Improve Your Posture and Prevent Hunched Shoulders

The secret to looking thinner, taller and confident is good posture.  Improving your posture will dynamically effect your overall well-being.  Think about the person that walks into a room standing tall, head up and gait sure, that’s the person that gets noticed.  A confident man and woman is the one that turns heads and captures opportunities for all the right reasons.  We want that person to be you, so let’s get started.

I. Develop Self Awareness Of Your Posture.

Right now how are you sitting?  Are your shoulders slumped forward and spine rounded?  Or are your feet planted on the floor, shoulders relaxed down and back, spine straight?

Now stand up and just let your arms hang down by your side naturally.  Which way are the palms of your hands facing?  If they are facing backwards, you are rolling your shoulders forward. This is typical especially if you work at a desk all day or if you do a lot of weight training.  Have you ever noticed how guys that have big muscles seem to have rounded shoulders?  Ideally you want your palms to be facing each other toward the midline of your body and thumb up.

You might realize you have bad posture but unless you make a conscious effort it will not improve.   You could go through the whole day with the same hunched back and imbalanced hips unless you remember to pay attention.

II. Posture Check ins.  

  • Write post it notes and place them on your computer or on the bathroom mirror to remind you to have good posture.

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  • Set a  set a Pomodoro timer or an alarm on your phone to take posture and activity breaks every 30 min.  Posture and activity breaks will help you expand your body and think with more clarity.
  • Ask yourself, “how is my posture? Are my ears in-line with my shoulders? Are my feet flat on the floor?”  Sitting for long periods of time will cause you to  get stiff and more than likely you will end up slouching.
  • Ask friends and family to remind you:)

III.  Resistance training specific to improving posture

So much of life is pulling us forward, from reading and writing to cooking and typing, the list goes on and on.  To make a significant change in your posture, you have to get in there and strengthen the under worked opposing muscles and stretch the overworked ones.

Here is one of my favorite exercises at the gym, the rear fly.  I always do light weight and high reps of 15-20.  I pause for a second when I am at this part of the exercise.

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I encourage you to get a band and do the rear fly with it during your posture breaks at work.  Perform 30-50 reps of this same exercise.

When you pull back turn your thumbs to face behind you.

Control the band coming in.

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Here is an excellent workout that you can do at home.

https://www.fitnessblender.com/videos/better-posture-workout-exercises-to-improve-posture-and-prevent-hunched-shoulders

My favorite exercise to open up my chest and to feel an overall good stretch is lying over a stability ball.  ahh…

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With all the hard work you do everyday in and out of the gym, you deserve to walk proud.

 

 

 

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Miracle Potion For Your Weight, Skin and Everything In Between

My new favorite thing is apple cider vinegar.  One of my clients turned me on to this when I was complaining about having a cold.  She is a registered nurse and an administrator of a hospice company, and she swears by the health benefits of apple cider vinegar, especially in shortening a cold.   She was so excited about it that she brought a bottle to our next fitness class for everyone to try:)  LOL!

We all headed to the ladies room after our fitness class at the UFC, and brought out the shot glasses.

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Luckily no one spit it out all over the mirrors! haha:)

If you can get past the taste and smell, apple cider vinegar is really amazing. From your head to your toes, it’s good for the health of almost every body part.

Here are just some of the benefits of apple cider vinegar that I found in my research:

  1. Strengthens Your Immune System.

As soon as you feel the prickle of a sore throat, take a dose of this germ-busting miracle worker to help head off the infection.   The acidic environment kills the germs.  Just mix 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar with 1/4 cup warm water and gargle every hour.

Another recipe option I found is to mix one teaspoon apple cider vinegar, one teaspoon cayenne pepper and three teaspoons clover honey in a glass of warm water.  All three ingredients will work together to help you heal.

2.  Balances Your Digestive System.

Drinking apple cider vinegar before a starchy meal will allow the starches you don’t digest to feed the good bacteria in your gut.

If you want to reduce gas, dilute a tablespoon of enzyme-rich apple cider vinegar with a cup of water or tea, and drink before a meal. This will also combat constipation, since the vinegar stimulates digestive juices that help your body breakdown food.  (Dr. Oz, The Seven Surprising Ways To Use Apple Cider Vinegar.)

3.  Helps with allergies.

Research indicates that apple cider vinegar can help allergies because of how it helps break up mucous and reduce sinus congestion.

4.  Helps with weight loss.

There are some studies that propose that apple cider vinegar can increase satiety, which helps you eat less.  Researchers suggest that vinegar may turn on certain genes involved in breaking down fats.

The effect is probably very subtle, says Chicago dietitian Debbie Davis, RD. “It may have some benefits in terms of weight loss and weight management, but it is definitely not a quick fix.”

Although apple cider vinegar seems to be a miracle worker, it’s the entire lifestyle that counts if you want to see results.  Use it to aid your weight loss along with exercise and portion control.

5.  Does Wonders For Skin.

If you are burnt to a crisp after a long day in the sun, apple cider vinegar can soothe your skin. To neutralize the burn try adding a cupful or two to your bath and soak for 10 minutes.  The apple cider vinegar help restore your skin’s pH levels and your skin will feel cool and soothed.

It is great for clearing up the skin.  This is my favorite benefit because I have seen an immediate change since I started using it as my toner.  I mix 2 oz of apple cider vinegar with 2 oz of filtered water in a bottle.  Apply it to a cotton ball and rub on your face and neck.  It restores the proper pH levels to your skin so it is great for every skin type.  It is also is good for reducing the appearance of age spots, pimples and acne scars.

Tips on Taking Apple Cider Vinegar

  • When you buy it make sure it is cloudy and reads on the label with “the mother.” The “mother” is a blob at the bottom and it is full of probiotics and other good bacteria.

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(This is the brand I buy at WinDixie in Louisiana, so I’m sure you can find it in most grocery stores.)

  • There are many suggestions I found on taking apple cider vinegar. The nurse I mentioned earlier takes it straight and follows it up with a glass of water.   Some people mix it in with apple or grape juice. I dilute 1 to 2 tablespoons with a small amount of water and honey.
  • It is so acidic that mixing it with water or juice makes it more palatable.
  • Take it before a meal or along with your meals one or two times a day.

Although there isn’t a lot of scientific support, the homeopathic benefits of apple cider vinegar should not be underestimated.  It’s definitely worthwhile to try.

4 Ways To Turn Anxiety Into Your Ally

“I told the doctor I was overtired, anxiety ridden, compulsively active, constantly depressed, with recurring fits of paranoia.  Turns out I’m normal.”  Jules Feiffer.

It’s no surprise that we all have issues that bring unhappiness, restlessness & tension into our lives.  Anxiety plagues 40 million people in the U.S.A.  Often times we feel weak or ashamed because of our anxieties.

Generally the quick fix is antidepressants, alcohol or being the frequent caller on the psychic hotline.  Advertisements & commercials these days make it seem like sunshine & whiskey go together, but it’s an illusion of happiness.  There are times when medication is needed & knowing the difference is crucial.

Here are some strategies that can help you turn your anxiety into your ally:

  1. Practice Journaling, Prayer or Meditation. (Guys, this is not just for females.)

Journaling or practicing your prayer life is a safe place for you to get out your emotions and process through them.

  • You can sort out your irrational & rational thoughts and become more focused.
  • Journaling is a way of developing self awareness which will enable you to be more compassionate to yourself and others.
  • Gradually you will learn to live from the inside out instead of the outside in. This will help you feel lighter & more in control.
  1. Be a best friend to yourself. 
  • When we judge our feelings it creates more anxiety and shame. When friends share their fears & anxieties you probably immediately give them encouragement and acceptance. Practice this with yourself. You are a human being & it’s okay for you to feel fear, anger, confusion.
  • Don’t fall into playing the victim. A good friend will tell you the truth & not let you get away with feeling sorry for yourself too long. When we get upset or scared about something we wonder “what is wrong with me:” Then we get afraid if we don’t fix it then we won’t be accepted by our partner or friends.
  • Rejecting your feelings is not going to cause them to go away.

Denying your emotions is like trying to get the ocean to not have waves or ripples, it’s impossible.

When we give up trying to figure out why we are the way we are, we can feel peace within ourselves.

  1. Let go of trying to be perfect.

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  • When we focus on our imperfections it brings us down. Imperfections make you interesting.

How boring the world would be if we were perfect. The most brilliant artists and authors were dysfunctional. Robin Williams said, “You’re only given a little spark of madness. You musn’t lose it.”

  • That stubbornness, kookiness, phobia & anxiety can become our greatest ally when we practice self-awareness & keep it in check.
  1. Take care of your body. 
  • A lot of anxiety can be taken care of by exercising, eating right and getting enough sleep. Exercise is a positive way to release stress & feel better instantly.
  • It may be difficult to get started if you haven’t exercised in awhile, but make yourself do it for a solid 2 weeks, & you can change your life. Start with 15 min. of walking. It doesn’t have to be some big overwhelming challenge. Start to move more & make healthier food choices. Trust the process. It’s that simple.

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