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Monthly Archives: July 2018

Salsa Dancing for Fitness

Salsa music first appeared in the 1960s as a rhythmic fusion, birthed in the cultural melting pot of New York City. Combining Cuban Son with Guaracha, Montuno and Guaguanco, it also has a strong Puerto Rican Plena, Bomba and American jazz influence that mellows the smoking urban sound.

Salsa’s popularity began to percolate beyond the borders of the Latin neighborhoods in the early Seventies, spreading into New York’s ballrooms and dance halls. Although somewhat formulized when practiced by those who favor profession competitions, salsa dancing in its most traditional form is typically spontaneous and extremely energetic. Dance movements alternate between the very slow and the furious, an embodiment of its lively musical style.

From a strictly athletic point of view, a night of dancing is a superb workout. It merges aerobic and anaerobic training, working your stamina and leg strength. Any kind of dancing is a great way to build the perfect body shape. The continual movements build up aerobic stamina while steadily burning calories over the course of the evening. This helps to strengthen and tone your legs at the same time you lose weight. But salsa excels at this.

Experts say that dancing salsa can burn up to 10 calories a minute, without the negative side effects of high impact exercises such as running. You can learn salsa dancing in the privacy of your home or in a studio, with or without a partner and it’s a fitness program that can easily be integrated into your social life. By using salsa dancing to get fit, you will not only look great, but you’ll have no excuse not to get out more and improve your social life.

The sudden bursts of frenzied dancing in Salsa also can help to improve the anaerobic fitness essential to sports like sprinting, swimming and basketball. Equally important to the aerobic paybacks are the improvements in flexibility and dexterity, a commonly overlooked facet of fitness. Elasticity from dancing will help your swiftness, power and co-ordination by growing your overall range of motion.

Abdominal Exercises

Probably the simplest, and most popular, abdominal exercise is the crunch. Lying on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat will get your crunch started. Some people like to place their fingertips to the sides of the head, just behind the ears, while others like to do crunches with their arms crossed over their chest. Either way, the next step is to push your lower back to the floor and hold that while you crunch your abdominal muscles to lift your shoulders a few inches off the floor.

To mix things up a bit, you could add an exercise ball to your crunch. You will want to sit on the exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly let the ball roll as you lie back until your thighs and torso are parallel with the floor. Then you will contract your abs, raising your torso no more than 45 degrees. The exercise ball is a lot of fun and can really help keep you from getting too bored with your usual abdominal exercises.

Whichever abdominal exercises you determine to be the best route to six pack city, don’t overdo it and end up having to postpone your trip. You should always check with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program and of course you can’t forget to stretch.

About Cross Training

In order to maintain the effectiveness of your workouts over the long term, you have to employ a concept known as cross training. Although there is no hard and fast definition of cross training, the basic idea is that you continually change your exercise program to work both your muscular and your cardiovascular systems in a variety of ways, forcing your body to adapt to a new stimulus. Remember that the whole idea behind exercise is to make your body do things that it is not used to doing. In response to that effort, your body naturally adapts in order to meet the changing energy demands of the activities that you engage in. This process happens with your muscles, as well as with your heart, lungs, and circulatory system – collectively known as the cardiovascular system. To ensure you get the most out of your cross training efforts, you should make changes to the activities that challenge your muscles as well as your cardiovascular system.

Challenging Your Muscles

When you are putting together the muscular training part of your exercise program, remember that the primary mission of the activities is to challenge your muscles and connective tissues – tendons and ligaments – beyond their normal boundaries. For example, if you were to pick up a suitcase that only weighed 5 pounds, it would probably not be very difficult for you. However, if that same suitcase had 50 pounds worth of items inside, it would be significantly more difficult to pick up and carry. In response to that increased demand, your body would recruit additional muscle fibers to assist with the work, and in some cases would even recruit a different type of muscle fiber. Although we won’t get into the details about the different types of muscle fibers in the human body, you do want to take away the fact that the number and type of muscle fibers recruited for any given task is proportionate directly to the difficulty of the task.

Let’s apply this concept to weight training – or resistance training, as it is often called. If you were going to do a basic bicep curl with 5 pounds, your body would engage a certain number and type of muscle fibers. Doing exactly the same exercise with a more challenging weight would cause your body to need additional resources in order to handle the increased demand. However, is that only true of picking up a heavier weight? What would happen if you used the same weight, but did a higher number of repetitions? The same basic concept applies – your body will recruit additional resources in order to accomplish the task. What can be determined from that fact is that in order to change the stimulus on your body, two easy ways to do so are are to increase the weight and/or increase the number of repetitions.

However, there are other ways to challenge a particular muscle group in addition to simply adding weight or repetitions. What about changing the position of your body when you do the exercise? Using the same example as above – the bicep curl – most people do the basic version of that exercise standing up, with their arms extended, elbows at the side, and palms facing forward. What if you were to do the same exact movement, only this time, you turn your palms to face the center of your body throughout the entire exercise? Do you see how that would change the stimulus? You would still be engaging the biceps of your upper arm, but you would also engage the muscles of your forearms in a different way, just because of the position of your palms.

Further, what if you were to change the speed at which you did the exercise? Most resistance exercises should be done as a basic count of 2 seconds during the initial phase (also known as the concentric phase), and then a count of 3 to 4 seconds during the second phase of the movement (known as the eccentric phase). What if you were to reverse that process? Count to 4 during phase one, and only count to 2 during phase two. Do you think your body would need to react differently to handle the different stress? Of course!

Triathalon Racing

It will not be easy, but if you stick to it, you can overcome all the obstacles in your way.

Triathalon racing is a complex sport that just looks easy. What you don’t know is that there was a lot of preparation for the average triathlete

The run. The swim. And, the biking.

These three aspects of triathalon racing will need to be carefully understood and developed.

You will need to first prepare your mind for the struggle that lies ahead.

You will then need to prepare your body and make it as nutritiously sound as can be.

Then, you will need to condition it to the elements that you will test it on. How do you do all of these things?

Training and coaching. Be prepared to spend a lot of energy and time if your goal is to be competitive, but even if your desire is just to take part in triathalons and stay healthy this still is true.

It starts at the beginning. You will need to shed those extra pounds and become a lean, muscled body.

Get the proper coaching. If not a physical trainer there are clubs to join and books to read that will assist your training.

You will need to learn how to eat the right foods to fuel your body when you need it the most.

Knowing when to eat the carbs and when to eat the protein is important, ie. Consuming the proper nutritution to help you train and race.

The good news is that triathalon racing is a sport in which you can constantly push yourself and training for, plus you end up in great shape and you generate some great friendships.

You can find outstanding training programs and even the best triathlon gear right online.