Getting older is such a pain, isn’t it? What used to come so easy requires much more effort. Even sleeping now requires effort … what is that about and whyyyyy? Just over three years ago, I found myself at a real crossroad in life. Everything fell apart in one fell swoop, and I wanted to curl up in a hole and disappear. But I was still responsible for two kiddos who have special needs and who require constant care, so retreat wasn’t an option. You’ve heard of flight or fight? I thankfully chose to fight and have been fighting like hell ever since.
You may not be at a major crossroad in your life, but perhaps your waistline is. haha. You can’t really run from your waistline, so maybe it’s time to fight back. Want to lose some of that fat? Decrease the risk of Osteoporosis? Burn more calories? And improve your heart’s health? Then, you better hit the weights and get to lifting. When you’re ready to take that first step toward build muscle, as with anything, it’s best to begin with a simple solid foundation. Three really good tools for your cache are the foam roller, the medicine ball, and Yoga. I’d suggest to begin by spending one month, 30 minutes a day, becoming a student of these three fitness weapons that will assist you in initial steps toward slaying your body.
- Foam Rolling: Do you foam roll before or after a workout? Yes. Both. It only takes a couple minutes of time and is worth every second. Rolling Massagers reduce muscle tension and tightness, reduce soreness, and reduce levels of stress hormones. Some studies say it even fires up your central nervous system, helping to regulate heart rate and blood flow. I don’t know much about the scientific evidence, but I do know how foam rolling has benefited me. I work out hard six days a week, and still run and do yoga on the seventh day. As a result, muscle pain has become my norm. I kept reading about roller massagers, but was a major skeptic until one day I found one on sale and decided to give it a try. Aaaaaaand it works. After rolling, my muscles feel energized and aren’t nearly as sore. As with anything, rolling can be overdone, so I keep it to only a few minutes twice a day. Most rollers are around $30.00, so it’s not much of an investment to add to your fitness arsenal. If you’re looking for a first step, then buy one!
- Medicine Ball: Medicine Balls were used by ancient Greek Athletes and Gladiators, and they’re still around today, so there must be something special about them, right? Absolutely. Not only will you burn calories with the medicine ball, but you’ll build strength, power, balance, and work your core. Abdominal curls, Russian twists, big circles, standing torso twists, woodchoppers, lunge twists, wall sits, chest pushes, hamstring curls, knee crushers, and squat leg raises are all examples of what you can easily do with one simple medicine ball. With three sets of 12 reps, building muscle with these exercises will be no problem. To buy a 6 lb. ball, click here. For an 8 lb. ball, click here.
3. Yoga: Last, but far from least, is Yoga. I cannot say enough about Yoga. It has transformed my life and my body. To build beautiful lean muscles the right way, you need to be physically flexible, and Yoga will definitely improve your flexibility. More than that, however, yoga will also increase your muscle tone, improve your energy, help you maintain a balanced metabolism, improve your circulatory health, produce a gorgeous posture, and as an added benefit, will greatly enhance your mood. Formal Yoga exercise classes can be found at most gyms, but Yoga instruction can also be found on DVDs and at your fingertips on convenient phone apps. I have the Asana Rebel application loaded on my cell phone and use it every day. The most magnificent thing about Yoga is you can jump in at anytime, at any age, and at any level … and grow into it. It’s something you evolve into slowly, but the benefits are almost immediate.As with anything, building muscle takes time, dedication, hard work, and patience. Consistency pays off. If you begin with these three simple building blocks, you’re off to a strong start. Just stick with it, and then slowly incorporate other exercises into your life. Each new challenge will bring a brand new reward.If you ever need any help getting started, and if you live close by, just let me know!~Mel