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Posted by on Mar 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Work Out With Kettlebells and Deep Squats to Have Your Best Baseball Season Yet!

 

Springtime is now here in the northern hemisphere, and you know what that means? That’s right – baseball season is starting soon!

All over the country, both major and minor leagues have begun spring training and are warming up their throwing arms for this season’s games.

While baseball is not considered a contact sport, many injuries, both minor and serious, result from contact with the ball, improper form, or even one slight incorrect move of a limb. In fact, most of the common injuries include repetitive-use injuries in the shoulder and elbow, contusions, muscle pulls, black eyes, ligament injuries, lacerations, and even concussions.

Luckily, there are a two specific exercises baseball players can partake in to make themselves stronger, more flexible, and less prone to injury – kettlebells and squats!

Kettlebells, an all-inclusive exercise that originated from Russia, is a catch-all sort of exercise that benefits the entire body. Using kettlebells correctly can improve your strength, power, speed, and coordination all over your body, and it can also improve your performance in baseball. You can also increase the grip strength on the bat (which improves your speed), make your shoulders stronger, increase the mobility in your shoulders and hips, and decrease your chances of injury when you work out with kettlebells.

If you’re already familiar with the kettlebells, you can already start your workout! The best exercises to do to help you with your baseball performance include the power clean, front squat, kettlebell swing, shoulder press, and the reverse lunge.

Be warned, however – if you don’t know how to use the kettlebells, you should first consult with a professional on how to properly use them. Injury can easily abound from using kettlebells incorrectly, especially when picking them up and putting them back down. You can even check out our video of kettlebell exercises right here to see how it looks to use them correctly!

Along with upper-body injuries, knee injuries are also relatively common in baseball. In fact, some knee injuries can easily end one’s baseball career if they’re severe enough, so it’s exceptionally important to take care of your lower body muscles and joints.

One of the best ways to strengthen your lower body is by doing deep squats. This exercise, which we’re programmed to do properly from the time we were infants, strengthens the entire body. Sadly, though, as we age we lose the range of motion to properly execute deep squats because we stop doing them.

What’s worse is that we’re taught incorrectly on how to do deep squats using only a 60-degree range of motion with weights instead of the full 135 degree-range that the knees can handle. Using a limited range of motion will only cause wear and tear to your knees, ankles, and hip joints.

The proper way to do a squat, however, is actually to run through the FULL range of your knees’ bend and use the glutes to do all the hard work. If you do the exercise correctly, you will strengthen everything from your lower back to your ankles! Check out our video here to see how to properly do a full squat!

If you happen to not be able to do a squat in a full range of motion, there’s no need to worry (or avoid doing squats)! A physical therapist like Mark Slaughter can work with you and help you regain your range of motion!

Are you ready to get revved up for this year’s baseball season? Want to do the workouts, but you’re not sure how to start? No problem! Give us a call here at Fitness4Life at (618) 656-5433 or visit us at our website at www.fitness4lifept.com to see what we can do for you! We’ll get you started on the right foot this baseball season!

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Posted by on Dec 13, 2011 | 0 comments

Live Longer by Staying Active and Doing the Things You Love!

In the day and age in which computers, texting, Tweeting, and Facebook dominates our culture, it’s hard to refocus on the world before us. Televisions can be found in nearly everyone’s home across the nation, and after a hard day’s work, which tends to entail toiling tirelessly at a desk for at least 8 hours, people tend to come home, and plop on the couch for the rest of the night, remote in one hand and Blackberry in another.

Now, we’re not saying that people shouldn’t relax at all; that would be an insane declaration to make! It seems, though, as if there is so much insistence in keeping priorities straight – work and family usually dominate the top tiers, and rightfully so. What needs to be made a priority, however, is exercising and keeping active throughout the years.

“Yeah, very funny joke. Tell another!” you may exclaim. Guess what? We aren’t joking.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States during the past 20 years, and, as news reports inform us quite frequently, the rates remain high while exercising rates have decreased.

“Awww, but that means I have to actually get up and exercise, doesn’t it?” Why, yes. Yes, it does. And yes, we know that you’ve had a long day at work or that the kids have worn you down. It happens to all of us. But believe it or not, keeping fit and active doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, the hardest part is deciding what you want to do and just going for it!

So right now you might be wondering what workouts are the best to help you keep fit and stay active. Actually, the answer is simple. The best workout is the one that works best for you.

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to join the gym or work with huge machines to stay fit. All you have to do is find a physical activity or two that you enjoy doing and be sure that you do it often! If you love running, then go jogging or play soccer or football. If you enjoy dancing, turn up your favorite tunes and dance in your living room or take Zumba classes. Are you a lover of things that require hand-eye coordination (hello, videogames!)? Why not shoot some hoops or play a few rounds of tennis? And of course, if strength training is your game, go lift weights to your heart’s content or try some kettlebells!

If you’re still not on board, consider this. There are so many benefits to staying fit. Of course there are the typical benefits that you can expect to receive from exercise such as losing weight and keeping weight off, lowering your blood pressure, gaining more energy, and sleeping better. But did you know that by keeping fit, you decrease the stress and anxiety in your life while boosting your libido and positive energy? And while you’re improving your blood glucose management and blood fats, you’re lowering your risk for other health problems such as heart attack, bone loss, stroke, and some forms of cancers.

Staying active will also keep you strong throughout your life by increasing your muscle mass and strength. It will also prevent you from becoming breathless during simple activities such as walking up a flight of stairs or walking quickly from one place to another when it’s cold.

And get this – staying fit and physically active will help you as you age! According to a new study, people over 70 who no longer remain physically active are more likely to develop physical problems within a few years. Other studies have found that seniors who remain physically active over 70 are less likely to experience age-related declines in functioning mentally. In a way, physical activity is just as important as taking your medicine when you’re older.

Sounds like an awesome deal, right? A little bit of physical activity for lifelong benefits… Oh, wait. You have to actually dedicate time do staying fit. Don’t sign off just yet! You don’t have to keep your nose to the grindstone all the time. You can workout in 10-minute intervals throughout the day or in one-hour blocks scattered throughout the week. As long as the schedule works for you and your lifestyle, it doesn’t matter how much time you do in one interval! See? Now you have no more excuses!

And just remember, your attitude will change how you view exercise. If you have a positive attitude toward exercise, you’re more likely to do it! Just keep doing the things you love, and you’ll be happier and more likely to do them in the long run!

Got questions? Want some advice on how to begin? Call us here at Fitness4Life at (618) 656-5433 or visit us at our website at www.fitness4lifept.com!

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