HELLO AND HAPPY HALLOWEEN!
The most important thing about moving your body is being in the correct alignment. So often there is relatively no attention to this detail that adds 10 times more to the benefit of your workout. What do I mean? Well, if you are performing a squat without the proper alignment of your bones, your muscles will be working incorrectly and you will not benefit as much, if it all from the exercise. Your whole workout will be for no good reason. Now no one wants that. When you execute a properly aligned lunge, you want to be aware of EACH AND EVERY body part. That means when you step back into the lunge, your hip bones are facing forward with the lunge leg aligned from hip to toes. Your back toes should be parallel and the heel should be lifted unless you are doing a yoga posed warrior position. Your supporting front leg should be aligned from your hip all the way down to your ankle. Your knee should bend over your ankle, and align with your middle toes. You should NOT bend the knee out front past the ankle. I could go on and on. EVERY EXERCISE HAS A CORRECT ALIGNMENT PATTERN. Learning this is key to a better workout, maintaining healthy bones, and strengthening and lengthening your muscles. Guess what else? Learning this helps you to inhabit your body. A good idea, for sure. IF YOU WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE CONCEPTS AND GET A VISUAL, GO TO THE LINK BELOW AND BUY MY BOOK ON AMAZON...
I realize it has been a long while since I've blogged, but I've been busy! I have a new book out on Amazon, and another one being released from Kindle to include paperback as well, but let's talk about our CARDIO workouts, for the moment, RUNNING...
Over the weekend I was running with my boyfriend on the canyon trails, and it felt good to run for the first time in a long time. Why? Well, I injured myself a few months ago due to overuse and compensations in my body. You see, the way MY body is put together is that I have naturally flexible hamstrings, and very strong and tight quadriceps muscles. When I run distance, my quads take over after a period of time and particularly my gluteus muscles stop working for me. This causes problems, and for me, resulted in a gluteus medius pull. Not fun. Now I know what to do for these issues, but it is difficult to take the time for myself to slow down, properly stretch and release my myofascial tissue on my quads and the other attachment muscles on the front of my body, while isolating glute and hamstring exercises for the back of my body to gain strength. It's hard for me to slow down in general, what with dancing, boxing, and doing all the activities I love, but it is vital to also apply self care. In addition I have to accept that my boyfriend has tight hamstrings and longer quadriceps, so his distance running is very different from mine. I have been trying to run at an average lap pace that is too fast for my 5'0" petite frame because of the longer stride I had to execute in order to run at this pace. Changing my stride so that my step is not so long, helped me to concentrate on squeezing my glute muscles with my smaller steps so that I am now working the back of my legs more than the front. It bothered me for quite some time that I cannot yet maintain the quicker lap pace, but to not have pain when I run is worth its weight in gold, let me tell you. Also NOT EVERYONE IS SUPPOSED TO RUN AN 8 1/2 MIN AVG LAP PACE. Just because you don't, does not make you less of a runner. Running at YOUR speed for YOUR body will make you the strong, confident runner you want to be.
Now I've described to you specifically what I need to work on, so it got me thinking about the fact that every BODY is different, and problem areas are going to be unique unto themselves for each individual. Look, my boyfriend has different issues that arise in his body because of how he is put together too.
The MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember or learn is that taking the time to stretch and strengthen specific leg muscles will give your distance run or your spin cycle class longevity. Lets talk about spinning for a moment. Chances are that if you spin you are really tightening your hip flexors over time, especially if you already have tightness in your hips or quads. If you are built like my boyfriend and you run distance, chances are your knees and/or feet bother you because of the tightness in your hamstrings. Everyone has different issues, so how are we all supposed to either take a class together or do the activities/sports we love to do? Well, get to know YOUR body specifically. Pay attention to how you feel when you do these activities. It should burn like sore muscles, but not feel like horrible pain. Then once you know which part of you is strong and tight, and which part is long and flexible, do opposite things for those muscles to counter balance yourself. What if you can't figure this out? It IS important to both stretch and strengthen your entire body, and the best way to achieve this is a combo of interval training exercises that utilize a few different movement mediums that you can find in my book, Move Well Eat Well Be Well. Here are TWO wonderful lengthening exercises that are good for EVERY BODY, as well as a movement pattern to strengthen EVERY BODY. These exercises are found in 2 different chapters in my book, so I hope after seeing the following video you will get inspired to want to learn more! Here is your serious freebie for the day...
Move Well Eat Well Be Well