by Angie Miller
Going Through Some Changes?
Here’s a little inspiration to help push you up…
Last week my blog was, “How to Challenge Your Fear of Change, “ and it was no coincidence that I chose that topic because we’re heading for some big changes in my house. One being that last week I sent my “baby” off to college. With that comes the realization that it is up to me to create my new journey, just as she is creating hers. The morning after she left I was tempted to stay in bed and allow myself some time to reflect, maybe to shed some tears and yearn for the past, but I knew what I had to do. I got up and taught my Pilates class, followed by a run, and finally I allowed myself some time to be alone in my thoughts. By that time my head was clear and I felt like I was in a healthier place. That was key; because I was then able to focus on the new chapter she’s starting in her book of life, and all the possibilities that lie ahead for both of us.
Change is good, even if it feels a little rough at first. It’s those times where we are pushed our limits, that we discover our true potential. In light of all this, I decided to focus on one of my favorite fitness moves, one that is sure to push you up and help you make the most of what lies ahead. It’s a multi-muscle, functional exercise that works the chest while toning the arms and strengthening the core. It’s one of my favorite exercises because it’s a bodyweight move requiring no extra equipment. It’s just you against gravity, and that’s the foundation of all training. Bodyweight exercises improve our form and posture and increase our overall body awareness.
Pushups are one of the most versatile exercises; and the best part is that anyone can do them, from a novice to an advanced exerciser. If you’re new to pushups you can start by doing them against the wall. From there you can perform them on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and your knees below your hips. After you’ve mastered that, you can try them in a modified or full plank position, depending on your arm, shoulder, and core strength. There are endless options for pushups, and no matter how you incorporate them into your weekly routine I guarantee that pushups deliver results. It won’t take long before you’ll see amazing definition in your arms, your core will feel stronger, and you’ll walk taller.
Step One: Begin in plank position, either on your knees or on your toes. Place your hands a little wider than shoulder distance apart. Keep your hips level and your torso long and extended. Your head should be in line with your spine.
Step Two: Bend at your elbows and lower your body toward the ground, ideally until your chest is a few inches from the floor. Make sure that your head is still an extension of your spine so you don't allow it to drop. Inhale as you go down.Tip: Pretend you have a belt around your waist so your center will stay strong.
You want to avoid letting your hips drop or your lower back sway.
Step Three: Once you have lowered your body as far as you can while still maintaining good form, slowly press back up, exhaling as you go. Be sure to keep your body in one straight line all throughout the movement.
Now that you have the 411 on pushups, feel free to drop and give me 20.
Check back next week for more fitness tips, ideas, and information.
Angie Miller, M.S., is a fitness educator, university instructor, and Licensed Professional Counselor who blends her skills and expertise to empower individuals, mentally and physically, and provide them the tools they need to succeed. A veteran group exercise instructor and personal trainer, Angie is the star of acclaimed exercise DVD’s, including the Bedroom Body™ workout. Her passion for progressive education brought her to Northern Illinois University, where she teaches in the Dept. of Kinesiology & Physical Education. Outside of the university, she presents at fitness conventions worldwide and leads industry trainings as an AFAA Certification Specialist and Kettlebell Concepts Master Instructor. Angie writes for fitness journals and digital communities, and blogs for Collage Video. Connect with Angie at: http://www.angiemillerfitness.com