4 Great Movements to Start Your Fitness Engine

May 18, 2016

Fitness. Workouts. Weight loss. Nutrition….CHANGE.  Most people know when their body is not well, and when they need to start paying more attention to their lifestyle habits and their overall health. However, it is often a daunting task to begin a fitness routine, and with information overload on what to do, how much to do of it , it makes perfect sense that anyone new to exercise might stop before they even begin! As owner of Portland TEAM Fitness, I want to help anyone with the interest in being healthier GET STARTED.

Portland TEAM Fitness is honored to be included in the 2016 American Heart Associations Heart and Stroke walk this coming weekend, and in the spirit of health and getting people moving, we have put together 4 great movements to do along the walk course to help people start their fitness engines. Remember, change happens in small steps. Begin to move more, and make healthier choices with meals. Sleep a bit more, drink a little more water and you will be WELL on your way to feeling better than you did when you started!

Movement #1 CORE The movements shown in this video are great for flexibility and core strength. These days, the core is considered pretty much your entire torso, hips, glutes shoulder: anything that isn’t your arms or legs (but your gluts are considered part of your core…) So a pretty large region of the body. Our core helps stabilize our spine in daily movements such as lifting and bending, twisting and turning. Start with cats and dogs to get your spine moving. Look up to the sky, and then round your back in the other direction. Inhale as you look up, and exhale as you round. Complete 10 of these. After cats and dogs bring you back parallel to the ground and gently draw your abs towards your spine. From here lift your right arm off the ground and left leg off the ground. Try and keep limbs parallel to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds and then lower down and repeat on the other side. After doing 5 of these on each side, come into a plank position. Plank can be completed on hands and toes, hands elevated on a surface, forearms and knees or forearms and toes. Start with 3 sets of 15 seconds and see if you can build up to one minute!

AHA Movements: Lower Body A great movement to strengthen the muscles in the lower body, AND to increase the heart rate because you are working larger muscles in the body, is the squat. To do a squat, you sit down on to an object and then stand back up. You can do this without the assistance of an object in back of you, OR you can help yourself learn the movement by starting with a fairly elevated object and as you feel your range of motion and strength increase you can start to lower the height to which you are sitting. Be sure that the tips of your toes don’t go past your knees, and that you are sitting your weight back into your heels. As you stand press your heels down, make sure your knees are in line with your toes and not collapsing in, and squeeze your gluts. See if you can work up to completing one minute of squats and note how many you can do in the minute!

AHA Movements BALANCE: While balancing doesn’t get your heart-rate up like running, dancing, or walking, our ability to balance is EXTREMELY important, since we do it daily in small doses (walking has us going from one leg to the other…just quickly!) Our balance decreases over time, so it is REALLY important to help prevent injury to work on balance. It is also nice to slow down our breath and focus on breathing for stress reduction as well. To do this exercise place your hands in front of your heart. Take a breath in and then out. Ground into one of your feet and lift the other leg off the ground. Hold for 5 seconds or up to 10 seconds, and then place the foot down and change to the other side. Go slowly and methodically, being aware of your breath. To make this easier, stand near the wall and gently hold on if needed. To make this more challenging open your body into a star position then come back to the knee raise and go to the other side. Complete this for one minute alternating the 10 seconds hold on each side.

AHA Movements: BURPEE Most trainers can’t help but include the burpee in a GREAT way to get a total body workout if you are short on time, and looking to be very efficient in your training. Essentially, the burpee is a squat to a push up back to a squat. It can be performed in a very dynamic way that involves jumping, OR it can be completed at a slower pace stepping back into the plank/push up portion of the movement, and then using knees for the push up. Remember that you can also elevate the surface on which your hands go, eliminate the push up, OR practice a wall, or counter height push up to start to increase upper body strength. Complete 1 minute of burpees or any variation. How many can you do?

We hope that you enjoy working on these 4 fantastic movements, and are motivated and inspired to better your own health and the health and lifestyles of those around you! Together we can truly achieve more!