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1 Work out why, don’t just work out
  1. How to stay fit forever: 25 tips to keep moving when life gets in the way
  2. Workout Motivation for Tricks and Tips to stay Motivated!
  3. Newsletter

You'll hone your ability to judge speed and line without even picking up a club. Blow Off Your Belly Exhale forcefully at the top of the movement when you do abdominal crunches. It forces your abs to work harder. Build Big Biceps Bend your wrists to work your biceps harder. That is, extend them backward slightly—and hold them that way—while you do arm curls. Heal Faster Don't exercise when you're sick—unless your symptoms are above the neck. And even then you might do better taking a day off. Pick Up Your Pace Increase the speed of your running strides—not their length—to get faster.

Your foot should always land under your body, rather than out in front of it, and you should push off with the toes of your rear leg for propulsion. Ditch the Weight Belt Don't train with a weight belt. Over time, regular training in a weight belt actually weakens your abdominal and lower-back muscles. Wear it only when attempting maximal lifts in such exercises as squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses.

Ride More Efficiently Practice cycling one-legged to ride more efficiently. This forces you to concentrate on pulling up at the bottom of the stroke, which better distributes the work among the major leg muscles. Lock both feet on your pedals, but let your left leg go limp while you do all the work with your right leg. Do this for 30 seconds, then switch legs. Ride normally for 5 minutes, then repeat the drill. Continue this way for a to minute workout.

Pay Now, Build Later Pay your trainer in advance. Flatten Your Gut Work your invisible abdominal muscles. Your transversus abdominis lies beneath your rectus abdominis—the six-pack muscle—and flattens your waistline when you suck in your gut. Work it with the vacuum: Pull your belly button toward your spine and hold for 10 seconds while breathing normally. Repeat five times. Stretch for Strength Between sets, take 20 to 30 seconds to stretch the muscle you just worked.

Boston researchers found that men who did this increased their strength by 20 percent. Save Your Shoulders Decrease the weight by 10 percent when you change your grip.

So if you've been benchpressing pounds for 10 repetitions with a medium grip, drop to pounds when you switch to a wide grip. Improve Quickness For faster foot speed in sports, try this move: Start with your feet hip-width apart and your hands at your sides.

Actors Give Advice on Diet & Exercise

Lift your left foot in front of you, touch it with your right hand, and lower it to the floor. Lift your right foot, touch it with your left hand, and lower it. Then touch your left foot behind you with your right hand, then your right foot behind you with your left hand.

Go for 20 seconds at a time, moving as fast as you can, and repeat for a total of three to five sets. Repair Muscle Faster Recover faster from a hard workout by lightly exercising the same muscles the following day. Use a light weight—about 20 percent of the weight you can lift one time—and do two sets of 25 repetitions. This will deliver more blood and nutrients into your muscles so they repair faster.

Dress Better Buy only workout clothes that are black, white, or gray. They'll go with everything, and you'll never again waste time looking for a T-shirt that matches your gold-and-purple Lakers shorts. Eat Meat and Grow Eat meat—4 to 8 ounces every day—to grow more muscle. Both groups grew stronger, but only the carnivores gained significant muscle.

Chicken, turkey, and fish count, too. Save Time in the Gym Don't worry about specific rest periods between sets. Instead, rest as you need it—less in your early sets when your muscles are fresh, and more as they become fatigued. Get Home-Run Power To hit more home runs, swing with a slight uppercut at high pitches.

The high swing utilizes your powerful hip and midsection muscles instead of just your hands and arms. Shake a Defender To come open for a pass in football, run near enough to your defender that you can shake his hand.

How to stay fit forever: 25 tips to keep moving when life gets in the way

The closer you get, the easier it'll be to blow past him. As you close in on him, shorten your strides without slowing down—it'll help you cut faster. Stay in the Saddle When you cycle, keep your pace between 80 and rpm. You'll ride farther and faster with less fatigue and knee strain. To gauge your pace, count how many times your right leg comes to the top of the pedal stroke in 10 seconds, then multiply that number by 6. The result is your pedal rpms.

Build Arms Faster Work opposing muscle groups—your biceps and triceps, for instance—back-to-back for a faster workout. You won't need as much time between sets. Get a Better Handle To improve your ball-handling skills in basketball, practice dribbling while wearing leather or canvas work gloves.

The thickness of the gloves helps improve the sensitivity of your fingertips, so you'll have better ball control when you take them off. Jason Williams, a Memphis Grizzlies guard, credits his ball-handling mastery to this training method. Make More Contact Play foosball to become a better softball hitter. It improves hand-eye coordination. Improve Balance Use a sofa cushion to improve your balance. Stand one-legged on the cushion and move a medicine ball or a 1-gallon milk jug or heavy phone book from hand to hand, side to side, and behind your head.

Once you've mastered the move, try it with your eyes closed. Get Stronger Fast Do the same amount of exercise in 10 percent less time. It forces your muscles to work harder and improves your endurance at the same time. If it takes you 30 minutes to do a full-body workout on Monday, try to do it in 27 minutes on Wednesday. See Ball, Hit Ball Play better tennis by training your eyes to focus faster. You'll hit more winners by learning to change your visual focus from distance, when your opponent is hitting the ball, to close up, when you're hitting it. Try this drill while riding in a car: Focus on an object about a tennis-court length away.

Then quickly shift focus to a closer object. Double Dip Benefits Do dips with your elbows in and your body straight to work your triceps. But lean forward and flare them out to focus on your chest. Bench More Now Look at your dominant hand—without turning your head—while you're bench-pressing. Do More Chinups Don't think about pulling yourself up when you do chinups. Instead, imagine pulling your elbows down. The exercise will seem easier. Climb Like Spiderman For rock or wall climbing, buy shoes that fit your bare feet so tightly you can stand but not walk comfortably. They'll give you optimal control, and you'll be better able to use your legs—the key to successful climbing.

Run Injury-Free One week out of every six, cut your weekly training mileage and frequency in half. You'll give your body a better chance to recover, and you'll avoid permanent, nagging injuries. Drink Up, Get Lean Drink low-fat milk. Scientists in Canada found that people who consumed more than milligrams of calcium a day—roughly the amount in 2 cups of milk, a cup of broccoli, and a half cup of cottage cheese—had lower body fat than those who consumed less than milligrams a day. Slash Your Score When you're putting, aim high on breaks. Multiply Your Muscles Follow this simple formula to build more muscle: Multiply the amount of weight you lift for a particular exercise by the total number of times you lift it.

Try to increase that number every workout by lifting heavier weights, increasing your repetitions, or doing more sets. Be More Flexible Spend twice as much time stretching your tight muscles as your flexible muscles. Typical problem areas for men: hamstrings, shoulders, and lower back. Recover Faster When you're recovering from a muscle injury, begin exercising again as soon as you can. Try a few minutes at low intensity to test yourself. Go slowly—no explosive movements.

If you experience pain, stop immediately. Afterward, ice the area for 20 minutes and exercise again the next day. You should be able to go a little harder and longer each workout. Reach Your Goals Set your goals in reverse. That is, pick a date of completion and work backward, writing down short-term goals as you go. Run Hills Faster When running uphill, keep your head up and your eyes focused on the top of the hill. This opens your airways, making it easier to breathe than if your upper body were hunched forward.

Manage Your Middle Do your ab exercises at the beginning of your workout if you can't pass this test: Sit with your feet flat on the floor and your legs bent—as if you had just performed a situp. Then place your fingers behind your ears with your elbows pulled back.

Lower yourself to the floor as slowly as possible. Win a Marathon To build speed and endurance, train like a Kenyan: Go slowly for the first third of your run, at a normal pace in the middle third, and at a faster-than-normal pace at the end. Gradually increase your starting pace each week, and you'll increase your normal and fast paces, too. Outdrive Your Pals To hit a golf ball farther, take some practice swings from the opposite side.

It strengthens and balances your muscles, which may help you clear that water hazard. Do a few opposite swings on the first three or four holes, or for a minute at the driving range. Sit Back, Squat More Use a bench to squat with perfect form. That is, stand in front of the bench when you squat. Lower yourself as if you were sitting down. When your butt touches the bench, push yourself back up. Try it with a light bar or a broomstick first. Shake Your Muscles Eat immediately after your workout. A week study conducted by Danish researchers found that older men who drank a shake with 10 grams of protein, 7 grams of carbohydrate, and 3 grams of fat about the same as in a cup of milk within 5 minutes after their weight workout gained muscle, but men who consumed the drink 2 hours later did not.

For a serious postworkout muscle-building shake, try this formula from Thomas Incledon, M. You'll down 23 grams of protein, 52 grams of carbs, and only 4 grams of fat. Get Stronger Legs Do lunges in reverse. This forces your front leg to work throughout the entire exercise. Use the same movement pattern as in a traditional lunge, but step backward instead of forward.

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Tape Your Jams If you have a finger that is frequently jammed, tape it to a neighboring finger when you play sports. Together the two fingers will be stronger and less likely to bend at an odd angle. A study in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that 8 weeks of resistance training improved experienced runners' 5-K times by 30 seconds. Save Your Back Squeeze your butt muscles when you lift weights over your head.

That's because your central nervous system tells your muscles when to contract. Try standing on one leg while you squat down, and touch the floor in front of it with your opposite hand. Do two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions with each leg. Loosen Your Hips Keep your heels on the floor when you squat. If you can't, your hip flexors are too tight. Try this stretch: Hold onto the sides of the squat rack and lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Hold for 30 seconds. Return to a standing position, then repeat five times.

Squeeze Out Gains Squeeze the bar inward when you bench-press. This works more muscles in your chest. But squeeze it outward when you do the close-grip version of the exercise—this hits your triceps harder. Make More Birdies For straight-on putts, aim exactly 17 inches past the hole. That's because the 17 inches of green surrounding the cup will be free of footprints, meaning blades of grass there are thicker and more upright and will slow down your putts dramatically. Finish Faster To save time, use the same weight for your entire workout.

Pick the weight based on your weakest exercise—choose an amount you can lift only six to eight times—and do the moves in a circuit. Save Your Calves If you're a runner and your calves feel tight when you wake up in the morning, try sleeping on your stomach with your feet hanging off the bed. Gravity will take over, lightly stretching the calf muscles all night.

Go Short, Get Fast Go faster for shorter distances to improve your running form. You'll not only perform better, but you'll also be less susceptible to injuries. Go Light, Get Strong Lift light weights fast to build strength. Your muscles will generate as much force as if you were lifting a heavier weight more slowly. Try it with the bench press: Use a weight that's 40 to 60 percent of what you can lift one time, and do eight sets of three repetitions, pushing the weight up as fast as possible. Rest 30 seconds between sets. You want to be ready when that cure comes—and I am confident it will in our lifetimes—with the healthiest body and mind possible.

You can do this. You can definitely do this. Start slowly. Nothing crashes a multiple sclerosis exercise program like going out full guns and wiping yourself out for a week. Easy does it, even if it means just a few minutes a day. Patience is key. Gains will come. A fellow MSer wrote me about going from 5 minutes of exercise a day to 50 minutes a day! Listen to your body. With MS, it is easy to go over that fatigue edge.

Wear the proper shoes. If you are running, see a professional at a specialty running store to get the right shoe for you. Just walking? Still go to a running store. Running shoes are constructed far better than your budget walking shoe. Let your clothes breathe. Synthetic performance clothing wicks moisture and keeps you dry. Traditional cotton breathes well and can help you stay cooler while you exercise.

The benefit of synthetics is maximized if you are participating in outdoor sports where the breeze becomes your best friend and potential enemy if you are wet. Invest in a pedometer. Researchers have found that people tend to walk more in a day at least initially if they are keeping track of the number of steps they take. And if you wear a wrist monitor—the most common type—you can also track how active you are in your manual wheelchair, even if you never leave the house.

Those little walks or rolls from the couch to the kitchen can add up! Get the right adaptive gear. If you have foot drop, where your foot slaps the pavement and you scuff or stub that toe, consider investing in an ankle foot orthosis AFO ; the Toe Off by Allard is highly recommended by members. The WalkAide and Bioness also ward off foot drop effectively. Your PT will have the best advice as to what can help you exercise to your fullest capacity. Sometimes adaptive gear is more of a burden than it is an aid. If it takes you 30 minutes to prep for exercising, the odds drop that you will actually exercise.

Be smart about it. Your body will tell you what it needs. If it needs more, give it more. Stay close to home. The closer exercise opportunities are to your house, the more likely you are to partake. That also means less driving, fewer minutes out of your day wasted, and less stress worrying about fitting in a workout. Also, if you are in need of a gym, look for a fitness center with a pool, an essential extra for MSers. And having a convenient bathroom not located yards from the stretching mats is always a plus.

Consult a pro. Your health insurance will likely cover the initial cost of you seeing a physical therapist, who can customize an exercise program to your abilities and show you proper ways to stretch and workout. When you go to the appointment, be prepared with a succinct medical history, changes in the last three months are you in a flare? Be honest with your PTs and for gosh sakes listen to them. Research local MS programs. There are multiple sclerosis societies worldwide and many of them offer exercise programs and classes geared to those with MS.

Give them a try; you might meet some great new friends and get fit to boot. Alternate strength training. To keep fresh, try not to strength train the same set of muscles on back-to-back days although abs are usually okay. I switch off between arms and legs. If an area still feels fatigued a couple days after exercising, give it an extra day or two. Remember the meds. You might need to work your exercise program around your medications. Interferons, for example, can make some folks feel icky the next day.

Also speaking of meds, as good as exercise is for your MS, it does not replace a disease modifying therapy. Do both. Better yet, add a healthy diet to the mix, too. Sometimes dial it back. If you are battling a relapse, take it easy on the exercise front.

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Yes, you can still exercise, but be smart about it. Ratchet back the intensity and focus on maintaining fitness rather than building. Slowly work your way back up. Stop procrastinating. Literally, right now. Shrug your shoulders, pulling them up to your ears, hold for a few seconds, then release.

Repeat twice more. Bingo, you are already on the way, piece of cake! No wait, forget I even mentioned cake. L ie down in front of the TV. Seriously, roll out a yoga mat and get to work on the ground. Watch The Voice and do floor exercises to the music. Abdominal exercises are obvious, but there are gobs of other exercises and stretches that can be done from your tummy or on your back.

Sit down in front of the TV. No, not on the couch. Sit on an exercise ball or a Bosu. That imbalance will force your abs to work even though your brain is focused on that delicious-looking dish on Top Chef. No really, sit down in front of the TV. There are gobs of exercises you can do seated on your couch, walker or wheelchair. Search for seated exercise programs on Google and go to town. But since I prefer working out more intensely, I usually just follow standing hardcore exercise programs and modify them to fit my disability. For at-home exercises, your fave video service almost certainly offers exercise programs for free on demand.

Go MS Specific. There are exercise video programs that are MS specific. There are also a bevy of other programs with a wide range of intensity if you go a-searching. Some I like, some go too slowly, and some have more talking than actual exercise. Find what works for you. Dis drop foot. You can do it sitting down: keep your heels to the ground and lift your toes. Do your home work.

Working out at home is cheap, convenient, and darn easy. Since MS can make even getting out of the house tricky at times, take advantage of staying in where you can regulate the temperature yourself and doing what you can. Some light free weights, a set of resistance bands, and a mat can make all the difference.

Gear up. If you want to beef up your home gym, initial temptations are to invest in a seated cardio machine that works both your upper and lower body, like the NuStep. The problem? They can run into the thousands of dollars, which is budget busting for many MSers. If down the road the saddle is too high to mount, you can still work your arms from the front of the bike from a seated position wheelchair or walker.

Plus the fan offers built-in cooling. A win, win! Take advantage of your surroundings. Your house has lots of natural supports beyond its walls, from doorjambs and hallways perfect for two arms to couches, chairs and doors. Play video games. There are video game systems, like the Xbox Kinect and the Nintendo Wii, that will help challenge you to get and stay active. They also may improve strength, endurance and balance.

Train your brain. Remember that no matter how you feel, exercise will not make your MS worse although it could temporarily amplify your symptoms. Exercise your brain instead: do a crossword or Sudoku. Use caution. While they are extremely affordable, resistance bands can be hazardous if you have severe spasticity muscle tightness. Also, make sure your exercise space is clear and open.

Tripping on a throw rug is decidedly not fun. Brush your teeth. And while you are doing that, work on your balance by standing on one foot be sure to hold onto something to start. Want to flex your brain? Use your non-dominant hand to polish those pearly whites. Write your ABCs. With your feet.

Sit on the edge of the bed and write out the alphabet using your feet. This exercise helps with proprioception, or knowing where your body is in space. Time your parking. Gyms are notorious for filling up handicapped parking spaces due to seniors working to get in shape, too. If finding a spot is tricky for you, check the class schedule and avoid going to the gym during times when classes for senior citizens are being held unless you are in the class, of course!

Ask for a discount. Many fitness centers and ski areas offer deep discounts to those with disabilities or diseases. If anyone asks, I keep a note in my glove box … or I just awkwardly walk for them. Get an exercise buddy. Some of us can get motivated to exercise just by putting on sneakers, while others might need a bit more prodding.

With a taser. Research and personal experience has found that enlisting someone to exercise with regularly does wonders and helps keep both of you honest. This is especially helpful at the gym. Look up to stay cool. Before you start working out on a cardio machine, look up. Check your ego at the door. Use the facilities. Incontinence problems are common with MS. Use the bathroom before exercise and if you feel that urge during your workout, you know the drill.

Workout Motivation for Tricks and Tips to stay Motivated!

Stop and get to a restroom. Stretch before and after. Limber up your body by slowly warming up. After your exercise session, take time to cool down with minutes of stretching. Another trick: choose a mat position near a beefy piece of equipment that you can grab onto. It makes getting onto the floor and back up again much easier. Class work. The best programs for flexibility and balance include yoga, tai chi, and Pilates.

They are taught at many gyms. Try each one and see what you like best. Inform your instructor. Whether you are taking a yoga or Pilates class, it may help to let your instructor know about your multiple sclerosis. He or she likely will have ways your modify poses and exercises to better suit your ability. I like to choose a spot near a wall—or better yet, a corner so I can grab two walls! Break out the walking aids. Exercising causes your body to produce heat and heat exacerbates symptoms.

For many of us with MS, that means walking may get a little more challenging. It makes no sense to work out trying to stay healthy if you fall and bust your hip because you were too vain to use a cane or a walker. You absolutely do not want to be put out of commission for months, so if you need a walking aide, use the darn thing. Or wheelchair.

The gym I frequent is rather large, so I go in with a pair of forearm crutches and my wheelchair. I roll to go from the parking lot to the fitness area, and then use my crutches indoors where the distances are closer. And the wheelchair is a nice backup to have when I need to make a quick beeline to the, ahem, facilities. Seek support.

Exercise machines that offer support, like upright or recumbent bikes, tend to be more comfortable and safer to use especially if you have balance and coordination issues than those machines that require your full body weight like treadmills. That said, weight-bearing exercises help improve balance and prevent osteoporosis, a common complication of MS, so try to mix them in.

Mix it up. If you do just one cardio exercise or stick to just a few weight machines, you could create muscle imbalance. Keep changing your program to keep your body on its toes and your motivation at its peak. Amp up the cardio. An easy trick to maximize your aerobic work is to limit your time between exercises to maintain a higher heart rate. Right after pumping up your biceps, jump to triceps. Drink frequently. Cold water does two things brilliantly. First, it hydrates you, which is important when you are sweating off liquids. Second, researchers have found that people with MS can exercise longer and harder when they take frequent drinks of icy beverages.

Put the phone down. That ding is not that important. That Facebook update telling people you are exercising is not that important. That perfect song is not that important. Exception: if Nickelback comes on, gah, skip that song immediately. Go longer by going shorter. Then take a break after 10 minutes and do a seated punching routine for a minute or two. Then pedal again for a few minutes, rest the legs, and do your best Ali. Repeat until you get your full time on the bike, plus all the extra cardio of air boxing. Get wet. The best part about exercising in the pool is that you can work your body in so many different ways.

Swim laps, participate in water aerobics, or get creative and invent your own ways to get your body moving throw a Nerf ball and then run after it, toss it against a wall and play catch with yourself. Seek pool temps of degrees.


Some pools can get over 90 degrees, which will do your MS no favors and ramp up symptoms. Pools tend to be coolest in the early morning. Use the bathroom first, really. That said, there is an average of 8 gallons of pee in a public pool, so, uh, yeah. Count to 30 or longer. If your body is anything like mine, my leg strength wanes after doing reps of leg weights or doing cardio leg work. Give your legs a chance to recover before popping up to the next machine to lower the risk of falling.

Someone wants to work in? Scout a path. If you are a bit wobbly on your feet, before you start walking from one piece of equipment to another, scout a clear path ahead of you and look for grab points so you can catch yourself if you start to teeter.