Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Winter is coming: Prepare now for seasonal fun

November 22, 2022

When leaves fall and days shorten, some people look begrudgingly at the changing seasons. But others are filled with anticipation as their favorite winter activities loom closer.  

It’s important for winter sports enthusiasts to train and do specific conditioning exercises. After the spring and summer off season, muscles could need time to adjust. Starting off the winter season with an injury would put a damper on the fun. It’s important to do sport specific conditioning to reduce the risk of injury and increase performance and enjoyment.

Skiing and snowboarding: Conditioning for these sports involves a variety of physical skills, including agility, balance, endurance, flexibility and strength. Muscular strength improves your ability to maintain control while skiing or boarding in uneven terrain. All the major muscle groups of the body, especially the core, are involved. Some exercises include a single leg squat or weighted quadriceps squat. Pilates or yoga offer a good compliment to muscle training to increase core strength, maintain better balance and improve overall flexibility.

Sledding: Some people underestimate the difficulty of this most basic of winter sports. While sledding is often viewed as child’s play, it’s a fun activity for all ages. But just pulling your sled up that big hill constitutes a fitness feat that’s overlooked. Cardio endurance and leg strengthening exercises can help prepare for a day of Quick read more or view full article sledding with the family. 

Cross-country skiing: This is a great cardiovascular workout. Like most cardio-related sports, endurance training is a must. To prepare for this fun winter sport, train with your favorite cardio exercises appropriate for your impact level. The elliptical is a great option for low impact and can be adjusted for almost every fitness level. Crossroads Fitness offers SkiErg machines that replicate the motion of cross-country skiing and target the muscles used for this sport. The machines are popular for their ability to work legs, core and arms in a smooth, continuous motion. 

Ice skating: Balance constitutes an important factor in ice skating. Whether it’s figure skating or a hockey game, there’s no skating without balance. Depending on your expertise, flexibility also could be beneficial. Figure skaters and hockey players must be flexible and agile. Bosu balls offer a great training tool to warm up those muscles while also improving balance. 

Hiking: While some may think this is an activity for seasons other rather than winter, hiking remains a good option most days in the Grand Valley. Wear warm layers and bring hiking poles to make the trek more enjoyable.  

 Winter could be the most awaited time of the year with so many activities in which to partake. Preparing physically will make the season all the more fun. Make time for training and conditioning exercises so you won’t miss out on the adventures that entice us, entertain us and keep us fit.

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Take a healthy stance: Good posture offers benefits

October 26, 2022

My mother’s words from childhood still resonate in my head. “Stand up tall. Don’t slouch.” She was right, of course. There are physical and emotional benefits to maintaining good posture. Moreover, our posture says more about us than we might think.

Simply put, posture refers to the body’s alignment. As with any habit, it takes work to make it consistent.  We all know what constitutes poor posture — hunching, slumping and slouching. These habits break more than our mother’s rules, though. They create poor alignment that over time strains ligaments and muscles and causes pain and injuries. Proper alignment in every aspect of our day is important — from walking, sitting and standing to exercise and sports.

Maintaining awareness of your posture is the best place to begin. Think about your body language when you’re tired or ill. I tend to resort to poor posture when I’m hurrying around with too many things to do. After practice, I now catch myself and take a deep breath and align my body correctly. I feel more refreshed and in control.

There are other areas to consider when evaluating your posture. My chiropractor once told me my purse was way too heavy. Because I Quick read more or view full article carry my purse on my right shoulder and continually add items throughout the day, the load was pulling my torso to the right. Technology can compromise alignment, too. Holding your cell phone squeezed between your shoulder and your head for long periods tweaks your natural position. Consider as well your posture when you’re sitting at a computer, the dinner table or in the car.

There are many benefits of maintaining good posture.  Your breathing becomes easier and deeper. It aligns muscles and joints. It improves circulation and digestion. There’s another benefit nearly everyone desires: Good posture conveys a more confident bearing. What’s more, it makes you look slimmer and younger.

What does healthy posture look like? Here’s one way to tell if you’re standing up correctly. Stand up against a wall with your feet just a couple inches away and your upper back, shoulders and bottom touching the wall. Now, step away from the wall and see if you can maintain that position.

There are ways to help you maintain this position with ease. Perform slow and controlled movements that target your core and side muscles. Yoga and Pilates classes are excellent for improving posture. Do exercises that strengthen your upper and lower back as well as your shoulders. Roll your shoulders up and back, then hold.

Don’t forget the importance of stretching. Try standing tall with your arms reaching towards the sky and feel your torso lengthen.

The benefits of good posture are both physical and emotional. What does your posture say about you? Increasing awareness of your posture and learning ways to strengthen your body leads to a taller, prouder and healthier you.

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Buddy system makes getting fit for more fun

September 28, 2022

You’ve decided to get into shape. It won’t be easy, and there’ll be days you just don’t feel like working out.  Want to know the secret to a successful plan? Work out with a friend.

Statistics show having someone who shares in your health and fitness goals will make your journey more successful.

It’s important to choose the right person. You might select a friend or co-worker. A spouse or family member could offer a good fit, too. When you’re working toward similar goals in your household, it’s easier to make time to exercise as well as create a healthier environment at mealtimes.

Here are five reasons you’ll enjoy more success getting in shape when you do it with a friend:

Accountability: A friend will help you get going and keep exercising on a consistent basis. No more lame excuses why you can’t work out. A good friend knows all your excuses, and they won’t work. This is why people who participate in group exercise have more consistent workout routines.

Motivation: A friend can offer encouragement to keep you going. If losing weight is a key goal, you could encounter times where you become frustrated and want to quit. An exercise buddy will help put things in perspective. There might be times when you just aren’t feeling up to working out, and they can help Quick read more or view full article pump up your enthusiasm and remind you why you’re doing this.

You push each other: A training partner can push your limits. They create a challenge and help you work harder than if you worked out alone. How about a burpee challenge? Who can do the most? There’s nothing better than a little friendly competition when it comes to exercise. Remember, though, you might be at different levels than your partner, and keeping track of how you’re doing and improving is the key.

Sharing information: As they say, two heads are better than one. Think of how many more things you could learn. Maybe it’s a new exercise class, fitness tips or healthy recipes. Share music that inspires you. Your friend also can serve as a sounding board. Talk about what’s working and how you might benefit.

Fun: Working out with a friend offers a lot more fun than working out alone. It can be a time to work hard, catch up on each other’s lives and even get silly and laugh together. Exercise might not always be fun. But when you combine the social aspect, you open up a whole new world.

Pick whoever you want for your exercise buddy just as long as they’ll make you a better person. Choose a person you want to be around and who has your best interests at heart. Then prepare to share in the challenges and successes.

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To get fit, stop making excuses and start moving

August 24, 2022

When there’s something we don’t really want to do, we make excuses. Sometimes our excuses can be quite creative.

Here are some of the common excuses people make not to exercise — along with some solutions.

“I don’t know how to exercise.” This common fitness excuse is actually valid. Sure, we all know getting off the couch to do something physical and get our bodies moving is exercise — to a point. A brisk walk or gardening could be considered exercise. Not knowing what to do at a health club can be different, however. Weight machines, new technology cardio equipment and group exercise could require some instruction. Solution: Many of the new exercise machines come with instructions and diagrams to help you get started. Crossroads Fitness offers a getting started program to teach the fundamentals — everything from basic knowledge of exercise machines to measuring your heart rate.

“I’ve tried exercise, and I keep quitting.” If this applies to you, maybe you haven’t found an exercise you love. Variety spices life. We all get bored doing the same things and not experiencing results. Solution: Try different activities. Group exercise classes offer a fun way to exercise. The group atmosphere is motivating. Once you find the right exercise, you’ll be Quick read more or view full article excited and much more apt to stay with it.

“I don’t have time.” This one is a classic. When we don’t take time to care for our health, we could lose it. Everyone is busy — from business executives to stay-at-home moms. Yet, we all have 24 hours in a day to make sure we take time for ourselves. Solution: Schedule exercise as an appointment you can’t miss. Even if you can’t get in a full 30 minutes, some exercise is better than none.

“I don’t want to get hurt. Exercise doesn’t have to hurt. Solution: Start slowly in an exercise program and build up. Participate in a getting started program or hire a personal trainer to not only get you started on the right foot, but also teach you proper form.

“I have kids.” Having a family and young ones at home can make going to the gym more difficult. Solution:  Crossroads Fitness offers a kid’s club. Little ones from age 6 weeks to 12 years can come with you when you exercise. They’re not only cared for, but also enjoy a chance to play and socialize. You won’t have to feel guilty while they’re having fun.

“I’ll lose weight and then join a health club.” While health clubs might seem intimidating, maybe you just haven’t found the right one. Solution: Find a place that fits your personality, location and personal goals. Since you’ll likely go to a health club numerous times a week, you’ll want to find a place where you feel comfortable. Everyone there started at the beginning of their own fitness journeys. People of every age, size and shape will be there to welcome you.

Whatever your excuse for not exercising, there’s a solution. So stop making excuses and get moving.

 

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Plan to make vacations more fitness-friendly

May 24, 2022

Vacations, long car trips and busy schedules can disrupt our fitness routines. Whether traveling by car or plane or staying in hotels or with family, you can keep fitness a part of each day. Here are a few tips to help make your vacations more fitness-friendly.

Sitting in a car for a few or many hours a day traveling to that great vacation destination can make you feel tired and stiff. Moreover, car trips are notorious for combining little physical activity with eating the wrong foods.

Pull off at rest stops and stretch by reaching for the sky. Take deep breaths. Spend a few moments walking around and seeing the sights. Stretching every few hours will make you feel less worn.

Here’s a game you can play when traveling with your family. At each stop, a different person gets to name the activity. It might be jumping jacks or running around the car. It could be as simple as racing each other to the “facilities.”

At times, airline travel can have you calling the airport your new home. Why not pack gym shoes in your carry-on? You’ve seen the moving walkways. Don’t use them if time allows. There are places to walk and climb stairs in most airports.

When it comes to having a snack or meal, remember many food vendors offer nutritious choices. Consuming Quick read more or view full article fewer calories while being less active is an important part of not gaining those extra vacation pounds. Pack some healthy treats in your purse or backpack. Dried fruit, nuts and water offer good choices.

Many hotels and resorts offer fitness centers. While your choices could be limited, remember any movement is better than nothing. Combine cardiovascular exercise — a treadmill or elliptical trainer — with strength training.

If your accommodations don’t include a fitness center, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Pack some resistance bands. They can be purchased at many health clubs, local retailers or online. Resistance bands come in different colors and widths. These differences reflect the amount of stretch they allow for more or less resistance. Try them out to see which ones work for you. Wrap your bands around a bedpost or doorknob. You can also use resistance bands by using your foot to step on the middle of the band for an arm workout, for example.

You can’t exactly pack weights in your suitcase, so try filling disposable water bottles with water for a lightweight workout. Be creative. Many exercises can be done on the floor with nothing but your own body weight for resistance. Pushups, for example, offer a great upper body strength exercise and don’t require anything but you to perform. Situps, leg lifts and arm circles are just a few exercises that can be performed without equipment.

Cardiovascular exercise remains important when traveling. Many vacations involve sightseeing. Don’t underestimate the power of walking. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring water and wear sunscreen. You’ll get more heart-healthy exercise just by taking the stairs whenever possible.

By thinking ahead, you’ll keep your workout routine on schedule. No matter the mode of travel or destination, you still can exercise and eat right on vacation. Remember, too, it’s a vacation. Enjoy.

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