Category Archives: Exercise

Exercising Focus

So, on some inspiration from a a site I stumbled upon,, I feel it is necessary to learn about some new habits, or hopefully old, that everybody, no matter what they are doing, should focus on.

Limb Extension

The first of which is limb extension. Whenever you are doing an exercise and it involves movement that goes from one extreme of the muscles cabilities to the other, a person should always be focused not to extend past the joint or muscles extension.

It should seem fairly intuitive that  you don’t want to be extending those arms to a locked position on the way down, fully blown open. Because of the fact that you jump into what will feel like a locking position, you don’t want to over extend those arms. See how the fellow in the photo below goes down, something similar to this. i personally go a little bit further down, but not much.



Breathing is essential to your exercise. Your muscles, brain, heart, and blood all scream for more oxygen while your exercing. Sometimes you’ll find yourself getting light headed or dizzy, this is a sign of lack of oxygen; so breathe!In-out-in-out.

Most recommend that you breath in as your going up, exhale as your going down. The logic just makes sense since your diaphragm works in the same fashion.


In the article Sitting Still we touched on the fact that if you stay still and sit in a position for a very long time, you will find that your muscles start to row naturally into those positions: slouched back breeds hunchbacks, sitting spreads hips etc. Well, the same idea passes for posture when your exercising.

If your lifting the weights with the wrong posture, you will find that the muscle starts to grow in the awkward posture positions which then causes your body to get altered into a bad direction. After this happens, it becomes increasingly harder to recover from such growth. It is possible, but an extremely conscious effort must be made at correcting.

Focus on things like:

  • keeping a straight back
  • looking forward so your neck isn’t tweaked into an awkward position
  • bending at the knees

Paying attention to these things will provide you with proper muscle growth, and benefit you definitely in the long run.



Muscle cars are fast, but going fast during your muscle building isn’t the best option. Yes there are certain times when your training to specifically be explosive and reach high speeds, but that is very specific training and if you’re reaching this level, you are most likely also training directly with a professional trainer.

Keep your motion smooth and steady, if you are not properly warmed up, and decide to power through a heavy set on the press, this is a pulled muscle waiting to happen.


Stay Loose

It is essential that you become loose when your working out. Flexing and stretching and straining the muscles that most activities require can cause muscle pulls and strains that certainly aren’t wanted.

Keep your body loose always. Get in the habit of stretching a few times a day; when you wake up, when you are in midday or when you get home, and then at night time a few hours after dinner. This way your body will be getting the proper stretching in, loosening your limbs which also gives the required blood/oxygen flow to the muscles looking to repair.

Listen to your Body

During your whole exercise routine, listen to your body. It knows how much it can handle, it knows how much it wants to do, it knows when to stop. Listen to it, recognize signs. Most times out of ten, before you really strain a muscle you can start to feel it slowly tweaking more. If you get into a situation where your slightly tweaked, STOP, STRETCH, and move away from that area for the day. Nobody wins with a pulled or strained muscle.

superficial-anterior-musclesDo you have any other tips on things the exercise should be focusing on while consciously staying fit ?

Warming Up

Ensuring your body is properly warmed up is very essential to your activities.

Very often this involves stretching, but can also include shaking of limbs or a nice walk to get the blood flowing.

So, the idea is that by warming up, the muscles get used a little bit, get stretched a little bit, and the blood gets properly circulating into the muscles to ensure they can handle the activities.

Let’s try something.

When you wake up in the morning, try to reach down and touch your toes. Now, after half a day of doing your regular activities, try to touch your toes again.

Notice how after having some warm up time during the day, your muscles are now much more flexible and ready to bend in various directions?

This is because your muscles have had some sort of a warm up time to let them loosen up from the activities.


Now, think of going from rather mild exercise of your day to day activities, into a fun activity like soccer. Your muscles still aren’t as limber as they should be, so you will want to warm them up even further.

This is why many coaches will make their team run circles around the field before a soccer match, or around the ice rink to properly get the limbs warmed up, get the blood flowing, and the heart pumping!

If you do this, you will be helping your body reduce muscle pulls, and ensuring the muscles repair as quickly as possible after strenuous activities.

NOTE: I would even suggest a proper warm up for any task that you do all day, especially manual labor jobs, but even including office desk jobs where you’re sitting still all day.



The power of the walk is unbounded. Clean, or at least fresh air, is undoubtedly and unquestioningly one of the greatest natural healing process’ one can undergo. To put one’s body through some physical strain, aka. exercise, every day is important for many factors of one’s health, both mental and physically.

I cannot count with the fingers on my hand how many times people have told me how much stronger, healthier, happier, or energized they feel after a bout of activity, and more-so, after sticking to a regular bout of physical activity.walking

Walking is one of the easiest and least stressful forms of exercise available to one. It is cheap and can be performed rain or shine, night or dark, cold or warm.

Some people feel they need to get their proper sweat repellant tights on, weights on their ankles, water bottle pouches strapped to their waist, etc. etc., but I feel a strong opposition to the mentality that you should be held back from doing activities without the proper gear.

Don’t get me wrong, some activities like scuba diving, hockey, or snowboarding cannot be performed without proper sports equipment, but even with these activities, there is a difference between essentials and luxury.

My favorite time to go for a walk is around sunset. The colors that come out at this time, the lack of direct sunlight, the lack of excessive traffic all make for a happy walker in me, but I do not single out this hour of the day.


Often times, one is given the opportunity to walk to the bus, or to walk around in town during their day. Even in the evening, most people live in towns these days, and with town comes corner stores and grocery stores that are usually within walking distance.

I undertake it as my own mission to walk every day. Even if it’s just a little bit, it is all good. Just 15 minutes is great! It is essential to get outside for some exercise.

If you are on a tight timeline, bring a stop watch along, and do 7.5 minutes out, and 7.5 minutes back to the starting point if it must be so directed, but make it happen! It just takes a little bit of effort and you’ll begin to reap the rewards of your attention.

Feeling healthy, feeling active, getting fresh air, getting exercise, listening to the birds; these are all things that are a direct result of going for a walk.

Downsides you ask? NONE! Get walking!



Stretching is one of the most important things a person can do for their well being. It ensures that your muscles get the proper oxygen to handle the strenuous activities of daily activities or a exercise routine, as well as loosens them up so when you are making your fast turn arounds during a game of basketball, you wont pull a muscle.

Below you will find a few charts of some great stretches that will help you limber up. For me, especially when I’m doing the short spurts, I focus particularly on the areas that I’ll be exercising. After that, I also like to focus on the surrounding areas, because those muscles can also get effected by the exercise.


Remember, more stretches the better. It even is good just during the day, even if you’re not exercising and just sitting still, to do some stretches because it will get the blood flowing and energize you.

A few tips about proper stretching tactics.

  • Whatever you do, don’t bounce. Pull the limb, and hold it for 10 seconds (or longer) and then let go.
  • After your exercizing, be careful to not pull the muscle to hard, for it’s now loose and you can easily over extend it and really hurt yourself. Lighter stretches at this time.
  • More stretching the better. Before, after, during. Anytime.
  • Keep in mind that most activities, even if you’re only lifting weights for your bicepts, you’re also working your back muscles, tricepts, butt, and stomach. Stretch them all!

Good luck and have fun!


Sitting Still

According to studies performed in the University of Minnesota in 2006, of the previous 20 years, people have reportedly still exercised the same amount, but have increased their amount of time spent sitting on their bums by 8%. This is a fairly drastic increase. The study also suggests that just because you are lifting weights sculpting those perfect biceps and pecs, if you are increasing the amount of time you spend sitting on the couch or at the desk, you’re increasing the chances of an early death. Which is not good at all.

Apparently another study was performed where the participants lived in a setting of the 1850, and their movement was measured and recorded. It turns out that on average they walked an extra 3-8 miles compared to today’s average human.


Studies studies studies.

Another study in the 2010 Journal of Applied Physiology showed that by reducing the number of footsteps taken by 85% for two weeks, the participants reduced their sensitivity to insulin by 17%, which in turn means that the risk for diabetes has increased. Clearly this is not a good thing. Clearly the way to reduce health risks and increase your lifetime is to get those feet moving, to stay active more, and longer.

As I have described in more detail in the short spurts, getting exercise more throughout the day is much more healthy than one 30 minutes a day. Studies have proven that people that keep active doing partial exercise events like walking to the mail, standing up during work hours, and doing the dishes burn significantly more calories than those who run 35 miles a week. So this means when you’re feeling down and out, tired at the end of the day, it is just as crucial then to stay alert and active than it is to finish the last 5 minutes at the gym.

168. Man Sitting at The Metropolitan Museum of Art 9-9-2008

Peter Katzmarzyk, Ph.D., a professor at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Louisiana says “Regularly exercising is not the same as being active.” Referring to the person who goes to the gym for an hour a day, but for the other 23 hrs of the day is sitting around watching tv or surfing the internet. This leads to the definition of an active lifestyle. Yes you may be going to the gym, but you are not living an active lifestyle. “A person may hit the gym every day, but if he’s sitting a good deal of the rest of the time, he’s probably not leading an overall active life,” explains Katzmarzyk. “The evidence that sitting is associated with heart disease is very strong, we see it in people who smoke and people who don’t. We see it in people who are regular exercisers and those who aren’t. Sitting is an independent risk factor.”

Bill Hartman, P.T., C.S.C.S., a Men’s Health advisor and physical therapist in Indianapolis, Indiana, says “If you’ve ever seen a guy walk with a forward lean, it’s often because of shortened hip flexors. The muscles don’t stretch as they naturally should. As a result, he’s not walking tall and straight because his fascia has adapted more to sitting than standing.”


This same concept applies to all parts of your body. The more your body stays in one position, the more it will ‘set’ into that form. This is why things like your pillow at night, which you spend approximately 1/4 – 1/3 of your day doing, and also the chair that you sit in and the posture that you hold while your in it. It turns out your mother telling you to straighten your back and fix your posture wasn’t just because she was nit-picking, but actually because she wanted you to grow strong and straight!

Thanks mom!

To suggest a few things to do to avoid these complications I have compiled a list of things you should try and work into your busy schedule, no matter what your doing or how silly you may feel doing it:

  1. Try and take transit, or walk whenever you can, avoid the car!
  2. If you’ve been sitting at your desk for a while, get up and walk around! (a trick I use here is to drink lots of water during the day so that you already have to get up to go to the washroom regularily).
  3. Pace while talking on the phone.
  4. Find enjoyment in doing activities around the house (painting, cooking, cleaning, fixing).
  5. Find excuses to go outside! There’s always something fun to do out there.


If any of you have any ideas on other ways to increase activity level, please let us know!

Good luck out there

Short Spurts

There are many schools of thought about how to exercise. Depending on your lifestyle, various fun activities will fit in, others won’t feel as comfortable, but it’s up to you to decide which ones work best for you.

I’ve been trying to focus on the short, relatively frequent exercises. This works best if I’m trying to focus, and in one place for a long time, like on my computer for the evening.

NOTE: This does not mean immediately get up from 5hrs of sitting idle to do 75 pushups in a row and go back for another 5hrs of idle sitting. No. Don’t do that. We’ve all heard of the person who goes out to shovel their driveway and has a heart attack or breaks their back because of the immediate strain. No, this isn’t good.

What this means, is that every 30 min to 1.5hrs or so, the motivated one gets up, loosens limbs with a nice stretch, grabs some rubber bands for a routine, or sits on the Swiss ball (exercise ball) and does some sit-ups. Even lift the bar or dumbbells for a rep or two.


After you finish this, you will feel your heart rate up, maybe even break a little sweat. This is good. This is what you want. You do want this feeling more than less, but any is better than none.

Keep in mind it is important when you’re doing this type of workout, your body is not completely warmed up, so one shouldn’t attempt to push their body to the max it can do, straining every muscle in the body.

Since your body isn’t totally warm, the motivated one will quickly find that this causes uncomfortable strain on muscles, or even pull muscles.

Another way to avoid this is to add a little more time to the beginning of the routine to do a longer warm up, really getting the muscles loose.

Ideally, however, as well as doing these short spurts, the fit person should look to get their blood pumping for at least 20 min at a time, at least once a day. This really isn’t long: a walk around to the park, 2 routines in the gym or 1 routine of yoga will all give you 20 min of exercise to keep you strong. Now go get em!

Good Posture


Posture is very often overlooked by so many people and left uncared for, it can cause severe long term health problems, which are no good.

Bad posture happens in the form of bent back, improperly holding arms at the computer desk, slouches, or movement that isn’t normal.

It can even come in the form of how you walk down the street.

Like all habits, any can be broken. When people wear braces, it’s not because if they don’t their body will fall apart at the seams, but it’s because if they don’t they will revert back to the old posture and essentially eliminate any corrections that they did undergo.

So, to take this further, you can change your posture with some long term attention to your habits.


When your sitting down, remember to check if your back is straight. Is your head always looking down?

I was just talking the other day with my father about this, and he mentioned how he had read a study on kids, young kids aged around 12 years old, who were going into the Dr. complaining about upper back pain, and the result was that they were looking down all the time at their phone because they were txt’ing all the time.

It is important to remember proper posture at all times. This includes sitting at your desk, walking down the street, and any exercise of any shape and type.

Are there other times when you should be conscious of this?

Pilates Resistance Rubber

Pilates rubber bands, also known as Resistance Bands, are probably the most versatile, compact, and quick piece of exercise equipment that can be used and owned. Exercising at the gym, at least for me, tends to focus on free weights, doing three reps of 15-20, and around four different exercises sets. But, with pilates rubber bands, I do about 20 minutes with them and I’m exhausted. This falls into my ideal range, as I like to do short spurt workouts all day, rather than focused into one hour long exercise routine.


They work the muscles in an entirely different way than dumbbells do, in that you’re pulling the rubber apart, rather than fighting against gravity. Dumbbells do provide a lot of freedom when compared to a machine, but the rubbers provide that much more freedom than dumbbells do. On top of this, you’re pulling against your own resistance, so you’re working your muscles in multiple ways at once. In this way they’re more of a defining exercise than a muscular building one.


I find that using the pilates rubbers makes my routine more like that of a yoga routine; I do about 4 or 5 positions for as long as I can in each position, and then take a little break, which I often infuse with some sit-ups (on an exercise ball)! At the end of doing this, which is usually twice, my body is more exhausted than an hour of exercising at the gym. Don’t get me wrong, the gym is a very good exercise, but the pilates rubbers are a different type of exercise. It’s more of an intense but short, full out push, where as the gym for me is usually a focused and steady muscular refinement where I come away feeling my muscles ache, rather than my whole body dead. Maybe you get it or maybe you don’t, but I highly suggest you try and work the rubbers into your routine.

ExerciseBandsThe pilates rubbers can be picked up at most sporting good stores, Wall-Mart or Zellers. Good luck!

Good Habits

A body that is fed regular exercise is a healthy body. The Health Canada strongly recommends having 30 to 60 minutes of daily activity to ensure that the body stays fit. This does not have to happen all at the same time, but they do recommend for you to do it in at least 10 minute increments. Keeping an exercise schedule that is less than 10 minutes is not adequate enough to get one’s body warmed up, let alone keeping the heart rate up to ensure that maximum gain can be felt from the exercise.


We all feel the same way after work or school, when you just get in the door from a long day, and all you feel like doing is curling into bed and falling asleep. Don’t be ashamed, everybody feels this way. Its what you do when you feel that way that makes the difference between effective people and not effective people. It has proven that getting daily exercise increases blood flow, which in turn stimulates the mind, which in turn wakes a person up, makes them feel energetic and refreshed and ready to finish off the day with renewed enthusiasm. It also assists in reducing stress, strengthens the essential organs of the body, and will change your outlook on life. When you feel you have a healthy body, you will be that healthy person. The following are a few tricks that I use to ensure that I stick to healthy habit of exercise:

Play Aggressive Music

When you are driving home, or walk in the door, try putting on some music that you know makes you feel more aggressive. It will psych your mind up into a more energized state that will give you the motivation needed to get that exercise done. Start Off Slow. Note: don’t let this influence your driving habits though, that is just dangerous.


When you’re starting a new exercise habit, trying to get back into the mode of exercising your body, it’s hard to jump right into a 5 to 7 day a week schedule that immediately taxes your body. Start with a 3 day schedule, where your exercising say Monday, Wednesday, and Friday right after work.

Push Yourself

Motivation has to come from within. Nobody is going to be a better motivator for yourself than yourself. You are the one looking at your body in the mirror, you are the one with health problems, you are the one that feels depressed, so it is you who needs to take charge of yourself and push ahead into new and exciting territory. When you are into a nice routine remember not to get comfortable with the same exercise that your doing every time, with the same amount of distance or weight used. Keep increasing your distance, or speed, or weight that your using to continually grow, pushing yourself to be the best that you can be. The best you only dreamed you had in you.


Also try and push yourself to try new activities. If you find that the same old ones are just dragging on you, try some new things that you’ve never known before. Shadow boxing or power walking, what about dancing?

Keep The Fun

Every person that I talk to always has the excuse that it’s just too much work, and they really don’t enjoy going to the gym to press the bench over their heads like a monkey. Not everybody needs to go to the gym to seek their exercise. Try playing a game of basketball, going for a hike in the woods, or practicing yoga. Sometimes if you focus on games or activities that require additional people to play you will find yourself using that as an excuse not to get your exercise, that nobody else wants to play. Keep a big list of activities that you enjoy doing that are individual activities, and that don’t require extra people to perform. The key here is to enjoy it. If you don’t actually enjoy going for a hike, or stretching for yoga, try and trick your mind into thinking its fun, smile and enjoy it! You’re making your body healthy.

Fun Activities

It is extremely important to keep activities fun all the time. If you get in the same habit of doing the same routine day in and day out, it becomes monotonous and dull, which then decreases your interest in the activity, which in turns makes you resent the fact that it’s what your having to get motivated to do, which in turn makes it harder to motivate yourself to do it.


Nasty loop, I know. I’ve compiled an incomplete list of some fun activities you can partake in to keep things fun!

Some activities that can be done alone by yourself are as follows: Biking, walking, running, yoga, hiking, swimming, working out at a gym, dancing to some Otis Redding, snowboarding, skiing.

Some activities that can be done in a group of people are the following: Basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, football, hockey.

The key is to be creative here. Going to the same place every day, doing the same things just gets boring. Mixing it up with a variety of exercises will not only keep you enjoying it, but it will also get you working many different muscle groups to ensure that an all around exercise is met.

Good luck out there!