Friday, May 20, 2016

The 5 Worst Stretching Mistakes You May be Making


  1. You bounce: Bouncing at the end of your stretch (when done vigorously enough) can cause the muscle and tendon to tear. This "ballistic" stretching can trigger a reaction within the muscle that prevents it from relaxing and ends up defeating the purpose of the stretch. Instead of bouncing, focus on gradually elongating and holding the stretch for 10-15 seconds, release and repeat.
  2. You stretch before warming up: This is one of the most common stretching mistakes that people make. Contrary to popular belief, stretching is not "warming up". You should always warm up before you stretch because stretching cold muscles increases your chance of injury. Take 5-10 minutes to get a sweat worked up through exercise, stretch for 3-4 minutes, then re-engage in exercise.
  3. You are in the wrong position/have incorrect form: If you don't feel the stretch where you are expecting to feel it, you may be doing it wrong. Improper body positioning can cause you to miss the muscle you are aiming to stretch. Use a free hand to feel the muscle you are stretching to ensure that it is being engaged. 
  4. You stretch too hard: Similar to bouncing, pushing a stretch too hard can also cause a tear in the muscle. You should feel a little bit uncomfortable during a stretch but it should never be painful. If you still feel tight, repeat the stretch multiple times, making sure to stay within your range of motion. Additionally, if you do have an injury, stretching can make it worse. If that is the case and the pain doesn't go away in a few days, it would be wise to consult your doctor.
  5. Stretching? What's that?!: Perhaps the second most common stretching mistake: not stretching at all. Let's face it, life is busy and often times we are trying to exercise within a specific time frame. Stretching can easily get overlooked. Although this may not be harmful initially, over time you will notice the negative effects of not stretching your muscles. Flexibility is a key component of overall health and stretching is one critical tool in increasing both flexibility and strength. Remember to take 3-4 minutes after warming up your muscles to stretch and don't forget to do it again after you've exercised. It truly will be to your benefit!

Monday, April 25, 2016

STAFF PICK: Vinyasa Flow Yoga by Chelsea Vespa


There are so many different styles of yoga out there. I always recommend people try out at least a few different types of classes to find the one that resonates/feels best. I've heard people say, "I tried a yoga and it just wasn't for me." But in reality, it was just that style of yoga that may not be for you. Find the one you love! I truly believe there's something for everybody. 

My 300 hour advanced teacher training with Clara Roberts-Oss focused on the many facets of vinyasa. There's so much more to yoga than just the poses, or "asana." And there's always more to learn! For this training I traveled to Thailand for a month of study, it was life-changing! 

Vinyasa is one of my favorite styles of yoga both to practice and to teach. I love the rhythm and freedom of moving fluidly with the breath. I find it’s the fastest way to get out of my head and into my body (and get a sweat on!) The best part about vinyasa is that no two classes are alike. It's different every time so it keeps you on your toes! 

Join us Wednesday mornings at 10, at the Better Living Fitness Center, for our new Vinyasa Flow Yoga class. Or check out the other classes we offer here.


Friday, April 15, 2016

3 Ways to Make Running More Enjoyable



Running. A word that often stirs up two polar opposite emotions: love or hate. Whether you wake up every morning excited for a long run, or would rather do anything but run, we can all agree that there are definite benefits from this particular exercise. So, how can we make it more enjoyable? Here are 3 simple ways.

         1. Take Walk Breaks: Yes, you can still be a runner and take walk breaks! A recent study posted in the New York Times found that regular walking intervals throughout a run can actually help you maintain the same pace as if you ran the entire way, while being gentler on your body. Walk breaks can also provide the mental break you need to help you divide the longer distance into smaller, more conquerable pieces.

        2. Try Intervals: If you’ve ever caught yourself thinking, “When will this be over?!”, this strategy may be for you! With intervals, you can get the same cardio benefits in less time. If you’re running outside, measure your intervals in telephone poles: Every five or so poles that you pass, pick up the pace from one pole to the next. If you’re running inside, run two minutes at a moderate pace on the treadmill, then turn up the speed for one minute before returning to your previous pace. Repeat. And don’t forget your music! Picking a good playlist to accompany your training certainly helps the time pass more quickly and be more fun.

    3. Exercise with a Friend: If you need extra accountability, pair up with a friend. Before getting started, make sure that you’re on the same page about your goals for a run in order to ensure that it’s beneficial for both of you. Not only will you be kept accountable by your friend, you’ll also have good company, making the time (miles) fly by!

Feeling any better about that word, “running”? Join the Better Living Walk/Run group as we train for the Dexter/Ann Arbor 5K. Find out more information about the Recliner Athlete Program here.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Looking for the PERFECT workout between your Personal Training Sessions?


"You'll get a great workout whether you're just starting out, already an athlete, or even if you're recovering from injury!" 
 ~Dawn, Better Living Fitness Center member

Do you ever find yourself lost in the gym between your personal training sessions? We have the perfect solution to keep you safe, give you a great workout and take the thinking out of your next gym visit. Let a Better Living trainer guide you through a Full-Body FIT routine to help you get to your health and fitness goals faster.

Full-Body FIT is a full-body strength training, cardio and flexibility routine with customization to your fitness level. It's included FREE once or twice weekly, depending on your membership level. Here is what Dawn, a loyal member, has to say about this class:

"I've been attending Full-Body FIT since the classes started in January. Mark is a fantastic trainer who knows how to keep the energy flowing! Best yet, Mark customizes the routine to fit people with different levels of fitness and ability. You'll get a great workout whether you're just starting out, already an athlete, or even if you're recovering from an injury. I'm so happy with my results, I've upgraded my membership!"


If you'd like to try Full-Body FIT for FREE, call 734.747.0123 to schedule your first session or stop by the Better Living Fitness Center for a tour. We are at 834B Phoenix Dr. (access from Varsity on the north side of Ellsworth Rd.).