation available that creatine has. Experts say that creatine is beneficial to 80% of the people who have used it. Since creatine is found naturally in meat, the more meat you eat, the less likely you’ll need creatine supplementation. However, vegans or those who rarely eat meat can get huge boosts from these supplements.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids is the one type of fat you don’t want to cut back on. Two crucial ones — EPA and DHA — are primarily found in certain fish. ALA, another omega-3 fatty acid, is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits. Fish oil supplements can lower elevated triglyceride (Blood fat) levels. Having high levels of this blood fat puts you at risk for heart disease. Omega-3s also help prevent several types of cancer, including breast and prostate cancers.

Keeping our testosterone levels high when we are training is important for building muscle mass. Testosterone is the leading hormone that is largely responsible for building lean muscle mass and increasing strength. One of the best bodybuilding investments you can make is to consume all natural test boosters.

8 Tips to Maintaining Fitness in the Cold Season

The colder 8 Tips to Maintaining Fitness in the Cold Seasonseason is upon us. For some, that means their workout sessions will slow down, while for others it will come to a complete stop until next season. Don’t allow the cold to frighten you from your daily routines. Exercising in the cold can have its benefits. Sometimes the chill allows you to do a more thorough workout than you would get in the warmer weather. If you’re exercising in particularly frigid temperatures, your body will expend more energy to regulate core temperature, increasing your heart rate and boosting the number of calories you burn during a workout. While it may be a challenge, here are a few tips for getting through a winter workout:

Warm Up Wisely
Before any workout, walk around or jog in place indoors for five minutes, recommends Olympian Jeff Galloway, coauthor of A Woman’s Guide to Running. When you head out, give your body time to adjust to the conditions by taking 30-second breaks every few minutes for the first 10 minutes.

Hydrate
Even if it’s not as obvious as in the summer, you’re still sweating during cold-weather workouts and pushing yourself, so stay hydrated. Mayo Clinic suggests drinking water before, after and during your runs, even if you don’t feel thirsty.

Dress Warm
Dress in removable layers, sometimes two or three. Wearing a sweater adds inches to the bar, making it harder on exercises like Front Squats to put the bar correctly. I remove my sweater during work sets, and put it back on between sets. Try also a wool hat to avoid sinus & ear infections from the cold weather.

Don’t forget your hat and gloves
Keeping hands and feet warm is key in the cold temperatures since your body will shunt blood away from extremities to keep your internal organs warm. Gloves will help prevent skin damage and frostbite in sub-zero temperatures. To keep your feet warm, make sure your torso is properly insulated. That will drive blood back down to your lower extremities. About 50 percent of body heat is lost from an uncovered head when the temperatures hit the freezing mark. Wearing a hat will help your body retain heat.

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia
Symptoms of hypothermia include an inability to think clearly or move easily, shivering, exhaustion, memory loss, drowsiness, fumbling hands, slurred speech, pain in the extremities, a slow and weak pulse, as well as collapse or unconsciousness.

Don’t Overdress
Wearing too many clothes during a workout can cause you to sweat more. In the winter, sweat being soaked into your clothing may leave you feeling a bit more chilled. If you notice that you are feeling colder, immediately remove an additional layer of clothes. Try to stay away from heavy cottons, as they’d promote and soak up more sweat.

Check the weather
knowing the forecast allows you to properly prep for the next workout, adjusting your wardrobe accordingly

 Plan your route
Having a set destination is important for any exercise, regardless of weather conditions. During the colder season, try on planning a route with heavily lined trees or buildings. This allows some protection against the wind. Another great practice is to be sure there is a store or cafe along the way, in case you need to step in and warm up a little.

There are some safety risks to consider when exercising in the cold. The most dangerous conditions to work out in are those that involve extremes in temperature. Cold weather exercise can lead to hypothermic symptoms. When exercising in the cold, you need to think more about your clothing and your exposure to the elements.

 

Halloween Fitness

It’s that timHalloween Fitnesse of year again, the “Fall Season” the smell of fresh leaves in the air, daylight begins to fade earlier each day and of course Halloween will be peaking around the corner. Halloween allows us to dress up as our favorite character, animal, thing, or whatever creative costume you’re able to come up with. We have fun, take pictures, laugh at each other’s costumes, and attend parties and other functions. We also spend a great deal of time walking around the neighborhood, allowing the children to knock on each door one by one, screaming, “Trick or Treat!” Are you ready for this much physical activity? We’ll help get you there.

First, if you’re not usually into fitness, you’d want to start out slow and easy. Simply walk out the door and take a walk for 10 minutes, and walk back. Do this routine every day for a week. When this becomes easy for you to maintain, add five more minutes to your walk the next week. Each week add an additional 5 minutes, until you are walking at a brisk pace for 30 mins. Be sure to keep your posture upright. Hold your head up and eyes forward. Your shoulders should be down, you’re back relaxed. Tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks and fall into a natural stride.

The quicker you walk, the farther you can go and the more pounds you’ll melt off. An amazing routine you can try is, after warming up for 5 minutes, walk as fast as you can for 10 minutes. I suggest using a pedometer like the Garmin Vivofit, to keep track of distance. Then turn around and walk back at a brisk pace, slowing your speed to cool down as you get closer to your starting point. Each time you do this workout, aim to walk faster and go farther than your initial turnaround point. Get into the habit of logging your time and pace after each workout and you will soon be surprised at what you have accomplished after a few weeks.

Another great way to get walking is shop. That’s right, go to the Mall! Several malls open early for walkers, as do some larger stores. Gather a group of friends, or go alone and make some along the way, and window shop. Check out the prices of the newest items. If your local mall has more than one level, try to refrain from taking the elevators or escalators, and opt for the stairs. Walking the mall allows you to walk in a more social environment, potentially forgetting the fact that you’re even working out. The floors are usually concrete, so you may want to wear a more cushioned shoe than you would for a treadmill. Time your walk to finish when the stores open, especially during the holiday season when the mall will fill up fast with shoppers.

Now the day has arrived, Halloween is here and the little ones are ready to go trick or treating. Even better, so are you! Keep in mind all of the calories in those little Halloween candies. We know you may want to do a quality check on your child’s bag or basket but for their sake and your calorie intake, limit your sampling.

Also, make sure your trick or treaters brush thoroughly after they have had their limit, as that’s plenty of sugar in those candies, but we’ll save that for another blog post. Have Happy, Safe, and Fit Halloween!

Does Exercise Build the Immune System?

As of September 22, 10:29 P.M we have officially said “so long to Summer,” and welcomed in the Fall Equinox. The color of the foliage will offer somDoes Exercise Build the Immune System?e of the most beautiful scenery nature has to offer. Unfortunately, this season usually brings the cold and flu with it. Many people will protect themselves with the flu shot, but did you know that working out can also help to fight off the common cold? Exercise not only helps your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections, it decreases your chances of developing heart disease, osteoporosis, and cancer.
Scientists do not really know how exercise increases your immunity to certain illnesses, but different theories are being tested. Exercising regularly improves cardiovascular health, lowers blood pressure, helps control body weight, and protects against a variety of diseases. Just like a healthy diet, exercise can contribute to general good health and therefore to a healthy immune system. It may contribute even more directly by promoting good circulation, which allows the cells and substances of the immune system to move through the body freely and do their job efficiently. Another theory is physical activity may help flush bacteria out of the lungs, decreasing the chance of a cold and flu, or other airborne illness. This same process may flush out cancer-causing cells by increasing output of wastes, such as urine and sweat. Others may argue that exercise sends antibodies and white blood cells through the body at a quicker rate. As these antibodies or white blood cells circulate more rapidly, they could detect illnesses earlier than they might normally. The increased rate of circulating blood may also trigger the release of hormones that “warn” immune cells of intruding bacteria or viruses.
Be careful of exercising too much. Yes, there is such a thing as too much. “People who already exercise regularly are cautioned not to develop too vigorous a workout program in the hopes of increasing the immunity benefits. Heavy, long-term exercise (such as marathon running and intense gym training) could actually decrease the amount of white blood cells circulating through the body and increase the presence of stress-related hormones,” according to an article published by Medline Plus.
Some scientists are trying to take the next step to determine whether exercise directly affects a person’s susceptibility to infection. For example, some researchers are looking at whether extreme amounts of intensive exercise can cause athletes to get sick more often or somehow impairs their immune function. According to Harvard Medical School, “While some changes have been recorded, immunologists do not yet know what these changes mean in terms of human immune response. No one yet knows, for example, whether an increase in cytokines is helpful or has any true effect on immune response.”
Have a little cold or the flu? Do you usually get the cold or flu like symptoms this time of year? Maybe you don’t have either, but don’t want to take any chances. Grab your Vivofit by Garmin and challenge yourself to a nice 30 minute walk, or maybe you’d like to grab yourself a Polar Loop Activity Monitor and put together a workout routine. Whatever you do, Be Active, Be Fit, Be Healthy!

Polar Loop

The Polar Loop is the very first activity tracker on the market that not only counts steps, but also has the ability to connect to Polar Heart Rate Monitors, such as the Polar H7 Heart Rate SensorPolar Loop, allowing you to track steps, calories, sleep and other activities. This removes having to guess how many calories have been burned during your workout.

Opening your package, you may notice minor alterations may be required. With the maximum circumference of the band being 9.3 inches, you may have to cut it to your size. Please carefully follow sizing instructions. The minimum circumference will be 5.7 inches. Once properly sized, no additional adjustments are required. The Loop can be paired with the iPhone via Smart Bluetooth and have access to the companion app’s dashboard. If you’re an Android user, you must remove the device and sync it with a computer using the supplied USB cable. Polar says that an Android app is due out soon. The software, called Polar FlowSync (flow.polar.com) is designed to allow you to sync your activities to the web, as well as update the firmware on the unit.

If you’re heavily into exercising then adding on the H7 Heart Rate Transmitter is great for you. This allows you to your heart into the target zone and keep it there. A good thing to point out is that “the Bluetooth Smart doesn’t allow multiple devices to connect to the HR strap at once.  This means that if you have a phone app that’s otherwise using the strap you’ll need to disconnect that app from using the strap.  The inverse is true as well if you want to use it with your phone, you’ll need to disconnect it from the Loop.” The Loop doesn’t require a given starting point or ending point.  It just knows you’re wearing a strap and records the data from it, a feature setting not seen in many other activity monitors. Now when you’re cycling or running you can get the actual calorie information from the HR Data.

We have not forgot about the swimmers either. Most activity trackers are barely even rain proof, let alone the lame IPX7 standard (which is 1 meter for 30 minutes), but the Loop is waterproofed up to 20 meters (60feet). Polar Loop has a capacitive touch button that reacts to water as well as to a human touch. The soft strap, included with the H7 Transmitter, is not machine washable. The Polar H7 transfers heart rate information while swimming with products which support 5kHz transmission.

So, what are you waiting for? Order your Polar Loop Activity Monitor and H7 Heart Rate Transmitter NOW!

The Importance of H20

Did you know that water makes up more than 50 percent of your body weight? It is one of the main components your body relies on to survive. Proper hydration allows the heart to easily pump blood through the blood vessels to the muscles. It also allows the muscles to remove waste so that they can function normally. “If you’re well hydrated, your heart doesn’t haThe Importance of H20ve to work as hard,” said John Batson, M.D, a sports medicine physician with Lowcountry Spine & Sport, and an American Heart Association volunteer. Every cell, tissue, and organ in your body needs water to properly function.

Water comes packed with health benefits as well. Proper hydration is, by far, one of the best solutions to decreasing wrinkles. H2O also promotes stronger teeth, while the additional fluoride now added to most treatment facilities promotes extra bone density to the bones and teeth.

Because synovial fluid contains water, it is also crucial to the joints, keeping them properly hydrated.

Due to the amount of sweat lost while exercising, it’s essential that everyone, athlete or individuals should keep hydrated to help ward off the possibility of “cramping”.

Drink more to promote a healthier mind as well. The human brain is composed of 95% water, blood is 85% water, and lungs are nearly 90% water.

It is generally recommended that most people drink 6-8 8 ounce glasses of water daily. Carrying something like the Camelbak 1L Chute BPA Free Water Bottle with you as you go about your exercise regimen will help you stay hydrated. Even the elderly may have to consume more water than average. They may have a medical condition requiring more water intake.

Fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and herbal teas can contribute to the amount of water needed daily as well. Sports drinks are helpful for those exercising due to the carbohydrates that can prevent low blood sugar, but water is more than enough to keep you hydrated.

The Sun, The Tan, The Burn?

With summer upon us, everyone should be thinking about sun protection. In fact, those of us who spend many hours outside during the early day walking, running or hiking those deep wood trails, should already be ahead of the curve.

Still, many people misunderstand both the dangers and the necessary steps to protect their skin from sun damage, which includes skin cancer and acute damage like sunburn and sun poisoning.

There’s no ‘safe’ tan
Probably the biggest misconception people have about sun care is that suntans are healthy. The fact is, a suntan is the body’s response to damage. When the sun’s rays are absorbed by the skin, cells called melanocytes produce melanin, a pigment that gives the skin color. The added melanin offers increased protection for future exposure.

However, it’s important to emphasize that if skin tans, damage has already occurred. Moreover, sunburn is a severe response to excessive sun exposure, which exceeds the skin’s melanin production response.

What’s a little burn?
We hear all the time, “I got a little sunburn, but it’s no big deal.” Unfortunately, while tans and burns are signs of damage, each time we burn we greatly increase our risk for skin cancer — one blistering sunburn doubles your risk for malignant melanoma, the most dangerous and ever-increasing form of skin cancer.

Athletes, everyday people exercising in the hot sun in particular should keep in mind that sunburns and acute sun poisoning can cause headaches, nausea, fever and fatigue. Nevertheless, a ‘healthy tan’ is often popular,

Sunscreen, clothing ?
The human body can be considered a near-perfect black radiator, absorbing 97 percent of radiant energy directed at it, regardless of skin color. So while it may sound implausible, wearing both sunscreen and clothing can actually enhance performance by reducing the amount of radiant energy absorbed by the skin; even small increases in body temperature can adversely affect performance.

Additionally, wearing sunscreen on covered areas during hot and sunny days can be beneficial too, since those great wicking fabrics are also great at letting more sun in.

Sun block or sweat block?
While use of sunscreen can reduce radiant heat absorption, people  are concerned that sunscreen will also hamper sweating. However, data from a 2000 research study published in the Journal Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness showed that use of sunscreen doesn’t affect thermoregulation — in fact, it may actually enhance overall body cooling. This data, while preliminary, should convince those who believe sunscreen will compromise their performance to start protecting their skin.

Managing your risk
Take advantage of the early morning or early evening hours when the sun is not as intense as it is during the hours of 10a.m. and 5p.m.  Don’t forget to put on your sunscreen even at these times, the sun may not be as intense, but you can still get a burn if not treated.

The bottom line is that we all need to do the best we can to reduce our risk while we go about our daily exercise routines.  The most important thing to understand is that sunscreen can actually improve your performance by protecting against burns and keeping you cooler in the heat.

 

 

 

Walk to Better Health with a Walking Plan and Pedometer

Downloadable Pedometer

Downloadable Pedometer

Walking is a great form of aerobic exercise suitable for nearly everyone, from any age and level of athletic fitness. The remarkable benefits walking offers are reason enough to start including some modest exercise into your daily routine. If you haven’t thought about walking, now is the time to start.

Though easy to begin, there is a right and wrong way to begin a walking program. The most important thing is to ensure plenty of motivation, because benefits rely on regularity. This can mean using pedometers to keep track of progress and enlisting friends and family into the program. You may also want to choose to walk on a schedule, or to use other motivational tools to keep you moving. The key is to do so on a consistent basis. The more regular exercise you get, the better. Avoid falling into the trap of just walking once or twice a week and then falling off the wagon.

Pedometers and heart rate monitors can be great tools for starting a walking program. Not all monitors are the same, and it makes sense to choose one right for your specific needs. For instance, some people will benefit from the no-scroll display of the Sportline 308, and others will find the CR-786 Downloadable Multifunction Pedometer to be best for keeping motivation high. It all depends on what features you’re looking for (and we make it easy with our product search and shopping options).

Regardless of the style chosen, it is important to begin any exercise program with an easy workout. Slow progression from your current fitness level will protect against over-exertion and injuries. The only competition in a walking program is your own past performance, and pedometers can help make the most of competitive motivation. Start slow and work your way up and watch as the benefits start to make themselves more visible. Before you know it, you may find yourself with more energy, better breath, or even a few lost pounds on the scale.

Get Fit This Fall with the Help of Bulk Pedometers

Pedometers

Find bulk pedometers from Sportline, Omron, and more at HRM USA.

When it comes to getting in shape, most of us try to ramp up our efforts in the spring and summer for swimsuit season. However, once fall sets in, we tend to fall into our holiday mode, overeating and putting off the exercise. You’ve worked very hard to get your spring and summer body and it deserves to be kept up with. You’ll look better, feel better, and most importantly, you’ll be healthier. So, as summer continues on, start thinking about ways that you can keep fit during the fall. At Heart Rate Monitors USA, one of our favorite ways to stay fit is walking.

Walking programs are easy to start in the office and most of the time, they can have a HUGE payoff. Weight loss, increased energy, and even increased productivity can result from a little extra exercise, which is certainly needed during the busy fall season. If you want to keep up your summertime physique but don’t want to have to do it alone, see if you can start a walking program with some people from work. Walking for just 30 minutes a day can mean the world when you’re trying to manage your weight and stay healthy. To track it all, just clip on a pedometer and go!

At Heart Rate Monitors USA, we offer bulk pedometers that are ideal for office walking programs. Order a handful for a few of your friends or outfit your entire building with pedometers to suit how you’ll be walking. Either way, you’ll be taking a step toward better health.

Our bulk pedometers range from the basic to the sophisticated, tracking everything from steps to calories burned depending on your specific needs. Put together a small group of close coworkers or organize something across your entire company for a big prize. You’ll stay motivated, fit, and ready to keep your physique into the holiday season. All you need are some tips to get started and of course, our bulk pedometers.

Check out these posts on starting a walking program for some tips:

Then, once you’ve got all of the info you need to get started, check out our bulk pedometers selection and place your order. If you need help, send us an email or give us a call. We’d be happy to put you on the right track.