Along with some spring cleaning, take some time in this season of growth to check in on your physical health habits. April is Physical Wellness Month and it is a great time to make some changes in your health routines. Read on for ways to get your body moving.
Exercise balls are a staple of many gyms, typically stacked next to foam rollers and yoga mats, and have many uses. There are simple exercises that you can do with them at the gym, at home, or even at work to strengthen your low back and core. Keeping these muscle groups strong will help your posture and make lifting heavy items easier and safer.
Ways to use an exercise ball
The simplest way to use an exercise ball is to use it in place of a chair. Its instability means you will have to activate your abdominal muscles and your low back in order to stay upright. Focus on keeping your spine straight–don’t slouch over. If you want to add an extra element of difficulty, use the balls of your feet to bounce slightly up and down. This will keep your core and low back even more engaged.
If you prefer a standing exercise, try wall squats. Place the ball at the small of your back between your spine and the wall. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and then squat downward, not leaning too hard into the ball, and then stand back up. It’s important not to let your knees extend over your toes–if this happens, you’re squatting too deeply.
Circuit training may be a good option for you. In a circuit training workout, you’ll move briskly between different “stations” that focus on different muscle groups, doing 10-25 reps or performing a particular movement for 30-90 seconds.
A circuit training workout can last anywhere from fifteen minutes to an hour, depending on your fitness and goals.
While you can do circuit training in a gym with weight machines and dumbbells, you don’t always need gym equipment to do it. You can do exercises that rely primarily on your own body weight. Because you are constantly moving from exercise to exercise, it is excellent for your cardiovascular health. Depending on the exercises you do, you can customize a circuit to your specific needs, whether those be strength, weight loss, agility, or endurance.
Circuit training is very flexible, but it is not for everyone. If you have arthritis, be sure to choose low-impact exercises (avoid jumping jacks, for instance). If you have a back or knee injury, wait to circuit train until you are healed. Not sure where to start? Check out this introductory circuit, complete with instructions for each exercise.
Stream workout classes
If you’re struggling to fit exercise into your life, live-stream workout classes might be for you.
Classes are streamed in real-time for a fee on websites like Live Streaming Fitness, Forte Fit, and Daily Burn. Log on and an instructor is there teaching a class that you can participate from the comfort of your home. If you miss a scheduled class, live classes are archived and available on demand. Some of the benefits include:
Veterinary professionals strive to maintain the health of their patients, but paying attention to your own health is also supremely important. We hope you are able to explore different ways to improve your daily habits this spring!