Agendas for many fitness conferences are filled with lots of great topics all being presented at the same time. The Y’s Fitness KickStart brochure arrived and I was so pleased to learn each hour had only one choice, and all five sessions looked interesting. Brilliant.
Here are my takeaways from my favorite four sessions of the day:
Foam Roller Tidbits
This session, lead by Katherine Taylor, was on the science, effectiveness and use of a foam roller and myofascial ball. They are both effective for releasing areas of tension and restricted motion. The foam roller is great for working on lower body tensions and tightness while the myofacial ball can better target tightness in through the shoulder, neck and upper back.
Take away message:
- Fascia gets tight – if we roll on it, it becomes pliable, so we can have our muscles work more effectively. Roll gently before you start to exercise, about a minute for each muscle group. You can spend more time after a workout- anywhere up to five minutes on each muscle group.
HITT Was A Hit
The best HITT (High Intensity Training Tactics) exercises are ones that use more than one muscle group. You often see these in Dylan’s Tabata training class (see Y's schedule). He gave us tips and tools (a wooden dowel) for assessing form on four core exercises: squats, burpees, planks and lunges.
Take away message:
- Good form is essential to any workout. A piece of 2” dowelling is a great assessment tool to check alignment, which is part of good form.
The session with Fleur Palliardi gave us an overview of The Barre method. It’s the next big thing in fitness right now and I can see why. The little weighted balls, round disks, a ballet bar and mat are all you need to feel the burn. I’m definitely feeling my triceps today.
Take away message:
- Take a class. It’s a ton of fun.
Who Knew Spinning Was So Awesome
The last session was with our very hands on Executive Director, Sandy Reimer, who also leads a variety of Y classes. I learned how to setup the bike and how to sit on the seat to minimize the discomfort. It was a great workout…once you get past the pain of sitting on the most uncomfortable seat ever made.
Take away message:
- Take time to set your bike up properly. If you are unsure, ask.
Do you know what an AED unit is? Basically, it is a mobile defibrillator. If you’re having a heart attack it can save you life and the Y is on the 911 lists of public use stations that have one in the downtown core. Keep that in your head just in case.
The YW is a great place to workout. If you live in the city or you are from out of town, the Y has something for everyone. Check out their website at www.ywca.org
Do you have a few moments, standing around waiting in a line, at a bus stop, for the next available operator or maybe for something to cool? The list is endless and there are lots of moments in a day to practice strengthening, lengthening, relaxing and moving different parts of your body
Below are some exercises that do all of the above (links are in green). It’s good to do these throughout the day, especially, if taking time to do a formal exercise routine is difficult. And, you can do them anywhere.
I’ve added some pictures to the exercises I think are self-explanatory and linked the others to some examples that need more than just a picture. That said, there are different ways to do each of these exercises, so Google them if you want to explore.
Trainer Tip: Take two or three breaths for each exercise.
#1 Glute Dance – sitting, standing or lying down
As you read this, clench your right butt check hold for a breath; then your left. Keep it small. Go back and forth. Your glutes are now dancing. This is a great way to wake up your glutes - especially good done just before starting your exercise program.
#5 Single Leg Balance
#7 Ankle Rotations
#10 Belly Breathing – the goal is have both hands move during each breath
Trainer Tip: Place your tongue behind your top teeth and open your mouth a fraction. Take a deep breath.
Once you get the hang of this type of breathing you can do it anywhere without using your hands.
- Exercises #2, #3 and #4 when done together, promote better posture
- Exercises #6 and #7 are a great combo
- Exercises #9 with #10 work together to help reduce stress
The trip to Australia was a success on lots of different levels. Here are some of the things learned.
Spend money on upgrading your plane ride, especially if it’s 23 hours one way and 18 hours return. If you’re going to Australia from Vancouver, travel Air New Zealand. Premium economy is well worth the extra money – more leg room, wider seats, better washrooms, great food and wine, quicker entry and exit from the plane and your luggage comes off first. You also get to use their travel lounge on the way back, which was brilliant.
Sleeping pills are another welcome addition to overnight flights. Talk to your doctor about the right one for you, and then try it out before you take your trip. I ended up only needing ½ a pill. It’s lovely to be bright eyed and ready to go when you arrive at your destination.
A reader of the travel blog shared her story of using the tea towel to shine her boots. I used mine as a seat cover on a very cold bench. Next time I’ll take more protein bars and oatmeal packets. Roasted chickpeas are a great light snack – a few go a long way. If you want, check out this earlier post.
Walking up the main hill at the camp/conference site worked wonders for stretching out my overly tight gluts (I think I might have overdone the Elliptical Trainer). The Amaroo Grind, as some of us affectionately called it, got easier each day - the incline was more like North Vancouver’s Lonsdale hill that runs from the water to 19th street. And yes, training for this trip was well worth the time spent.
Unfortunately, the chilly mornings, different kinds of food and lack of sleep due to very cold nights caught up with me when I arrived home but after a round of antibiotics followed by a wonder product called Florastor - I’m feeling great.
Time to start another program regime. This one I’ll call Winter Maintenance. The goal is to continue working on my Five Pillars of good health:
- Strength - we lose a little each year
- Maintaining good heart health through walking and lots of fresh air
- Using the 80/20 rule for making healthy food choices - and not feel guilty about the 20%
- Finding new avenues of success for the job I both love and created
- Volunteering with The Prem Rawat Foundation - tprf.org
All these things work together to keep me happy and as the sayings go – “Happy wife, happy life” / “When mommy is happy, everyone is happy”.
It was a very good vacation.
It was fun to do this short 10-minute presentation of my top five favorite warm-up exercises. Thanks to everyone who participated and the crowd that watched.
#1. Posture Check
It helps to set the intention of the workout, plus, it identifies which areas of your body need some exercise support.
#2. Sit Down/Stand up
Sitting back when you sit down and lifting both arms overhead at the same time is a good total body type movement.
#3. Wall Chest Press
Engage your abs, lead with your forehead, not your chin, and keep your shoulder blades squeezed together as you release toward the wall and push away.
#4. Inner-Thigh Rock
Lean forward from the hips as you rock from side to side. The goal is to feel a stretch in the inner thigh and not in your knees.
#5 Hamstring Kick
Stand tall to start these alternating leg kicks.
Dynamic warm-up exercises are a great way to get some physical activity into your busy sedentary life. Spend a minute doing each exercise, including the posture check. That’s six minutes towards more activity in your day. You have to start somewhere.
The idea to develop a FITT for Travel Program for Jody’s Fitness started to take shape seven years ago when I was invited to go on a vacation that included opportunities for snorkelling, hiking, paddling down a river and climbing up 532 steps to view Machu Picchu. Most of the people on this trip were older and it became obvious that with a little training, all of the above activities probably would have seen less injury and much less daily discomfort.
I started listening to my own advice seven weeks ago and developed my own FITT for Travel Program. I’m happy to say it’s been a great success. The goals have been met – I’m feeling stronger and ready to go.
When I’m traveling, I don’t exercise. All I do is light stretching. Tomorrow is the final workout routine of the program. It’s time to start making sure I’m well hydrated. Travel day will include a longish relaxing walk and a good amount of time stretching before leaving for the airport.
I’m off next week and will be back in mid-September. I’ll write a recap post when I’m back.
p.s. the picture below is where I'm going.