Cardio Rules!

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The 3 Commandments Of Cardio Training

By Raymond Onyango.

When it comes to cardiovascular exercise, there are two types of people The enthusiasts, who can go on all day and the disinclined, those who are averse to any form of cardiovascular exercise and would rather have a tooth extracted without anesthesia than spend 20 minutes on a treadmill. Whichever the case, the fact of the matter is that we all need to accumulate at least 20 to 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise every single day. There is a growing mountain of evidence to support the fact that engaging regularly in cardiovascular exercise is a major form of insurance against virtually all lifestyle related diseases including, hypertension, diabetes and cancer, but of even greater interest to the majority of us is the fact maintaining a lifestyle that crates ample opportunities for engaging in cardiovascular exercise, is still the most effective way to shed unwanted weight and enhance your physical appeal.

By definition, an exercise qualifies to be referred to as cardiovascular if it if it has the following 3 attributes

a. It should be sustained over a period of 15 minutes or more. If it’s too short in duration it does not really tax your cardiovascular system enough to convey many of the life saving benefits of sustained cardio.

b. It should be rhythmic involving a consistent pattern of lower or upper body movement as is the case with activities like running, cycling, swimming, squash, soccer and many others.

c. It should elevate your heart rate and increase your rate of breathing. A majority of the benefits of cardiovascular exercise can be ascribed to these two factors and the adaptations they inspire in the body’s vital organs including the heart and lungs.

Unfortunately there are an overwhelming number of myths about cardiovascular exercise that persist out there, clouding our judgment and often times leading us astray, which is why I set about today to outline to you, the facts you need to know about cardiovascular exercise, so that you can get the most out of it.

Warm Up

Number 1 on your list is common sense; warm up! Warming up means preparing your body for the workout ahead. Physiologically warming up allows your circulatory system to pump oxygen rich blood to your working muscles, preparing them for the increased demands of exercise. Specialized glands in your joints step up the production of a special lubrication fluid, known as synovial fluid – reducing friction in the joints and protecting them from injury. Your tendons and ligaments become more elastic as your body temperature rises with the warm up improving your range of motion – cold muscles don’t absorb impact or stain as well as warm muscles.

On a mental level, the warm up allows you o leave the office and life behind and concentrate on the moment. It gives you the opportunity size up your potential on that particular day and decide weather to up the tempo or go easy. All around the warm up helps you to prepare both mentally and physically for exercise and reduces the chance for injury – so why would you fight with that? My own personal rule is that your warm up must take up a quarter of the total time you dedicate to a cardio workout. For instance a 20-minute workout should include a mandatory 5-minute substantive warm up. You will exercise injury free for years!

Hit your Cruising Altitude

The entire purpose of the warm up is to get you up to your cruising altitude. Your cruising altitude also known, as the aerobic zone is the point at which your heart rate is approximately 65 to 85% of its theoretical maximum. Did I loose you there? Lets go over that again, on a scale of 0 to 10, with zero being the amount of effort you expend while sitting on the couch watching telly, and 10 being the amount of effort you expend when running for your life, after a close encounter with a street thug on a dark night you want to work somewhere between level 6 and 8. You should be able to answer to your name but you shouldn’t find it possible to hold a conversation.

At this point a number of things happen, Your ejection fraction – the amount of blood your heart pumps out with each beat increases, getting much needed oxygen to hard working muscles. Your heart rate – the number of times your heart beats in a minute rises from an average of 72 beats per minute (bpm) to as high as 150 bpm or more depending on your age and the intensity of the exercise. Given that your heart is a muscle and responds to exercise like any other muscle, elevating you heart rate in this manner makes the heart stronger and more efficient at its job – the trade off for you is that you live longer and probably sidestep heart disease altogether.

All this activity needs to be fueled, and the body’s preferred source of fuel in this aerobic zone is fat or adipose tissue. This is the link between weight loss and cardiovascular exercise. At least half of your entire cardio workout should be spent within this zone. Your body only has a limited supply on energy stored in the muscles, and this is exhausted almost as soon as you begin to workout, so the body must generate more to keep you going. It does this by breaking down fat tissue in the presence of oxygen to yield the energy that keeps you moving. This is also the reason why your rate of breathing as mentioned earlier, is an important indicator of just how hard you are actually working; breathing faster during exercise is a sign that your body’s metabolism is revving up, consuming calories and planting you firmly on the path to leanness.

If you are pushing hard enough, you should work up a light sweat fairly easily. Sweating is a good thing, not because it melts away the fat (other wise, you would loose weight just sitting in the traffic on a hot afternoon) but because it is a great indicator of the speed of your metabolism. Heat is one of the by products of cellular metabolism, as your body converts fat to energy – heat is created. Some of this heat helps to catalyze the process but most of it has to be let go of, other wise the body would overheat to dangerous levels. You body accomplishes this by producing sweat, which cools down your body as it evaporates from your skin. The short of it; if you are working hard enough to sweat consistently for at least 50% of your cardio workout, you are definitely burning calories!

Prepare For Landing

Until quite recently cooling down was thought to be very instrumental in helping to flush out the lactic that accumulates in our muscles, but new research seems to suggest that cooling down has little if any effect on reducing muscle soreness after a workout. It seems that when it comes to fighting that next ay stiffness, a gradual warm up is actually the most powerful tool at your disposal. However, the one thing the scientific community agrees about cool downs is the fact that they encourage blood flow out of the muscles and allow the heart rate to come down quicker than it would if you just topped exercising immediately. When the body stops moving suddenly after intense exercise, blood can pool in the extremities especially the legs causing dizziness, nausea and even fainting – a gradual cool down will help you avoid this.

A slow reduction of pace over 5 to 10 minutes will do the trick. You may also want to consider an effective addition to your post workout routine in the form of a thoroughly stretching. Stretching has been shown to boost muscle recovery and help prevent stiffness after exercise, and it is best done when you are still warm and your muscles are in their most pliable state. You might also want to grab a carbohydrate rich snack within no more than 20-30 minutes after the end of your workout to help you replenish your blood sugar levels and avoid hypoglycemia – or low blood sugar. Carbohydrates eaten within a short period after exercise are readily synthesized to replace glycogen stores in your muscles and boost your immune system recovery.

Have a cardio intensive week will you!

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Try This At Home!

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A Devastatingly Effective Weight Free Workout.

By Raymond Onyango

Ladies and Gentlemen: It is said,  ‘The proof of the pudding is in the eating’ and here at the beginning of the year, we have the perfect chance of doing something our about our physical appearance rather than just merely talking about it. Of course doing something means that when you get off your screen right after reading this, you will have a simple, effective plan of action that you can put into place immediately, without leaving room for further procrastination. This plan is composed of simple but highly effective exercises that need little, if any equipment to perform and which can guarantee you even better results than some fancy health club membership if you actually get around to doing them.

This ‘plan’ is built around a training concept I fundamentally believe in’ because I have see it work consistently, on heaps of occasions – Circuit Training. Circuits are great because they are complete; they give you strength and cardio in one neat package that’s time efficient, genuinely effective and infinitely exciting. With circuits boredom is not an option, the quick reaction time will keep all of your senses engaged and your attention riveted, the quick movement will get your heart racing like a lawnmower and the never ending variety will satisfy your need for challenge and sustain your interest – it doesn’t get better than this!

Question is what makes a good circuit? For a circuit to be effective, it needs first and foremost, to be balanced. Balance means that upper body exercises must be matched by lower body exercises to preserve proportions and antagonist muscle groups, must be trained in opposition with agonist muscle groups in order to maintain harmony in the interaction of the body’s various muscle groups. When these principles are ignored, two things are likely to happen, in the former scenario, you will end up lopsided, like so many men who only train their upper bodies but have spindly legs; in the latter scenario one group of muscles, say the abs, can overpower the lower back, throwing your spine out of whack and inviting numerous unpleasant aches and pains not to mention medical bills and loss of productive man hours.

Secondly, when you are working with your body weight, you need to be creative! To this end there are two things you need to keep in mind – one is ‘progression’ and the other is ‘leverage’. Lets start with progression – progression simply means planning a growth curve that allows your to introduce new challenges to your body, by building on skill you have already learnt. Through carefully administered progression you can coach your self from say, the total inability to do a single pull up, to being able to polish off a dozen of them in perfect form. It also gives you a measure of your progress outside of the traditional yardsticks of weight on the scale and inches on the tape; it is the qualitative counterpart to these quantitative measuring tools. Further to this it adds the key element of variety, which as you well know, is the spice of life. Variety sustains interest and interest sustains adherence, which in turn guarantees results, and so the wheel turns…

As for leverage, a simple shift in your body position can make a tremendous difference to the level of difficulty an exercise presents. Learning to use the right kind of leverage will allow you to make simple exercises more challenging and difficult exercises more attainable by teaching your to position your body in the most helpful position for you to achieve your goals.

All right enough with the talking, lets get down to business. Here are the exercises, the breakdown of which muscle groups they influence and a host of ideas to either upgrade or down grade your level of difficulty.

Here goes:

Nail the Push up

Muscles Targeted: Chest  (pectorals), Triceps (triceps brachii) and shoulders (deltoids) as prime movers, but the entire core and lower body is hugely involved in maintaining your stability in this position.

Get It Right: The push up is a common exercise but remarkably few people get the form right. For the right effect, your body should form a straight line, running from your shoulders though the hips and the knees, right down to your ankles. For this to happen the core muscles must be engaged and active the whole time. Your hands should be placed slightly outside of shoulder width apart, to help you maximize your range of movement, and protect your elbows by shifting your weight into the chest, shoulders and triceps, the three prime movers in this classic exercise.

Keeping your elbows tracking in a straight line and in alignment to your wrists, lower your body over a 4 second count until your chest is just an inch or two off the floor, pause for 2 seconds and power up slowly taking no less than 4 seconds to return to full extension. These may prove to be the most difficult ten seconds you have experienced in a long time and some of the most effective. Aim for 10 to 15 reps at one go, it if comes to easy try the harder version but if you find this too intimidating, try its baby cousin – the kneeling push up.

Criss Cross To Firm Abs

Muscles Targeted: External abdominal obliques, internal abdominal obliques, rectus abdominis (the famous six- pack) and the tranvese abdominis – basically every single abdominal muscle group.

Get It Right: This exercise incorporates all the movements, save for one (extension – bending backwards) that you would ever make from your core, flexion (bending forwards) rotation (turning sideways) and stabilization (maintaining your posture).   To do it right lie on your back with your knees up above you at a 90 degree angle, same for your hips – I call this the 90/90 position. Interlock the fingers while picking your elbows up over your head and bringing the palms to rest at the back of your head.
Pay close attention here act strictly from your abdominal muscles and use those to peel your spine up off the floor from the head up until the shoulder blades are an inch or so away from the floor – it is important that you do not pull on your neck at this point or you can be sure you are not getting it right yet.
Done correctly the effect of this will be to activate your abs and protect your lower back in the same motion by nestling the latter firmly against the floor. Now think of drawing the right knee to the left elbow, while extending the opposite pair of limbs away from each other, switch sides and aim for 12 to 15 reps. you can make this exercise more demanding or less so simple by regulating the distance to which you extend your legs. Make sure to breath in one way and to breath out the other way.

Squat To Improve Your Rear View.

Muscles Targeted: Buttocks (gluteus maximus and medius), Thighs (Quardiceps) Hamstrings (biceps femoris), calves (gastocnemuous) in the lower body, but the core muscles of the abdomen also play a huge role in maintaining stability.

Get It Right: If you are not squatting, you can’t claim to be training and that’s that. This is the single most important lower body exercise of them all and for good reason. They help you build quality muscle and are associated with a surge of muscle building testosterone in men – women need not worry about building Arnold Schwarzenegger type muscle, you typically have just one tenth of the level of testosterone your typical male has, but that does not in any way keep you from benefiting hugely from the muscle toning effect of this exercise. They build you overall strength like no other leg exercise in ways, which help your life on a practical day-to-day basis. They help you gain mobility and get rid of many a niggling back pain, because you need flexibility to squat right and equally as importantly they reinforce some of your most crucial weight bearing joints such as the knees, hips and lower back which will be a boon for you in your middle age when every one around you is succumbing to knee troubles.

Begin with your feet hip width apart or slightly wider and the entire sole of both feet firmly planted on the ground. You want to check that your body’s main weights namely the head, chest and hips fall in a long straight line. Now go ahead and break that line up by sending your knees forwards tracking over the toes and the hips backwards and downwards in the direction of the heels. Try and do this while balancing a light exercise book on your head to help you stay upright, the moment you feel drop the book or feel the need to pick your heels up off the floor you will be sure you are at the limits of your range of motion, you should then begin to make your way back up. Keep the reps slow and consistent and aim for at lest 20 to 25 good ones at one go.

Pull Your Own Weight With The Pull Up

Muscles Targeted: Lats (latissumus dorsi), mid back (rhomboids), traps (trapezius) shoulders (deltoids) Biceps (biceps branchii), forearms (branchioradialis) but again the entire lower body and core musculature are invoked otherwise you find yourself swinging wildly and out of control.

Get It Right: The pull up comes in several varieties depending on the grip employed. A supinated or underhand grip with the palms facing inwards may be the easiest place to start. Grip an overhead bar with your arms slightly inside of shoulder width apart. Engage your rhomboids and lats, using those to propel your chest up towards the bar taking your time to get there so as to eliminate momentum. As soon as you get there make your way back down in an equally slow and controlled fashion. Aim for 10 of these at ago, but do not be disappointed if you only make five. If you can’t make a single rep, try and modified pull up illustrated in the picture below. If you blow these away with ease try the pronated pull up or overhand grip.

Get your Core As Solid As A Plank

Muscles Targeted: Erector spinae, External abdominal obliques, internal abdominal obliques, rectus abdominis and the tranvese abdominis – basically every single core muscle group.

Get It Right:  Drop into the push up position on the floor with your weight resting on your elbows, which should be spaced about shoulder width apart. Draw the belly button up to the spine to engage the abs until you have a line running from the shoulder to the hip, maintain this line as you pick your knees off the floor, one after the other and bring your entire bodyweight to rest in the abdomen.  Keep this up for anywhere between 10 seconds to a whole minute, with respect to your physical ability. You could add a whole new level of difficulty to this by simply picking one leg off the floor or otherwise attempting the side plank variation.

Lunge Into Perfection

Muscles Targeted: Lunges place the most emphasis on the gluteus (buttocks) and hamstrings, but in reality they engage virtually every single muscle in the body. Moreover, lunges mimic everyday activities such as climbing stairs or the very act of walking it self and therefore perfecting this exercise has a huge carryover effect into your daily life and one that is impossible for us to ignore.

Get It Right: Start with the stationery lunge, which places the least amount of impact on your knee joints and does not require much coordination. It is simple; begin with the left knee on the floor, toes dug into the floor and your right foot ahead of you with the knee tracking directly over the toes. Keep the head and chest aligned above the hips, while picking that left knee off the floor and bringing it up to full extension. Lower gently and try again for 10 to 15 reps if you have it in you. Change sides and repeat.  To up the ante try your hand at walking lunges, in the illustration above.

Tie It All Together

The idea behind circuit training is to keep your heart rate
elevated consistently, so that your muscle toning workout can double as a cardio one too, killing tow birds with a single stone and saving you time. This will only be possible if you maintain strict form and control, in the execution of these exercises, and limit your self to no more than a 30 to 45 second break between exercises. Attempt the circuit at least 3 times. With only 6 exercises and just about 2 minutes to execute each, the entire program would take you no more than 45 minutes, making allowance for a five minute warm up with a skipping rope and a 5 minute cool down stretch. Allow for a day’s rest in between circuits, on this rest day you can focus of a cardiovascular exercise such as walking or running or maybe even playing your favorite game- squash, Frisbee, rugby, volleyball or what ever else it may be. In one months time we will review our progress and update this program.

Have a busy week will you!

Be Your Best Self

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Your Roadmap To Fitness In 2012

By Raymond Onyango.

I love this time of year. I love the sense of opportunity it brings. It’s a great chance to wipe the slate clean, to make a new beginning. It is an excellent time of year to put into action a strategy that will see you end the year fitter, healthier and looking better than you do now.  Of course many of us have already made big promises to ourselves this January. We have promised to loose weight and get into shape, we’ve promised ourselves we will eat better this year, get up early in the morning and take a walk around the block if not a jog. But the ugly truth us that we did this last year too, and maybe the year before…and we failed! Some of us failed because we didn’t put our plans into action. We simply talked about it, harbored good intentions but never made the effort, and an even greater number of us failed because we didn’t have a plan in the first place!

Not having a plan is, essentially setting yourself up for failure. My experience as a personal trainer has taught me that the great majority gym users are highly resistant to the idea of planning our fitness activities according to a schedule. Most will refuse to submit to an evaluation and of the few that do, a very small handful actually go ahead and make use of the programs I write. In fact most of the time as I write out my fitness programs I am aware that they will hardly be followed if at all; that the client will just as soon cast the program aside and prefer to work out in a totally random pattern. ‘I got bored’, is answer I get the most when I ask why? Another popular one is, ‘ I just don’t have the time’. What is clear from these answers is that the majority of us fail because we are both insufficiently stimulated and interested in exercise to get a regular rhythm up and going, or other wise way too ambitious in the scope of what we are trying to achieve in a very short time frame.

I have also come to learn there are two important things that are hugely motivating as far as adherence to an exercise program is concerned.The first of these is that you can only transform your body by choosing activities you really enjoy. Forget what you have heard about ‘no pain, no gain’. Truth is that most of us will bolt away from a fitness program the moment we perceive it to be painful or punishing. The other thing is that effort and progress are not always inversely proportional to each other. Many of us, I daresay the majority of us, put in lots of effort, but have very little to show for it. Many of the fellows who spend 3 hours at the gym are not exactly in great shape.

You could of course change all that this year, through this simple, cost efficient and hugely interesting approach to fitness, incorporating just 3 simple concepts that guarantee you a better body by the end of this year.

Here they are:

Cardio

The human body is a cardiovascular machine, the heart is the engine of the whole thing, and it runs the show, literally! That is why Cardiac arrest or heart attacks claim so many victims every year. If your heart stopped beating for just 3 minutes, you are almost certain to suffer serious brain damage, just 5 or 6 minutes and certain death is on the cards. But the heart can also kill you slowly, lack of Physical activity and poor nutritional habits often combine to impair heart function, courtesy of elevated cholesterol levels that coat our arteries with plaque, creating hypertension and precipitating strokes, heart attacks and metabolic diseases like diabetes.

The culprit is the kind of fat which settles around the waistline, also known as Visceral fat. Of the two types of body fat Subcutaneous, meaning under the skin, is the easiest to get rid of and most visible. Women in particular experience this as cellulite in the hips, thighs and under arms. IT may be a major cause of concern from a purely cosmetic viewpoint but it hold far fewer dangers for us than the other kind of fat; Visceral fat, which can hide even in slim individuals tucked around internal organs, such as the liver, from where it easily finds its way up to your heart…sending you to an early grave.

Men are statistically more likely than women to suffer heart disease precisely because they mostly carry their extra weight around the waist. In women of postmenopausal age incidence of heart disease and metabolic disorders increase when the body’s estrogen production shuts down. In younger women a link has been established between obesity and growing incidence of breast cancer. Anyway you look at it, the truth is that you cannot afford to miss out on cardiovascular exercise, the question is how to do it in a sustainable manner.

My number one suggestion is to pick an activity and build your fitness program around it. It doesn’t matter what it is, golf, soccer, jogging, basketball, squash. The only qualification is that you must enjoy it sufficiently enough to stay interested and stimulated. Most of us stop playing games right after high school or collage; right about the same time we begin to put on excess weight around the waistline. Games are fun because you move for movement’s sake, you are not counting calories or observing your heart rate, you are simply running after the ball because it feels good to score.  Games also fulfill many of our needs as well, we make good friends on the neighborhood soccer team or the squash ladder at the gym; and because so many people hold us accountable if we don’t show up, we are more likely to stay consistent. It works!

My number two suggestion is, ‘ get yourself an ipod, if you don’t already have one’. The ipod has revolutionized the way the world keeps fit; thanks to the power it gives its users to create individualized play lists. I have play lists on my Ipod for every conceivable situation, some that pick me up when I am under motivated, others I use for speed runs others yet for slow hills. In my spin classes’ participants will gladly make it up the most brutal hills if the music is great because outside of play, music is the one other powerful force that motivates human beings to move. An ipod can make you enjoy running, it can turn a stationery bike on the gym floor into something alive and happening, because good music is fun, and its motivating.

Strength Training

From the very moment our ancestors got off their front paws and took to walking on two feet, the human race has been locked in a constant struggle with a silent but ever present force called gravity. The entire human machine is held upright and manually operated thanks to a mind-boggling number of skeletal muscles all of which function together to maintain posture and generate movement. Skeletal muscles operate on a ‘use it or loose it’ principle. Its simple, if you use your muscles actively on a regular basis they remain strong, defined and up to the task of holding you upright and facilitating your movement. However in a world where many of us spend the better part of our day seated behind a desk, muscle wasting begins in our early 30’s. Each year on average we loose one pound of muscle and gain much more in fat, thanks to our sedentary lives. In a few years, back pain is almost a given, with up to 90 percent of all men experiencing some kind of back pain in their lifetimes, while aches and pains in the weight bearing joints of the knee and hips tend to affect women more often caused by a combination of uncontrolled weight gain and poor footwear choices such as high heels among other reasons. Along with your muscles, your bones also get more brittle and thin as you age. With better medical care human life spans are increasing, which means many of us are living long beyond the age our bones we initially designed to work. Bone fractures sustained from taking a fall are one of the leading causes of injury in individuals over the age of 65; many of them also have to cope with degenerative bone diseases such as arthritis and its precursor osteoporosis.

Strength training on a regular basis from an early age can greatly improve your quality of life in your senior years…and make no mistake, you will get old someday! The simplest movements are often the most effective. Push ups, Lunges, Plank, Cycling, Squats, Dips, pull ups..None of these exercises require any special equipment. The burglar proofing grill in your house will do for pull ups, you can do push ups on the floor, a dinning char will come in handy for the dips while the squats and lunges need no equipment save for your own bodyweight.

Talking of bodyweight, I am a dyed in the wool believer in bodyweight training also known as calisthenics. I have always maintained that my clients have no business getting on an isotonic gym machine or lifting weights until they have some mastery over their own body weight. The reasoning behind this is informed by belief that what you do in the gym should serve you well outside the gym. A good program needs to help you live your life better. It should definitely make you look better, but is should also improve your health and boost your energy levels on the job. For this reason you need to perform exercises that challenge you to remain aware of what your body is doing, so that you can learn from there how to correct your posture or lift a load carefully without overloading your spine, or sling a travel bag on your shoulder without throwing out your lower back.

Do not listen to anyone who tells you that you cannot build muscle tone from bodyweight exercises alone…even the worlds most elite military cadets are still trained primarily through basic body weight exercises such as pull ups and pushups, and we you can see for yourself how fit they are! The beauty of a bodyweight based strength exercise program is that you can take it everywhere with you. For instance you can do it at home in your bedroom or on the roadside after your jog anywhere you can find some space you will be able to workout, and that will help you stay true. If you need some ideas to get you started look at great websites such as crossfit.com, suddenly the whole world can become your playground!

Stretch

Your entire body, the whole of it is clothed in a translucent, tough sheath of connective tissue known as the myofascial sheath. Its helps muscles glide over each other during movement and also gives shape and structure to the muscles themselves. As we grow older however this tissue looses it pliability and alignment, restricting physical movement, binding muscles and nerves and creating pain in countless number of ways.

In yoga philosophy we hold that the body is the ultimate receptacle and store of all emotional energy, both positive and negative. It explains why your body language often speaks loudly even when your words don’t. Your good friends will tell when you have had a bad day from your drooping shoulders and defeated posture. On a good day you will walk taller, posture has a lot to do with confidence! Whatever the case regular stretching is the only way to gently realign your muscle fibers, release trapped nerves and keep all manner of body aches at bay.

One ingredient you need to stretch safely and successfully is heat. Never attempt to stretch cold muscles like I see so many people do in the gym. Heat is what enables your muscles to stretch safely by increasing their pliability, much the same way a glass blower manipulates molten glass into countless fascinating shapes – heat is the core ingredient. On a practical level this means you should save your deep stretching for the end of your work out during cardiovascular exercise or do it in between the sets of your strength exercise while your muscles are at their warmest.

The other thing that really influences a good stretch is your breathing. Each successful stretch should held for a period of time accompanied by at least 5 to 10 deep slow breaths. Breathing in this manner clams down your nervous system and inhibits the involvement of specialized nerve cells known as muscle spindles, which are embedded deep in your muscle belly and act to trigger muscular contractions. If you watch a man dozing on a chair, you will see him involuntarily jerk his head up every time the muscles spindles kick in.

The Golgi tendon organ on the other hand, which is also composed of specialized nerve cells embedded in your muscles does the opposite, by acting to get your muscles to relax and stretch further so as to avoid injury. By regulating your breathing you can get much deeper into any stretch without running the risk of injury. Stretching is something we should aim to do everyday or at a minimum, 3 times a week. Try a yoga class; once or twice a week this year and it will have a profound effect on your mobility.

Next week we begin to look at how we can take these concepts and turn them into reality! Until then, have an inspired week, will you!