Fitness Friday: To Stretch or Not To Stretch

So, I am a runner, spinner, tennis player, and I do strength training, but I never know what the true rule is on “to stretch or not to stretch”. I decide to take this question to a pro. I had a talk with Kirk Kaps, a Certified Athletic Trainer at Champion Sports Medicine, who works daily with professional athletes (and small unknown athletes like me.) He told me this, “In the past, we have always heard that is important for us to make sure we stretch our muscles very well before physical activity. Before this could occur, it was told that we must get a good warm-up in order to get a good stretch for the muscle groups when they are considered “cold” muscles. One recent study, performed in 2011, concluded that if you normally stretch and warm up before running, then by all means, continue that. But, if you’re a runner who doesn’t stretch at all, and still gets in a good warm-up, then continue your routine. In essence, each athlete should continue their own routine, but they should continue to get a 3 to 5 minute warm-up before they start their activity.” I hope this helps when you are stumped with this same question.

You can find this study at: http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20110217/stretch-before-running-new-twist-on-old-debate

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Fitness Friday: Top 5 Best Workouts for Burning Calories

How can you get the most from workouts? Take a look at the top calorie burning exercises if you want to get the most bang for your buck.

1. Running-Running is the easiest, cheapest workout. All you need is some good running shoes and a street or trail. Depending of your pace, running is said to burn up to 500 to 700 calories in an hour.

2. Spinning-The great thing about spin (or indoor cycling) classes is that anyone can do them. Also, it’s a great cross-training workout and not hard on the joints or knees. Some spin classes, with a lot of intervals, are said to burn up to 600 to 700 calories in an hour.

3. Jumping Rope-If your’e short on time, this is the exercise to do. Jumping rope for only 10 minutes is said to burn 130 calories or 780 calories an hour. I think I’m going to buy one tomorrow :).

4. Zumba-Dancing for an hour is a great way to burn calories, and this latest rage is said to burn up to 500 calories in an hour. Its popularity is increasing by the week.

5. Swimming-This all over body workout is easy on the joints and great for you. It is a great workout for cross-training, and 30 minutes of the breast stroke can burn 400 calories in only 30 minutes.

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Fitness Friday: Hot 2012 Yoga Trends

Welcome to my new Friday column, “Fashion Friday” where I’ll be sharing the latest and greatest information and tips to inspire, help and share my passion for fitness. To kick off this Friday, here are some Top Yoga Trends:

1. Paddleboard Yoga-This outdoor yoga class has peaked my eyes for a while. It looks like an incredible workout in general and awesome for the abs. If there’s a way to find balance and be outdoors at the same time, I am in.

2. Yoga-Spinning-Often called, “Zen on Wheels, ” I can’t think of two more fun exercises that are more fun complement each other. A 30 minute spin class followed by a 30 minute yoga class sounds like a great calorie burning and great combination that I am ready to try.

3. Hot Yoga/Bikram-Although I am a longtime fan for over 8 years, hot yoga is getting even “hotter” every day. Ninety minutes in a heated room will change your body and your life. I am thrilled Bikram Yoga Birmingham has come to Birmingham, and the more I go, the better I feel. Anyone can do this. Just try it, and be patient.

4. Yoga and Weight Lifting-Featured in this month’s Women’s Health Magazine, this routine, created by a New York instructor, combines upper-body strength exercises into a fast-paced circuit with yoga breathing. I think we are going to be seeing a lot more of these combined exercises.

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