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Fitness for All: March Madness Workout – Can You Do It?

Written by Lisa Jillanza

This month, we offer you this “March Madness-inspired” workout challenge. These exercises are inspired by all the full body moves that basketball players use while on the court. Can you keep up? You will need a cones, a kettle bell and a medicine ball.

 

Down and Back - Place two cones about 12-15 feet apart. Start by standing behind one cone as you face the other. As quickly as possible, sprint to the second cone. Once you’ve reached the second cone, quickly backpedal, returning to starting position. Continue moving as quickly as possible between cones. 2-3 sets, 6-8 reps.

Rotating Power Slams - Stand with feet hip-width apart and rise onto toes, holding medicine ball with both hands overhead, arms fully extended.  Shift hips down and back, bending knees as you explosively slam medicine ball into the ground outside of the left foot, rotating the torso. Allow ball to bounce back into hands and repeat sequence to opposite side. 2-3 sets, 6-8 per side. 

Cross-Body Lunge - Stand holding medicine ball overhead with arms extended. Step out to the left 

foot to perform a lateral lunge, sitting hips back and bending left knee, keeping ball in front of chest. Press off left foot and step it across the body in front of right foot, performing a forward lunge at a 45-degree angle, extending arms and medicine ball out in front of the body at shoulder height. Return to starting position and repeat sequence. 2-3 sets, 8-10 per side.

Alternating Single Arm Swings - Stand with feet hip-width apart and grasp handle of kettlebell in right hand using an overhand grip. Hinge at the hips as you draw the kettlebell back between the legs. Thrust hips forward, generating power from lower body to raise the kettlebell to shoulder height. Once at shoulder height, release the kettlebell momentarily mid-air to switch hands, so the kettlebell is now in the left hand. Continue alternating hands. 2-3 sets, 8-10 per arm.

Unstable Mountain Climbers - Position a medicine ball directly below chest and place hands on top of the ball. Extend legs with toes on floor, assuming a plank position. Keeping core engaged, draw right knee into chest. With control, quickly switch sides, stepping back with right foot while drawing left knee into chest. Continue alternating sides. 2-3 sets, 6-8 per leg.

Fitness for All February Fitness Challenge – Can You Do It?

Written by Lisa Jillanza

It’s February… again. Yeah, we know that for some February is their least favorite month (Hello Groundhog Day?!) but this short month is the perfect opportunity to start a Winter Challenge!

 

This easy at-home winter challenge can be adapted any way that you see fit. Want a harder workout? Double the amount of reps/miles/etc. Need a more laid-back work out? Lessen the reps/miles/etc. Any way you look at it, you are still getting that much-needed mid-winter exercise.

Here’s the 28-day (thanks short month!) February Fitness Challenge breakdown and feel free to adjust accordingly!

Day 1: 25 squats

Day 2: 10 burpees

Day 3: 30-second plank

Day 4: 10 push ups

Day 5: 1-mile walk

Day 6: 25 walking lunges

Day 7: 30-second bridge

Day 8: 20 donkey kicks

Day 9: 50 high knees

Day 10: 2-mile walk

Day 11: 25 burpees

Day 12: 15 pushups

Day 13: 150 jumping jacks

Day 14: 45-second plank

Day 15: 50 jump squats

Day 16: 30 jump lunges

Day 17: 45-second bridge

Day 18: 30 donkey kicks

Day 19: 20 pushups

Day 20: 3-mile walk

Day 21: 60-second plank

Day 22: 20 single leg bridges

Day 23: 150 skiers

Day 24: 40 walking lunges

Day 25: 50 squats

Day 26: 20 burpees

Day 27: 60-second bridge

Day 28: 100 high knees 

Fitness for All: Best Workouts for Short Amounts of Time

Written by Lisa Jillanza

As things around the world are “starting” to get back to normal after the past 18 months, people find themselves back in the hustle and bustle of their “pre-pandemic” life.

Work, social lives, activities, school, sports and so much more occupy a huge chunk of our days and leave very little time for exercise. But there are still great exercises that you can fit into any busy schedule. Experts suggest that if you don’t have time to do a full circuit exercise routine, then just stick to one or more of these three great body movers – around the world lunges, squats, and planks.

Here’s how to do the above for maximum benefits.

Around the World Lunges - Start standing with feet shoulder-width apart. Take a large step forward with your left foot. Bend both knees to about 90 degrees, making sure that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. Your front knee should be directly over your ankle (and not extended past it). That is your front lunge. Step your left foot back to center. Step the left foot out to the left side and bend the left knee (kneecap facing forward).

Keep the right leg extended straight. That’s your side lunge. Step your left foot back to center. Next step your left foot behind you so now your right leg is in front. That’s your rear lunge. Return left leg to starting position. Now repeat the sequence in the opposite direction using the right leg.

Squats - Start standing with feet about hip-distance apart. Engage your core muscles as you begin pressing your hips back as if you’re about to sit in a chair (increasingly shifting pressure onto your heels and keeping them flat on the floor), lowering as far as you are able. Focus on keeping your shoulders pulled back and your back straight. Keep knees in line with toes. Press into your feet and straighten to come back up. (You should feel the glute and other leg muscles engage.)

Planks - Start in the top of a push-up position, making sure your shoulders are above your wrists. Engage your leg muscles, pushing back through your heels, while also engaging your core muscles. Hold the position, making sure your shoulders don’t collapse inward and your back doesn’t sag down. You want to be in as much of a straight line as possible.

Fitness for All: Take a Walk… or a Hike

Written by Lisa Jillanza

In 2018, more than 111 million people chose walking as their aerobic activity of choice and in 2020, hiking enticed 57.8 million Americans to hit the trail, a number that dramatically increased since 2014.

 

Both activities are low-risk ways to get your exercise in (especially during a pandemic) and keep you moving!

But is walking better than hiking? Or is hiking better than walking? Here a couple things to keep in mind when choosing to lace up your sneakers or hiking boots.

Walking is typically done outside in an urban or suburban flat area (or indoors on a treadmill or at a mall), while hiking is done in the outdoors along natural terrain, with elevation changes.

Both walking and hiking can help you to manage cholesterol and blood pressure. They are both great for improving heart and lung performance, and they both can help you lose weight.

If you want to burn more calories, hiking is your better option. While you can burn approximately 100 calories per mile walking, you can burn approximately 500 calories per mile hiking while wearing a heavy backpack going over arduous terrain.

If you are looking for an inexpensive workout, then walking wins this one. You can walk for free anywhere; while you might have to drive further distances to hike and wear hiking boots and use other hiking gear for peak performance.

Whether you choose to take a hike or take a walk, both activities are great ways to get your exercise, clear your mind and take a breath of fresh air!