Avoid Common Baseball Injuries


When we think of contact sports, baseball and softball don’t typically come to mind. However, throughout the course of practice and games, players are subject to a wide variety of injuries, such as pulled muscles, strained joints, twisted ankles, and even broken bones. Here are some of the most common baseball injuries and how you can help avoid them.

The Most Common Baseball Injuries

The most common injuries in baseball and softball are joint related – elbows, shoulders, and knees. And the position you play is also a contributor. For instance, a pitcher may be more likely to injure an elbow or shoulder, but a catcher is more likely to injure a knee. The most common baseball injuries include:

Rotator Cuff Tears: The rotator cuff is a network of 4 muscles / tendons that keep your arm in your shoulder socket. This joint also happens to have the most range-of-motion of any joint in your body. Over time these tendons wear down and eventually result in a tear. This is why pitchers are often limited in the number of games they pitch and how many pitches they throw.

UCL Injuries: The ulnar collateral ligament is a stabilizer in your elbow and gets injured with repetitive throwing motions.

Knee Injuries (ACL and MCL): Running bases is a recipe for knee disaster. A sudden stop while sprinting, landing on a flexed knee, sliding into base, or twisting a knee after planting a foot – all of these can cause serious knee injuries.

Muscle sprains and strains are also common baseball injuries and can usually be treated with rest, ice, compression and elevation. And both pitching and batting can put pressure on the lower back. This can develop into a condition call spondylolysis, which is a fracture to one of the vertebrae.

The Worst Baseball Injuries

Some of the worst baseball injuries are accidental and can keep a player off the field for an entire season or in some extreme cases the player may never play baseball again. These injuries tend to be broken bones and/or multiple concussions.

Fielding collisions: Two (or more) players going for the same ball can be disastrous. With their eyes on the ball, they may not see the impending collision and run full speed into one another.
Hitting the wall: There’s a lot of glory when you make a great catch but try and avoid running into the outfield wall or infield fence. Not much glory in going to the emergency room. Fortunately, most youth baseball fields have padding on the fences to avoid injury.

Getting hit with a pitch: Sure, it was an “accident!” We’d like to think so in youth baseball, but regardless of the intent, getting hit with a pitch is painful and potentially deadly.

Tommy John: This is a UCL injury that requires the dreaded “Tommy John” surgery. Often, pitchers will never recover from this kind of surgery, effectively ending their careers.

Some of the worst baseball injuries can be avoided by wearing protective gear and making sure you’re aware of the other players around you. And if you crowd home plate when you’re batting, you’re just inviting a pitcher to throw it closer to you than you may want. Play smart and play fair, and you shouldn’t have to worry about these kinds of injuries.

Exercises to Avoid Shoulder Injury

Aside from accidental injuries, there’s a lot you can do to avoid injuries related to the regular play of the game. The right kind of exercises can focus on the muscle groups you use most in baseball. Since your shoulder is one of the easiest joints to injure, we’ll show you some exercises that can help keep it strong, stable, and flexible. We prefer isometric shoulder exercises, because they’re zero impact and you can do them anywhere, anytime. These exercises are best done with the Activ5 strength training device.

Front Shoulder Raise

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • With your right arm bent 90 degrees, extend your elbow straight from your body. Your forearm should be directly in front of your chest
  • Place your left palm on top of your right elbow. Both arms will be bent 90 degrees
  • Press your right arm up into your left palm
  • Keep your arms parallel to the ground

Repeat with your left arm.

Shoulder External Rotation

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side to 90 degrees
  • Reach your right arm over and place your right palm on the outside of your left forearm
  • Press your palm against your forearm, squeezing both shoulders and upper back

Repeat with your right arm.

Shoulder Press

Isometric Shoulder Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side, fist up, about shoulder level
  • Place your right palm on top of your left fist, keeping your right arm at 90 degrees
  • Squeeze your left should muscles as you press your fist into your palm

Repeat on the right side.

Hold each isometric exercise for as long as you can. Rest for a minute. Then repeat two or three times.

French Tricep Press

isometric tricep exercises

  • Bend and lift your left elbow to eye level
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place your right palm over your left fist
  • Press your left fist and right palm together, as you squeeze your shoulder muscles

Repeat with your right arm.

Avoid Baseball Injuries with Activ5

Whether you prefer baseball or softball, you risk getting injured whenever you play. The best way to avoid common baseball injuries is to stretch and warm up before playing, being aware of the other players on the field, and wearing protective equipment. And since fatigue is a key factor in baseball injuries, make sure you have a regular workout routine that strengthens muscles, increases flexibility, and improves endurance.

To help you in your training and workout routine, we recommend the Activ5 portable training device and coaching app. Activ5 has over 100 gym-based exercises that can improve your batting, pitching, throwing and base-running. Activ5 makes workouts fun, tracks your progress on a sophisticated smartphone app, and even functions as a game controller. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers are using it!

Isometric Arm Exercises: Activ5 Simple Daily Workout Series Part 2


The Simple Workout Series – Isometric Arm Exercises

Welcome to Part 2 of the Simple Daily Workout series where we will show you isometric arm exercises that will tone and strengthen your arms. Whether your goal is to get more cut for the beach or just lose that dreaded arm flab, the Activ5 isometric arm workout will help you see results faster than ever.  Get ready to “curl-up” with Activ5!

The Ultimate Arm Workout – Isometric Bicep Exercises

Be honest… next to losing a few inches off your waist, having nice muscle definition in your arms makes your feel pretty good about yourself.  That’s probably why arm exercises are often more popular than others because you tend to see results almost immediately and increases in your strength and stamina more quickly. From the bench press to curls to dips to presses, the Activ5 isometric fitness device can replicate almost any kind of arm exercise, only as an isometric arm workout. Let’s start with exercises that target biceps.

Bicep Curls

This is the foundation of bicep exercises, the basic arm curl. Do this exercise while seated.

Isometric Bicep Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 in your left palm
  • Lean forward at the waist and place your left elbow on the inside of your left knee
  • Place your right palm on top of Activ5
  • Press Activ5 with the heels of your palms
  • Keep both elbows bent at 90 degrees
  • Keep your right elbow above your right knee

Switch and repeat with your right arm.

Hammer Curls

A simple twist of the wrist and making a fist targets a different part of your bicep with this curl.

Isometric Bicep Exercises

  • Bend your left elbow by your side at 90 degrees
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place Activ5 on top of your left fist with your right palm
  • Squeeze your left bicep as you press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm
  • Keep both elbow bent at 8

Repeat on your right side.

Left Hook

This is a combination exercise that works your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.

Bicep Exercises

  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Bend and bring your left elbow up, keep your forearm parallel to the ground
  • Position Activ5 between your right palm and your left fist
  • Keep both arms parallel to the floor
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm

Repeat on your right side.

The Ultimate Arm Workout – Isometric Triceps Exercises

Often overlooked, triceps exercises can help get rid of your arm flaps, but also aid in other endurance workouts like running and swimming.

Single Arm Chest Press

Shoulder injuries due to improper bench press technique are some of the most common weight lifting injuries. This is our version of the bench press and saves your shoulders from overdoing it.

isometric tricep exercises

  • Extend your left arm to the side with your elbow bent at 90 degrees
  • Place Activ5 with your right hand in front of your left fist
  • Press your left fist into Activ5, while squeezing your chest
  • Keep both elbows bent at 90-degrees, with your arms parallel to the floor

Repeat with your right arm.

French Triceps Press

This classic triceps exercise also gives you a shoulder workout too.

isometric tricep exercises

  • Bend and lift your left elbow to eye level
  • Make a fist with your left hand
  • Place Activ5 on the bottom of your left fist with your right palm
  • Press Activ5 with your left fist and right palm, as you squeeze your shoulder muscles
  • Keep your back straight and pull your shoulders back

Repeat on the right side.

Side Bend Press

While this may not seem like a traditional triceps exercise, is works the same muscle groups as the dip.

Isometric elbow exercises

  • Place Activ5 on your desk in front of your left arm
  • Place your left palm on Activ5
  • Bend sideways slightly to the left
  • Push down on Activ5 with the heel of your palm, using your triceps and oblique muscles

Repeat on your right side.

Standing Chest Fly

The chest fly is a gym favorite and works your core as well as your triceps and biceps.

isometric tricep exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer positions with your arms stretched out in front of you
  • Straighten your back and pull shoulders back
  • Press Activ5 between the heels of your palms into and squeeze your chest muscles
  • Keep both feet firmly on the ground

Zen Chest Press

If you’ve done all of the previous isometric arm exercises, you may need to go to your “zen” place. So here’s the perfect exercise for you!

arm exercises

  • Hold Activ5 between both hands in prayer position with your elbows out, bent at 90 degrees
  • Lift your hands, so your palms are just above eye level
  • Press Activ5 with both heels of your palms by squeezing your chest muscles

The Ultimate Bicep / Triceps Exercise

Here’s one to grow on, as they say. This variation of the curl works both your biceps and your triceps equally by simply extending the curl in front of your body.

Opposing Bicep & Tricep Press

Here’s one to grow on, as they say. This variation of the curl works both your biceps and your triceps equally by simply extending the curl in front of your body.

Isometric Arm Exercises

  • Hold Activ5 in your left palm
  • Bend your left elbow at 90 degrees
  • Place your right palm on top of Activ5
  • Press Activ5 with the heels of both palms
  • Keep both arms bent at a 90-degree angle

Using Activ5 for the Best Arm Workouts

You just completed one of the most effective isometric arm workouts you can find, and it’s something you can do at home or on the road. Forget going to the gym or packing travel weights. Activ5 is the best isometric workout device you can find.  It’s portable, quick, and easy to use, so you can squeeze in short, full-body, low-impact workouts throughout your day.

Next, the Activ5 workout series focuses on isometric shoulder exercises. This series is the best isometric workout available and will strengthen and tighten your body, giving you the results you want faster than you thought possible. But it only works with the Activ5 portable fitness device and smartphone app. If you don’t have one yet, get one and get started!

Reduce Low Back Pain with Quick Isometric Back Exercises


How to Reduce Low Back Pain with Quick Isometric Workouts

Low back pain is an affliction that is linked to weakened core muscles and musculoskeletal integrity in and around the spinal column. A variety of diagnoses including arthritis, spinal stenosis and endometriosis, cause the conditions leading to low back pain.  An extensive 2014 study suggested that isometric back exercise aids those suffering from low back pain to build core stability for a better quality of life.

Accessible and convenient, quick isometric back exercises and workouts build core muscles and increase vitality. It is ideal for people recovering from back injuries, those who suffer from low back pain, and for busy professionals who spend a lot of time sitting. If your schedule doesn’t allow for long workouts, there is a simple solution that will set you on a track to improving your quality of life.

Moreover, recent innovations in the exercise tech sector have revolutionized isometric exercise in such a way that you can engage in fun, quick workouts while monitoring your activity and documenting your progress.

Self-administer Physical Therapy

Broken bones, strained ligaments and sprained joints all require healing time. During this period, tissue in and around the injury is subject to atrophy. Isometrics can build muscle strength without the discomfort of high-impact activities like running and weight lifting. For example, low back pain from a herniated disc means that the region needs to be eased back into condition. With a doctor’s approval, you can expedite the process with quick workouts that engage the lower back muscles for intervals ranging from five to sixty seconds.

For example, isometric Yoga poses, including the Locust, the Bird-Dog, and the Superman, reduce low back pain. Yes, these are all forms of isometric back exercises! The muscle contraction should be intense enough to be felt but not so much that it causes pain. Repeat these exercises several times throughout the week to gradually build muscle strength. 

Stabilize for Back Pain Relief

The musculoskeletal advantages of isometric exercise also improves core stabilization, which reduces stress on the lower back. Low back pain is often the result of atrophied muscles from an overly sedentary lifestyle.  A recently published study demonstrates that isometric exercise is an excellent solution while providing additional benefits. A panel of 39 female subjects suffering from lower back pain underwent a four-week workout program, resulting in unanimous reports of reduced pain and increased vitality. What’s more, the health improvements lasted for nine months after the official exercise program ended. Quick isometric workouts builds muscle strength around your core, leading to an improved quality of life.

Reduce Low Back Pain from Sitting Too Much

Recent medical research has revealed that regularly sitting down for extended periods contributes to bad posture and low back pain. If sitting for long periods is unavoidable in your job, you don’t have to take it sitting down, so to speak. While at the wheel, behind a desk, or at a computer screen, you can perform isometrics without disrupting your routine. These include abdominal and pelvic floor contractions, among other exercises.  Additionally, as exercising increases circulation, you also benefit from improved mental clarity and enhanced energy.

isometric exercises for lumbar spineIsometric Back Exercises

It can be tough to find appropriate back exercises that help you to become more flexible and strengthen your muscles, without causing injury. Particularly if you a;ready have pre-existing back conditions. But, when you try the isometric back exercises that we have sourced for you through the Activ5 app, it’s a whole new world of opportunity. From lat pull-downs to seated rows, you can use the principles of isometric exercise for back strength.

The Isometric Revolution

Activbody has innovated a way for those interested in isometrics to experience it in a fun, engaging and connected way. The Activ5 device is an isometric exercise device that connects your movements with a smartphone app.  It coaches you through quick workouts while tracking and measuring your levels and progress. With Activ5 as your coach, you can build muscle strength, reduce low back pain, and enjoy an enhanced quality of life.

Sources:

https://draxe.com/isometric-exercises/

http://ptjournal.apta.org/content/85/7/676

http://www.dynamicpt.com/library_treatments_56/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/sitting/faq-20058005

https://www.zvab.com/9780990606109/0990606104/plp

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/may/25/health/la-he-dont-sit-20130525

http://www.cheatsheet.com/health-fitness/6-exercises-you-can-do-while-sitting-at-your-desk.html/?a=viewall

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258252724_Effects_of_Stabilization_Exercises_on_Health-Related_Quality_of_Life_in_Women_With_Chronic_Low_Back_Pain

http://www.healthline.com/symptom/low-back-pain

http://www.livestrong.com/article/106461-isometric-exercises-lower-back/

http://www.dianelee.ca/article-training-deep-core-muscles.php

Isometric Exercise Benefits: Can Isometrics Help You Quit Smoking?


Isometric Benefits: Can Isometrics Help You Quit Smoking?

If you’re among the nearly 70 percent of U.S. adult smokers trying to give up smoking [1], you’re probably well aware of the benefits. Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk of lung cancer drops 30-50 percent [2], and just one year of not smoking decreases your risk of coronary heart disease by half [3]. While these health benefits and others make a compelling case, it’s not as simple as just quitting cigarettes.

Smoking-cessation aids like nicotine-replacement products, prescription medications, counseling and behavioral therapies [4] can increase the likelihood of success. Even so, cravings and withdrawal symptoms make breaking the smoking habit feel like an impossible challenge. Surprisingly, one practice that can help you to part ways with cigarettes may be one you don’t expect: exercise.

Exercise and Smoking Cessation

A study by the University of Exeter has added weight to the claims that exercise can assist efforts to quit smoking. The research used fMRI (functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging) scans to show how physical activity results in changes in brain processing.  In fact, these changes can reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms [5]. Although further study is needed, researchers believe exercise curbs cravings by boosting your mood and/or shifting your blood flow.

Although eliminating cigarettes has a clear benefit, a regular exercise plan can be difficult to incorporate into a busy life. In addition, those new to exercise will have an especially hard time finding the right workout plan that will reduce cravings and fit their schedule. That’s where isometric exercise fits in.

A Study on Isometric Benefits

Another study of the relationship between smoking cessation and exercise concluded that isometric exercise, in particular, was found to reduce the desire to smoke. Furthermore, just 10 minutes of isometric exercises, which involve contractions of specific muscles, measurably lessened cravings and withdrawal symptoms in the study’s participants [6].

There are many advantages to using isometric exercise to curb cravings. These exercises don’t require a long time commitment to complete, making them easy to fit into a busy schedule. They can also be done at any time, at any location, so isometrics are the perfect solution to avoid boredom and deal with cravings throughout your day.

Activ5 and Isometric Benefits

One easy way to introduce isometric exercise into your daily routine and smoking cessation strategy is with the Activ5 device and mobile app. Designed for those short on time and seeking convenient exercises on-the-go, the Activ5 program can help you remain physical and reduce smoking urges. Activ5 coaches you through five-minute workouts that not only help curb urges, but also tone and strengthen your muscles.

Activ5 provides quick bursts of exercise to keep you on track. It also maintains the convenience of isometric exercise, as you can use Activ5 to stay active anytime and anywhere.

To learn more about isometric exercise benefits from the Activ5 portable fitness device, you can watch our videos.  Also, you can get more tips on staying active on the ActivBody blog.

Sources:

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/mmwrs/byyear/2011/mm6044a2/intro.htm

[2] https://www.cancer.gov/types/lung/patient/lung-prevention-pdq

[3] http://www.who.int/tobacco/quitting/benefits/en/

[4] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK63952/

[5] https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210092738.htm

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19563567

5 Steps to Incorporate Yoga into Your Life


More and more people are turning to yoga to become healthier both physically and mentally. Yoga can have many health benefits including improving your muscle strength and tone, increasing your flexibility, protecting your spine and increasing your energy, vitality and mindfulness. 

Of course, starting and maintaining a new habit or routine can be difficult. Behavioral scientists suggest that the best way to create new habits is to start small and build on success.  To help you get started we’ve pulled together five different ways you can incorporate yoga into your daily life right now.

Yoga Stretches at the Office

You’ve probably never imagined lifting weights at the office, but you can easily do yoga while at work. In fact, you don’t even have to bring a yoga mat along. You can perform Chaturanga, plank, upward-facing dog and several other yoga poses right at your office desk.

Take a Community Class

When you hear the words “community class,” you likely envision nighttime lectures focused on gaining a technical degree. As it turns out, though, there are also yoga community classes offered nationally.

Many studios, in fact, offer at least one free weekly class. Once you get involved and meet other participants, you’ll be more inclined to make it a normal part of your routine, if for nothing more than the social benefits.

Practice Yogic Breaths

If you’ve ever been to a yoga class, you’ve undoubtedly heard the words “breathe consciously.” While yogic poses may be the most recognizable aspect of yoga, conscious breathing is also central to the practice.

Whether sitting at your desk or waiting in line at a convenience store, consciously controlling your breathing and taking deep breaths will calm your body and mind. This will also help you master the breathing techniques used with poses regardless of where you are.

Work with What You Have

Everyone wants to feel like they’re progressing in their yogic journey by constantly learning and incorporating new poses. Don’t let this drive slow you down. If you only have five minutes, refrain from wasting that time looking up “how-tos.” Use the ones you’ve already memorized and learn new yoga poses when you have more time.

Download Apps that Incorporate Yoga

Mobile apps  will allow you to incorporate yoga into your new routine at a moment’s notice. Instead of downloading an app that only focuses on yoga, however, get a more rounded app.

The Activ5 app, for instance, has five-minute yoga-themed workouts that track your results and personalize your routine. It also uses gamification, so you’re more likely to develop a new routine just to stay competitive. Activ5 also provides other five-minute isometric workouts, which will help you to build a more comprehensive fitness routine.

From increased flexibility to improved cardiovascular health, yoga comes with numerous benefits. Once you start incorporating yoga into your life, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get involved in the first place.

Top 10 Reasons You Need Strength Training


 

75% of US adults don’t achieve the American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control minimum recommendation of 2-3 days of strength training per week. Here are 10 reasons you should engage in strength training every week.

Increases Lean Muscle Mass

There are two types of resistance-based strength training: Isometric Resistance (contracting muscles against non-moving object, such as planking  on floor) and Isotonic (contracting muscles through range of motion, such as bench press with weights). Both increase lean muscle mass, making you stronger and more toned.

Burn More Calories

More calories are used to make and maintain muscle than fat. Building muscle can boost your metabolism by as much as 15%.

Increases Resting Metabolic Rate

Muscle tissue is the most metabolically active tissue in your body, and the breakdown of old protein and synthesis of new protein in your muscles accounts for roughly 1/5 of your resting metabolic rate, according to Len Kravitz, Ph.D. for the University of New Mexico.

Protects Bones

Whether you are a man or a woman, you begin to lose ~1% of your bone density every year. “One of the best ways to stop, prevent, and even reverse bone and muscle loss is to add strength training to your workouts,” advises Troy Tuttle, MS, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

Prevents Injuries

An often overlooked effect of strength training is its benefits for injury prevention. Resistance training helps strengthen muscle and tendons while increasing the flexibility of the ligaments, decreasing the risk of one becoming strained or torn.

Develops Better Body Mechanics

Strength training aids in balance, coordination and posture. If you have poor flexibility and balance, strength training can reduce your risk of falling by as much as 40%, a crucial benefit, especially as you get older.

Boost Energy and Feel Happy

Strength training will elevate your level of endorphins (natural opiates produced by the brain), which will make you feel great. This is why people who strength train often refer to getting an “endorphin rush.”

Maintains Long Term Weight Loss

A recent study revealed that women who followed a weight-training routine 3 times a week increased the amount of calories burned in normal daily activity (in addition to those burned during exercise), helping them to maintain their current weight.

Fight Disease

Not only does strength training help you get toned, as you get in shape you also see improvements in your resting metabolic rate, glucose metabolism, blood pressure, insulin resistance and gastrointestinal transit time. Resistance training can improve stamina, and even help to prevent cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

Sleep Better & Be Smarter!

Clinical studies have linked strength training to improved sleep, reduced depression and even better cognitive abilities.

Sources:

http://www.livestrong.com/article/258368-how-to-raise-your-thermogenic-basal-metabolic-rate/

http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness/add-strength-training-to-your-workout.aspx

http://athleticlab.com/strength-training-to-prevent-injury-by-morgan-pillsbury/

http://stretchcoach.com/articles/strength-training/

Why Over-Exercising Can Damage Your Health


The idea of “over-exercising” seems counterintuitive, when mantras like “no pain, no gain” encourage the idea of physical fitness as torture rather than an investment in your health. And while most of us don’t get nearly enough exercise, it’s also possible to exercise too much or in a way that puts unhealthy stresses on your body.

The Link Between Stress Hormones, Over-Exercising, and Your Health

The Journal of the American College of Cardiology published a study on the effects of jogging and long-term mortality rates and coronary health. The study confirms what you probably already know. Getting regular exercise is much better for your health and longevity than a sedentary lifestyle (aka “the new smoking”). 

However, this study also illustrated that when it comes to exercising and your health, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Surprisingly, physically intensive workouts actually have a ceiling for increased heart health and longevity. At a certain point, exercising harder for longer periods of time reaps no benefits and can actually be harmful to your health.

Some of the study’s main highlights include:

  • Light to moderate joggers generally live longer than their sedentary, non-jogging counterparts.
  • On the flip side, the mortality rates for strenuous joggers were found to be statistically similar to that of sedentary non-joggers.

The study found a type of sweet spot for running that consisted of no more than three days a week of activity, for a total of one to three hours at a slow to moderate pace.

How Cortisol Affects Your Body and Ability to Effectively Lose (and Keep Off) Weight

If you’ve ever noticed that, despite how much you exercise, you can’t seem to lose weight, you are not crazy. You are also not alone. If you’re like many people, you’ve probably blamed yourself, wondering if you’re not pushing yourself “hard enough.” Science has found that in reality, the opposite is true.

The answer lies in a stress hormone known as cortisol. Known as the “fight or flight” hormone, the adrenal gland releases cortisol as a response to stress. Consistently elevated levels of cortisol have been linked to stubborn belly fat, making it harder to effectively burn fat. In addition to storing fat, cortisol has also been linked to other potentially serious health risks such as:

  • Inflammation
  • High blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Immune problems
  • Cognitive problems
  • Depression

So what does exercise have to do with the fight or flight hormone? Scientists and researchers believe that the body interprets intensive physical activity above the ideal threshold for health and weight loss as stress. This triggers the production of cortisol, creating a dangerous cycle that makes it difficult to lose weight.

The Benefits of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

High-intensity interval training consists of short bursts of high-intensity exercise alternated with periods of rest and recovery. HIIT also incorporates weight and strength training,  shown to be an essential part of fat burning and weight loss, but often overlooked in favor of intensive cardio. Typical HIIT workouts often include:

  • Sprinting
  • Short Cycling “Sprints”
  • Jumping rope
  • Weight training (with weights and/or body weight exercises)

HIIT workouts provide for a well-rounded and effective full-body workout, making it a great option. In addition to being short and easy to incorporate into a busy schedule, they can be tailored to activities that you actually enjoy. All too often, people sabotage their exercise and wellness plans by focusing on activities they don’t enjoy, leading to ineffective, unsustainable workouts. For example, how many times have you made yourself miserable on a treadmill, when you really enjoy hiking in the outdoors?

HIIT workouts allow you to start with small, manageable steps that you can incorporate into your schedule when convenient, making it more likely to turn your workouts into a regular habit.

Most importantly, in addition to being more convenient, HIIT workouts effectively offer health and wellness benefits, such as:

  • Burning more fat and calories in a shorter amount of time.
  • Continuing to burn fat after your workout by increasing your metabolic rate.
  • Building and strengthening muscle.
  • Reducing heart rate and blood pressure.

Smarter Workouts

Are you ready to get started with a safe and sustainable exercise and strength training routine that fits into your lifestyle and fitness goals? The Activ5 app is the world’s first portable smart strength training device. Activ5 exercises are short – you can complete an Activ5 workout in just five minutes. The device and app adapt the exercises to your fitness level, so each workout is challenging but achievable. The Activ5 coaches you through more than 100 five-minute workouts, measures your strength, and gamifies workouts for a fun, interactive experience. Activ5 makes strength training convenient, fast, fun and effective. Visit www.activ5.com to learn more.

Sources:

http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-hiit#section7

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-1

http://time.com/3683118/working-out-not-losing-weight/?xid=time_readnext

http://www.onlinejacc.org/content/65/5/411?ijkey=1daf5c212b8f3b61b4d66aabc898186bff82facb&keyt

The Benefits of Isometric Exercise and Portable Fitness Devices


For those who wish to continue their weight training while on the move, it can be difficult without the aid of a home gym. But with discipline and the use of a fitness device to track your heart rate and calories burned, the simplicity of location allows for an established routine. In turn, you can more effectively generate muscle growth. If you find yourself in this situation or working from home, you should consider isometric exercises because you can do them anywhere.

Isometric Exercise Tips

Gym memberships provide weight machines for the most common muscle exercises: concentric and eccentric contractions. With these, muscles shorten through lifting loads or lengthen through lowering loads. The third contraction, isometric, occurs through steady muscle tension (think the “planking” challenge). Without challenging the muscle to change its length, the body can activate multiple muscle groups simultaneously. Two-thirds of a person’s maximum effort performed for six second sets can increase strength by 5% over a period of ten weeks.

You can practice isometric exercise by using your body weight in exercises such as the squat, lunge, and push-up. Instead of completing a full-rep for these, pause halfway through your range of motion. This will work your agonist muscles as well as your antagonist muscles.

With a bench press and squat, you don’t need a load on a bar for your variations. Set the movement of the pins to the mid-range, and where a sticking point may occur, place a second set of pins. For power racks, set the pins at the next height. This exercise is also useful for a deadlift. Simply place more weight than usual for your one-rep and hold for six to eight seconds.

For additional convenience and coaching, consider a portable fitness device. It can track your progress and provide the necessary resistance to increase your strength and endurance.

No Matter Your Sport, You Must Do Squats


Squats Are for Everyone!

Too many people repeat the same workouts every day and neglect squats. If your goal is to lose weight, for example, you might think, “I want to lose weight, so I should just burn calories with cardio. I don’t need to do strength exercises like squats.” You would be wrong! Squatting is one of the single best things you can do for your body. Squats help burn fat, build strength, and improve overall fitness. There are several different ways to squat, including isometric squats, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Regardless of the reason you’re exercising, your routine must include squats.

All athletes benefit from squats

As an athlete, it’s easy to focus too much on one type of exercise, especially if you’re a specialized athlete like a sprinter or a swimmer. The truth is, though, that exercises like squats promote overall fitness and can actually improve your performance in sport-specific movements. The Poliquin Group found that squatting enhanced a variety of abilities in athletes, including sprint speed and vertical jump height. Simply put, squats make your body work better!

Squats make your body stronger and healthier

Squatting is an excellent way to protect yourself from injuries and osteoporosis because it strengthens muscles and improves bone density. One study showed that adding multiple squat workouts per week made women stronger and significantly raised their bone mineral content. Squats make you a better athlete and prolong your athletic career by making you healthier!

Experiment with Isometric Squats

People are normally familiar with squats done eccentrically and concentrically by repeating the motions of squatting the body down and pushing it back up. Isometric squats consist of getting into the squatting position and holding it. They are a great variation to regular squats as they are better at building muscular endurance and they don’t put as much stress on your joints. Isometric squats also help athletes overcome sticking points, and improves body control.

Try Activ5 Squats for a fun, easy and effective squat workout!

Activbody recently developed the Activ5, which is a connected device that pairs with smartphone apps to coach you through full body workouts. The Activ5 measures strength, tracks progress and makes exercise more fun and enjoyable. The Activ5 Squat is an isometric exercise which makes use of static positions to amplify athleticism. Activ5 Squats have been found to register increased EMG muscle activity when compared to traditional squats and may be a great addition to your routine!

Our first Activ5 Multiplayer Game: ActivSumo


Great news! You can now enjoy even more games with your Activ5! If you enjoy playing multiplayer video games and competing with your friends and family, we have some great news. We just launched ActivSumo, a game which allows you to compete in a sumo match against a digital or real life opponent.

Best of all ActivSumo is our first multiplayer game! In ActivSumo, as in the classic Japanese sport, opponents struggle to push each other out of the ring. Just as in real life, victory requires a combination of strength and dexterity.

ActivSumo brings a whole new dimension to the “one-on-one fight” genre, because you must use your muscle force to beat your opponent so each “match” is a real workout. You can play Sumo with anyone  – even if they’re much stronger or weaker than you. This is because the game incorporates Activ5’s calibration technology to create a level playing field for both players.

Now for the first time you can compete against your friends and really put your strength to the test! Of course, you’ll need two Activ5 devices to play in multiplayer mode. Just connect both devices via Bluetooth and you will be ready to start competing.

Download the new Sumo game from the Games section in your Activ5 app or by simply searching “Activ5 Sumo” in the App or Play Store.

We hope you enjoy this new addition! Comment below and let us know if you have other game ideas you like to see added to the Activ5 game library!