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7 Ways To Make Indoor Exercises More Fun

7 Ways To Make Indoor Exercises More Fun

The benefits of exercise cannot be overstated. It helps to keep your body fit, prevent certain types of cancer, lower the risk of heart disease, prevents type 2 diabetes and weight gain, lowers the risk of osteoporosis and improves lung and muscle function.

Exercise also prevents depression, lowers anxiety and enhances the release of endorphins, a hormone that improves your mood.

When you consider the added convenience of exercising from home, the argument is made much stronger. However, because of doing the same routine over and over again, exercising can fall in a rut requiring you to come up with strategies that can make it fun.

The following are 7 ways on how to make indoor exercises more fun.

1. Set goals.

Setting goals is the key to remaining motivated throughout the workout period. It makes the process fun by making you feel confident that if we remain disciplined, you will be able to achieve the set goals.

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Also, goals give you a sense of direction. They outline the right track which if you are able to follow, making the exercise process more enjoyable.

2. Crank up the tunes.

Listening to music makes working out fun. If you are running, lifting weights or power walking, music can improve your performance and boosts your endurance level by making you think that the workout activity is easier that it actually is. This gives you better results in the same period of time.

Music also coordinates your workout, for example, the lyrics can reinforce the aspects of a technique when they feature words like push, cut or punch. You should allow your body to move with the beat and even sing along to get that extra push needed to keep going.

Though music makes indoor workouts more fun, you should not become too dependent on it such that it distracts you from the exercise.

3. Buddy up.

Partnering with a friend can significantly boost your exercise. Generally, we are social creatures which explains the success of group fitness.

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A fitness buddy brings in collaboration, camaraderie, accountability and even friendly competition which keeps you on your toes and gives you something to get excited about.

4. Change it up.

Sometimes we find ourselves doing the same set of workouts over and over again which can be quite boring. The good thing with indoor exercise is that you try new workout routines that you would otherwise not be comfortable doing in public. Setup a home gym and get started towards building muscles, instead of the regular boring workout.

Consider adding a variety of new routines to spice up your workout. Try switching from cardio routines if you are always running on the treadmill, to swimming. For strength training, switch between resistance machines and free weights.

Changing workouts not only make exercise fun, but also challenges and strengthens the body.

5. Go back to being a child.

There is no embarrassment when working out indoors which means that you can do all the fun exercises that you dropped years ago since it was no longer cool to do them as an adult.

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Exercises such as the hula hoop, sets of jumping jacks or skipping are great for burning calories.

6. Skype your buddy or trainer as you workout.

While the solitude of indoor exercise has no embarrassment, some people still prefer the traditional group workout even from home. To achieve this, you only need a good webcam and stable internet connection.

Get a personal trainer or a gym buddy and use skype or any other free video calling alternative to begin the workout session with your friend or trainer as long as they have the app as well. There are many apps that allow you to hire remote trainers over video calls. They even allow you to choose solo or group activities. These services are mostly offered over hangouts or skype.

Taking a group fitness class remotely exposes you to lots of fun, gives you something to look forward to and keeps you on your toes.

7. Reward yourself.

Rewarding yourself is a great way to maintain good high spirits when working out. It gives you something to look forward to, which in turn makes exercising fun.

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Choose a reward that is desirable, but a bit frivolous, so that it looks like a treat: like a massage or a post workout smoothie. A bowl of broccoli will certainly not cut it.

While there are many ways of making indoor exercise fun, you should keep in mind that the benefits are worth the hard work. Doing challenging workouts and engaging exercises goes a long way in making exercising rewarding and fun.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via c1.staticflickr.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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Published on October 11, 2018

7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

Building and maintaining a strong upper back depends not only on strength-training, but stretching and nutrition as well. Stretching the upper back muscles, along with a healthy diet can help alleviate pain while improving endurance.

Did you know that stretching your upper back builds endurance for sports, your job – which may require heavy lifting – and simple, everyday activities? Many people who exercise don’t recognize the importance of having a strong upper back, and often neglect this part of the body, focusing more on the lower back where injuries are more prone to occur.

Upper back endurance is necessary for runners, hikers, golfers, tennis players, bowlers, cyclists; the list goes on and on. If saving time is important to you, you want to reduce chronic back pain, boost your energy levels, or you simply need ways to get through a day at the office while confined to a computer, you’ll begin to understand why the following upper back stretches and exercises are necessary.

Here are seven stretches, combined with exercises, to help you maintain a strong upper back:

1. Lat Pull-Downs

By contracting and lengthening your latissimus dorsi muscles, trapezius, deltoids, rhomboids, teres major, along with the other muscles groups in and around your upper back, you are building muscle endurance and increasing mobility.

Seated at a lat pull-down machine, select a weight stack that is comfortable. Remember, you’re not preparing for a bodybuilding competition, you just want to exercise the back, so heavy weight is unnecessary.

Grab the wide bar above your head, palms down, and using a wide grip, pull the bar down to your chest and contract your upper back muscles.

Keep your head up, looking at the bar. This also helps keep your spine straight and provides a clearance so that the bar doesn’t hit your face. Slowly return the bar to the top and repeat for 15 reps. Do three to four sets.

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Here’s the correct technique by Denice Moberg:

2. Indoor Rowing

If upright exercises like walking on the treadmill or running outdoors bore you, you can strengthen your core using a rowing machine. Not only will you chisel your back, but the elongation of the upper back during the stroke motion creates a good stretch.

First, select a tension that is challenging but not a struggle. Make sure that your feet are securely placed in the machine’s foot straps, nice and tight to prevent the feet from moving while rowing.

Next, slide yourself in the rowing saddle forward toward the row bar and pull the bar toward the mid-section of your trunk area, which is the finish. Pulling the bar, bring your elbows beyond your back while contracting your upper muscles and rear shoulders.

Your back should be straight with a slight angle of around 100 degrees. Do not hunch.

During the catch, your legs should be at a 90 degree angle while locking out your arms completely. As a stretching exercise, repeat this motion for five minutes.

Here’s how you can do it:

3. Side Plank Rotation

If you’re short on time, floor exercises such as planks strengthen your core and can be done at home or during your lunch break at work. They can be done in 30 to 60 second increments.

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There are a few plank variations:

The low-position forearm plank in which your body weight is supported by your elbows; the straight-arm plank, which is a high-position plank; side plank in which your body is turned to one side and supported by one straightened arm; the stability-ball plank which is more challenging for your trunk; and the plank that gives you a good stretch is the side plank rotation.

To begin the side plank rotation, begin in the high plank position. Slowly turn your body to one side while stacking one foot on top of the other. Extend the opposite arm toward the ceiling and as you lower your arm, reaching underneath your body and rotating your trunk.

Done properly, you will feel the stretch along your rhomboids and shoulders. Repeat the rotation – reaching and tucking – 10 times. Switch sides.

Here’s a Side Plank Rotation demonstrated by Train Aggressive:

4. Yoga Stretches

A good way to incorporate breathing with stretching and gain flexibility in your core is Kundalini yoga – an intense yoga practice – gets your blood flowing and works wonders for the spine and posture.

The “Cat-Cow” pose is a great upper back warm-up, and when combined with the “Breath Of Fire”[1] or “fast breathing,” energy is sent through the entire body which stimulates the flow of cell activity and increases lung capacity.

On all fours, arms straight and directly below your shoulders, and knees directly below your hips, hunch your back, inhaling as you tuck your head into your chest, then exhale while arching your back and raise your head toward to sky.

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The rapid inhaling and exhaling in this exercise is known as the “Breath Of Fire,” as mentioned above. Increase the pace of both the “Cat-Cow” and “Breath Of Fire” and repeat this movement for up to five minutes.

This is how to do a Cat-Cow pose for energy:

5. Side Bends

This is a simple stretch to elongate the space between your ribs and increase range of motion, which helps achieve flexibility in the abdominals, spine, and lateral core.

Seated or standing with your back straight, raise your arms above your head and firmly hold your wrist. Gently pull your trunk to one side and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. When finished, repeat on opposite side.

Note: If standing, keep your feet shoulder width apart, if seated keep your feet flat on the floor.

Let’s take a look at how to do a standing side bend:

6. Pole Stretch

By creating opposing force and pulling on a stationary object, you are stretching your lats. The upper sides of your back. Here, you are performing a static stretch which is a stretch held beyond its normal range.

Find a pole, mounted gym apparatus, or other floor-affixed object and, while standing, pull on the object with slightly bent knees and back flat at a 45-degree angle.

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Continue to pull while extending your arms, feeling the stretch in your lats and rhomboid muscles. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat if needed.

7. Shoulder Blade Stretch

The shoulder blades are connected to the rhomboid muscles in the upper back. Sudden, quick movements like pulling a heavy object or even tossing a near-weightless object overhead, like a tennis ball during a serve, can strain the unstretched muscles between your shoulder blades, causing spasms.

Here’s how to avoid muscle strain:

Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart, gently pull your elbow across your chest, just beneath your chin, and hold for 15 seconds. If you do not feel immediate relief, try lowering or raising the elbow and perform the stretch again. Different angles can make a big difference.

There you have it – Seven upper back stretches and exercises to reduce pain and improve endurance. But while upper back stretches are important, a diet rich in antioxidants is equally key.

Bonus Tip: Getting a Diet Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants, also known as “Super Foods,” prevent the build up of free radicals in your body and control oxidative stress. These free radicals are toxins that get in the way of endurance, flexibility, and cause inflammation, among other fitness obstacles.

How do you incorporate antioxidants into your diet? Here are some common foods and beverages rich in antioxidants:

A good combination of quick and easy targeted cardiovascular exercises, static stretches, range-of-motion stretches, and yoga poses can increase upper back endurance and boost your energy levels, making your activities – both sedentary and active – manageable and fun.

Once you begin to incorporate these methods of relief into your routine, you will begin to walk taller, run farther, and hike longer!

Featured photo credit: Geert Pieters via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Yogapedia: Breath of Fire

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