Archive Monthly Archives: August 2017

Improve Your Tennis and Golf Game with these Strength Training Tips

You’ve got to train for your game.

If you play tennis or golf and want to improve your game, adding some stability and strength training to your fitness program can help you get that edge.

Tennis and golf each involve a lot of rotational movement, especially at the shoulder joint and through the torso. Complex movement patterns place a lot of strain on the stabilizing muscles in those parts of the body. In order to prevent unnecessary injury and gain strength to improve your performance, focus some extra attention on these key muscle groups involved in your game.

The shoulder is made up of a group of four muscles called the rotator cuff. This muscle group stabilizes the shoulder and allows it to move. These muscles need to be worked using light resistance, and properly stretched to avoid common overuse injuries.

Side-Lying External Rotation

    • Lie down on your side.
    • Bend your elbow to 90 degrees and rest the elbow on your side. Your forearm should rest down across your abdomen.
    • Hold a light dumbbell and keep your elbow against your side, then slowly raise the dumbbell toward the ceiling. Stop rotating your arm if you feel strain.
    • Hold the dumbbell up for a few seconds, then return it to the start position with your arm down.
    • Repeat for three sets of 10. Increase reps to 20, after 10 gets too easy.

Lawn Mower Pull

    • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place one end of a resistance band under your foot. Hold the other end with the opposite arm so the band goes diagonally across your body.
    • Keeping your other hand on your hip, bend slightly at the waist (don’t lock your knees) so the hand holding the band is parallel to the opposite knee.
    • As if starting a lawn mower in slow motion, straighten upright while pulling your elbow across your body. Keep your shoulders relaxed and squeeze your shoulder blades together as you stand.
    • Repeat three sets of 10 on each side.

Your core is the powerhouse in tennis and golf. Both games require rotational movement, so adding specific exercises to strengthen the lower back and core can really boost your performance.

Core Focus Obliques

The muscles at the side of your waist are called the internal and external obliques. The obliques are important for stability, especially for movements that involve lateral (sideways) movements.

To activate these muscles, you’ll need to perform exercises that involve side bending or twisting.

Bicycle Abdominal Crunch

    • Lie on your back on the floor. Stretch your legs out straight and clasp your hands behind your head.
    • Raise your legs one at a time so that your thighs are perpendicular to the ground, and bend your knees so your calves are parallel to the ground. Keep your feet together.
    • Contract your abdominal muscles and touch your right elbow to your left knee. At the same time, straighten out your right leg, keeping it several inches off of the floor. Then alternate, bending your right leg and straightening your left similar to the motion you’d make while pedaling a bicycle.
    • Use your abdominal muscles to crunch your body forward so your elbow can reach your knee. Do not pull on your neck. If you can’t quite reach your elbow to your knee, that’s ok.
    • Aim to do 30 seconds of bicycle crunches 3-5 times.

Core Focus QL

The Quadratus lumborum is a deep, stabilizing muscle that connects the upper and lower body. It’s an important muscle for stabilizing the hips and spine, and it also works with the diaphragm to allow deep breathing.

Side Plank

    • Lie on the floor on your side. Place your lower hand on the floor and straighten your arm, raising the top half of your body off the ground. Raise the other arm straight over you or let it rest on your side.
    • Keep your legs straight, resting the lower half of your body on your bottom leg. Raise your hips to hold a side plank position. This will engage most of your core muscles, including your Quadratus lumborum.
    • Hold this position for 45-60 seconds and then repeat on the other side.

Back Focus Stretching

Perform a standing hamstring stretch to help loosen up your hamstring muscles to provide relief from tight lower back muscles.

    • Hold on to a supportive railing or wall. Place your right leg on a slightly raised surface, like a step or a curb.
    • Keep your hips facing forward and your standing knee slightly bent.
    • Slowly bend your left knee until you feel a very mild pulling or stretch on the back of your right thigh. Hold for 20-30 seconds and switch legs.

Back Focus Strength

This exercise engages the muscles in the whole posterior chain, including glutes and hamstrings.

    • Lie on the floor face down, extending your arms and legs as far forward and as far back as possible, while keeping a neutral spine, head and neck position.
    • Engage your core to lift your arms and your legs off the floor. Be sure to have no arch in your lower back. You can achieve this by lifting your arms and legs up only an inch or so.
    • If you have weak muscles, lift one arm and one leg at a time. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat for 4-5 sets.

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Nitric Oxide Minutes

August 23, 2017

I have been sharing #nitricoxideminutes on instagram @dr.louisignarro as I try to make #nitricoxideahouseholdword. It has come to my attention that many who follow me on twitter, Facebook, or my webpage have missed these posts. I am sorry you have missed these fun posts, and I will resend them before we continue the adventure. Here’s […]

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The Best Cardio to Torch Calories

Running is great for burning calories.

If you want to burn a lot of calories, you need the right workout. Try these six workouts to achieve the results you desire.

The number of calories you’ll burn during a workout can fluctuate greatly and is dependent on a variety of factors including your current weight, workout intensity, overall difficulty level, as well as your current fitness level. So, when looking at calories burned for each activity, the actual calories burned can vary greatly for each individual. (The numbers shown below are based on a 200lb individual).

1: Running: 755- 1074 per hour

Running is great for burning calories and requires no equipment so you can easily incorporate it into your fitness routine. Running at a pace of 8mph can burn 1,074 calories, and at slower pace of 5mph can burn 755 calories. You can increase your calorie burn by adding in hills (this is more muscle-building, especially for the butt and hamstrings.) Picking up the pace or extending your run past the one hour will increase the burn. Another way to make running more intense is to do bouts of sprinting with a little rest in between each 10-15 second burst. Training in this interval style can be a lot more fun.

2: Jumping rope: 1074 per hour

Jumping rope is a high impact activity that challenges your body in the same way running does. It’s cardiovascular in nature, but unlike running using a rope requires a little bit of coordination. If you’re lacking in that department you can do the jumping action without the rope, but for one hour that may seem a little crazy. The speed and intensity of the jumping will heavily impact the number of calories you burn, so going fast is the key to maximizing the burn. Also, finding a pace that you can sustain for one hour is tough, so jumping rope in an interval style may be the best approach.

3: Vigorous swimming- moderate paced swimming 892- 528 per hour

Swimming is an amazing, low-impact exercise that can burn a lot of calories. The higher calorie burning strokes are front crawl and butterfly. In order to achieve the higher calorie range with this exercise, you need to be proficient in the water and able to swim vigorously for the entire hour. The breast stroke is more gentle and less demanding on the body so if this is your stroke of choice, consider alternating in a front crawl or swim for a longer duration to maximize your burn.

4. Stair running: 819 per hour

Running stairs is an athletic favorite of mine. Running up and down the stairs is great for muscle building and improving your cardiovascular fitness level. Your speed, number of steps and the height of the steps will all factor in to determining your overall calorie burn. Keeping a faster pace up the stairs and walking down is the safest approach. You can vary your upward speed to increase the intensity level, or if you have the coordination, taking two steps at a time will make your muscles work harder and therefore increase your calorie burn. The more steps you climb overall, the harder your body is working.

5. High impact aerobics 664 per hour

High impact refers to activities where both feet leave the ground, such as jumping jacks, plyometric style hopping movements and some forms of dancing. This form of exercise is often fun and allows for a lot of variety. However, the impact on the joints is not for everyone. This type of exercise can be made more intense by adding in weighted equipment, keeping the intensity level high and doing exercise that specifically works the large muscle groups, such as the glutes, chest and back. This type of training done in a HIIT style, where you do timed work to rest intervals, can increase the overall calorie burn dramatically. However, when you’re working at a high intensity, a shorter, overall workout duration is important. A typical HIIT session will last only 20-30 minutes.

6. Backpacking 637 per hour

Carrying a backpack on a hike is a great form of outdoor exercise, and because you are carrying extra weight, it can help you to build muscular strength. The varied terrain is also great for improving coordination and working the small, stabilizing muscles in the legs and ankles. To burn more calories while backpacking, consider increasing the weight you are carrying, or choose a steeper terrain.

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6 Tips to Maintain Healthy Hair

August 22, 2017

Leave the trimming to the professionals.

Here are some habits you can learn to get the healthiest hair possible.

One thing that people with great looking hair have in common is that they practice healthy hair habits. Having healthy hair takes commitment and it can take time to get it looking its best. But it’s definitely worth the time and effort. Here are some healthy hair habits you can put into practice today:

Avoid Anything Harsh

People with healthy hair tend to be very conscious of what they’re putting on their locks. They rarely use products containing harsh ingredients and look for shampoos, conditioners and styling aids that contain natural ingredients and are clinically tested. Moisturizing and softening ingredients like Aloe vera, olive and macadamia nut oils, and a strengthening ingredient like hydrolyzed wheat protein enzymes are great choices.

Top Tip: Look for sulfate-free products. Sulfates tend to be harsh on both the skin and hair and can actually damage your hair. They can leave it frizzy and dehydrated and compromise your hair color. When you choose sulfate-free, you’re taking a much gentler approach to your hair care regimen.

Shampooing Daily May Not Be Necessary

If you have really thick and curly hair, you don’t need to shampoo as often as someone who has fine hair. You can wait a few days between shampooing. And those with fine hair, or those who are more prone to oily hair conditions, may need to wash every day, or every other day, to get rid of that greasy look. So, determine your hair type and shampoo as needed. Over-shampooing your hair can result in more bad hair days than good. When you do shampoo, it’s important to rinse your hair thoroughly. Any residue left behind can lead to an unwelcome hair do.

Top Tip: To benefit your hair between shampooing days, try using a dry shampoo. Spritz at your roots and comb through. This will help to absorb excess oil and instantly refresh your hair between washings.

Don’t Over-Color

If you color your hair, it’s important to not overdo it, as you may damage it. Be sure to wait at least four to six weeks between coloring sessions if you can. Of course, hair always looks amazing when its freshly colored, but overdoing it can have a counter effect. Your hair colorist will have your best interests at heart, and will be sure to take the gentlest approach with your hair coloring.

Top Tip: Talk to your colorist about styles or techniques that may require less frequent touch-ups. One of my favorite products is colored spray root touch-up. Match your shade and spritz away. It can help extend the time between colorings.

Turn Down the Heat

Between the blow dryer, curling, flat irons and hot curlers, it’s hard to avoid damaging your hair with heat. If you can’t put down the heating devices altogether, then be sure to turn the temperature down. Use your dryer on low heat only. And lower the temperature on your other devices as well. It may take a bit longer to get the job done, but it’s worth it.

Top Tip: Try using a heat-resistant styling spray to help coat your hair strands and protect them from thermal damage. Many will leave your hair with a healthy-looking shine, too.

Trim It Up

Both men and women need to trim their hair regularly. Just by snipping off the frayed ends, you can instantly freshen up your hairstyle. There’s nothing worse than those pesky split ends to kill your look. When your hair grows longer, the cuticle (outer layer) tends to weaken and can break. This leaves the middle layers of your hair strand vulnerable and unprotected. When the hair splits at these weak points, they can travel up. A quick trim will help maintain the shape of your hair and give it a bit more movement.

Top Tip: Leave the trimming to the professionals. There’s an art to it if you want the best results.

Stay Healthy on the Inside

Healthy hair starts on the inside. A balanced diet with adequate protein and plenty of water is essential to looking your best. Make sure your diet includes a sufficient quantity of vitamins C, D and E that deliver antioxidant benefits, as well as biotin.

Top Tip: Take a multivitamin every day.

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Simple Summer Grilling Tips

Fish kabobs are easy to grill.

If you haven’t already, now’s a great time to fire up the grill and make some delicious meals. Grilling is easy, quick, there’s not much to clean up and it’s a fun way to spend time with family and friends. If your grilling experience hasn’t taken you beyond chicken or burgers, maybe this is the time to try something new.

There’s no question that meat and poultry taste great after the barbecue treatment. The trick is to keep the grill temperature moderate. When the heat’s too high, you run the risk of charring the outside of the meat, but undercooking the inside. To solve the problem, you might be tempted to leave meats over high heat for a long time to make sure they’re cooked all the way through, but that can make them tough and dry.

There are a couple of things you can do to cook foods more evenly. When you arrange the charcoal in your grill, keep it off to one side. That way, you’ll have a hot side of the grill that you can use to start the cooking by searing the meat and sealing in the flavor. Then, move the meat to the cooler side of the grill, cover and continue cooking until done.

Another technique that works well with chicken pieces is to partially precook them in the microwave. Remove the skin, then rub the pieces with a bit of olive oil and your favorite seasoning. While your coals are heating up, microwave 4 to 6 pieces at a time on the highest setting for about 10-15 minutes. You don’t want to cook the chicken completely, but just get it heated through so it cooks along the edges. Then, transfer the chicken to your heated grill to finish cooking, and turn the pieces frequently. You’ll reduce your cooking time by about half and your chicken will end up tender and juicy.

Fish is tricky to grill since it tends to flake apart. What works best is to make kabobs with pieces of firm fish like swordfish or tuna, or whole peeled shrimp. You can also grill whole fish or fish filets on a piece of foil or in special fish grilling baskets. Fish cooks quickly, so there’s no need to pre-cook in the microwave.

While the grill is hot, why not take advantage of the heat to cook your side dishes, too? You can grill almost any veggie, but thick slices of eggplant, summer squash and onions are especially good. So are pepper wedges and asparagus spears. Thickly sliced potatoes are great grilled as a side dish on their own, or in a grilled potato salad. Brush veggies and potatoes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, or use a bit of vinaigrette salad dressing, place them on the cooler side of the grill where there’s less heat and flip them over frequently until they’re tender.

You can even grill up some dessert. Pineapple, apples, peaches, nectarines and bananas all take well to a little time over the flame and they’re easy to prepare. To prepare, core the pineapple and cut into rings, or cut apples, peaches or nectarines in half, remove cores or pits and leave the skins on. Grill the rings or fruit (cut side down) until the sugars start to caramelize and the fruit is tender. Grilled fruit is delicious on its own, but you can dress it up with a drizzle of citrus juice or a dash of cinnamon.

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6 Helpful Tips for Teen Skin Care

August 16, 2017

Healthy skin boosts self-esteem.

It’s never too early for teenagers to learn about healthy skin care practices.

As adults, we tend to recognize and understand the importance of cleansing, moisturizing, treating and protecting our skin. However, healthy skin care practices are important for teenagers as well. Many teens struggle with skin conditions that are influenced by their hormones. They tend to have oily skin and experience blemishes and breakouts. Educating teens on the basics of skin care can have lifelong effects. Here are some tips to help them get started:

Use a Facial Cleanser, Not Ordinary Bar Soap

Teens must understand the importance of washing their face every morning and every evening before bedtime. Cleansing helps remove excess oils from the surface, along with dirt, makeup and other pore-clogging debris. Cleansing the skin is non-negotiable. So, make sure you’re providing them with the necessary tools.

Get them started on a healthy cleansing routine, using a facial cleanser specifically formulated to target oily skin. Choose a sulfate-free cleanser for a gentler approach and remind them to cleanse twice a day. Clean skin can help put your teen on the path to clear skin quickly. Make sure they pat their skin dry and never rub post-cleansing. Remind them to use a clean towel to dry. Any towel that isn’t clean is a breeding ground for bacteria.

Use Sunscreen

Teenagers spend a lot of time outdoors. Between hanging out with friends, sports programs or simply walking to school and back, they are exposed to the damaging UVA/UVB rays of the sun. All teens need to realize that even minimal exposure to the sun can cause long-term damage, including burning, aging and skin cancer. Teens need to understand that they should always apply sunscreen, or a moisturizer with sunscreen, before heading to school in the morning. A product with a minimum of SPF 30, that’s both water and sweat resistant, is ideal. Inform them that even on a cloudy day in the dead of winter, the sun’s rays can still cause damage to the skin.

Hands Off the Pimples

Picking at a blemish is a major no-no for everyone, not just teens. If you pop a pimple, it can aggravate the condition even further and lead to permanent scarring. Explain why in general it’s important to resist the urge to touch their face. Our hands can be riddled with germs and bacteria, and the last place we want these germs to end up is on our face.


Moisturizer keeps skin hydrated, helps maintain elasticity and should be applied every day. Choose a product containing UVA/UVB SPF 30 protection. Look for products with no added parabens and that are dermatologist tested.

Find the Right Makeup

Explain the importance of making the best product choices in the name of healthy-looking skin. Look for oil-free cosmetics so they won’t encourage or aggravate any skin conditions. Inform them that while makeup may look nice, too much of it can cause breakouts and result in skin imperfections.

Be sure to reiterate the point that if they wear makeup, washing their face before bed is mandatory. Makeup left on the skin while sleeping is a catalyst for clogged pores and breakouts. Also, remember that teens that have acne should use approved products to treat that condition, in accordance with their labeling, and seek the advice of their doctor for serious conditions.

Use the Right Type of Razor

Most boys start shaving in their teen years. Explain the different types of razors on the market. Electric razors are a great place to start with a newbie, while disposable razors are effective for a closer shave. It’s important to explain the basics of shaving so a teen can learn how to avoid nicking his skin.

If a teen is suffering from blemishes, nicking the skin can be painful and lead to further irritation. So, educating them on how to shave, including choosing the right razor and shaving cream, will be a valuable lesson. In addition to shaving procedure, make sure you educate them on the importance of cleaning their electric shaver and when to use a fresh blade.

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