It’s time to reshape the full body workout.
When we think of these types of routines, we usually think of the core, glutes, legs and arms. But if we really want to care about our overall well-being, we need to expand beyond these muscle groups. In fact, there are several areas that we often forget to “exercise” when working out to improve our health, according to experts.
Here are other parts of our body that also need love:
We tend to think of our mind as separate from the rest of our physical health, but it performs a vital function and the brain benefits from the training as much as anything else.
Brain function is known to decline over time, but there are ways to reduce the risk of this happening, explained Rana Mafee, a neurologist in Westchester, Illinois. Although genetics play a role in cognitive function, Mafee said it is “environmental factors such as diet, sleep patterns or chronic stress that slowly eat away at your brain, making you less keen over the years. “.
The good news is much like how regular physical exercise can improve our longevity Regular brain exercise can improve cognition and have lifelong benefits. The idea is to use exercise to strengthen the longevity of neuroplasticity, which, in short, is the brain’s ability to adapt and master new skills, as well as store memories and information.
“A lack of mental exercise will gradually reduce the effectiveness of neurotransmitters in the brain, making it more difficult to concentrate, create and maintain lasting memories or even perform daily tasks,” said Mafee.
Adults should focus on keeping their brains active. We can do this in a number of ways, from learning a new language to navigating a new city. The key is to challenge our minds. We can also try to acquire another hobby, such as learning to play the piano or a new sport. Mindfulness meditation has also been shown to help with this.
“In addition to healing and repairing cognitive decline, regular brain exercise can improve mental acuity, improve your mood, and improve your overall quality of life,” Mafee said.
Keeping our lungs healthy should be a priority because they carry oxygen from the air we breathe into the bloodstream, according to Alberto L. Rozo, a pulmonary medicine specialist at Northwell Health in New York.
Exercise is necessary for the lungs to perform at their peak performance and since “lung function gradually decreases each year from the age of 35,” said Rozo, it is important to incorporate habits that help increase our lung capacity.
This includes daily aerobic workouts and breathing exercises like diaphragmatic breathing. Lie on your back, placing one hand on your stomach on your belly button and one on your chest. Inhale through your nose for two seconds, feeling the air flow into your abdomen and your stomach out. Then, exhale for two seconds through pursed lips, allowing your stomach to deflate. Repeat several times.
“It is important to exercise the muscles that control wrist function in order to optimize joint strength and stability,” said Joseph A Gil, orthopedic surgeon in Rhode Island.
Paying attention to the wrists is especially important for anyone who plays sports or exercises regularly. A dedicated warm-up that stretches the wrists and forearms could help prevent overuse or injury by “preparing the muscles and tendons to overcome the cumulative stress” that exercise could put on them, Gil said.
Stretch the muscles of the forearm with “wrist extension and flexionIs one of Gil’s favorite techniques for warming up the wrists before training.
To do this, lay your forearm flat on a table, letting your hand and wrist hang over the edge. Slowly bend your wrist, then bring it back up. Repeat several times, then switch to the other side. You can also do this with a small light weight.
He noted that you may want to consult a trainer to work on the range of motion of the wrist before weightlifting, which “places high strain on the tendons and ligaments around the wrist,” or yoga, ” which requires an extreme position of the wrist which predisposes participants to ligament injuries. “
The five bones located just behind the toes, called the metatarsals, support much of our body weight and require special attention to stay in good working order. According to Bruce Pinker, a foot and ankle surgeon in New York City, the metatarsal area has a kind of “spring quality, which helps create the arch of the foot.” This flexibility requires maintenance to avoid injury and burnout.
Pinker said that by neglecting regular foot stretches, “you risk your feet to tighten or contract, which can lead to pain. And since many people experience some level of stiffness in their feet when they first wake up, Pinker also feels “it’s important to stretch or exercise the tops of the feet upon waking up.”
To do this, take a page from a dancer’s playbook: Kelby Brown, a dance and fitness trainer in New York City, suggested trying point and foot flex progressions to strengthen and build muscle. flexibility in your toes and ankles. Start by sitting with your back against a wall and stretch your arms out alongside your body, “with the tip of your middle finger slightly sunk into the floor,” he said.
Next, prepare your core and hold your legs firmly together. Point your toes from this point and count to four. Then flex your feet and count to four. Do it a few times. In the stretched position, your feet should “look like a cashew nut or a banana,” Brown said.
According to Melissa Wood-Tepperberg, a certified yoga and Pilates instructor, you can also multitask and maximize the flexibility of your feet with a standing quad stretch. While this move is primarily designed to stretch the front of the legs, “you can draw attention to your foot by using your palm to pull the toes to stretch the top of your foot,” she said.
“Shift all of your weight onto your standing foot and grab the opposite foot with the matching hand,” she explained. Holding a stable table or surface can help you maintain your balance. Then place your palm on your ankle. Flex your foot, then point your toes. After pointing and releasing your toes about 10-20 times, repeat on the other side.
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