Monthly Archives: January 2013

illustration of woman running up stairs

Running stairs – a cardio workout which shapes your butt

illustration of woman running up stairs
Exercises: Legs, butt & cardio

Walking stairs instead of taking the elevator is step one to achieving an active lifestyle. When you feel comfortable walking up stairs it’s time to kick it up a notch and start sprinting up stairs.

The awesome thing about running stairs is that it’s a very effective cardiovascular workout and you can quickly raise your pulse. If you put your mind to it you will have your heart racing in just a few floors. This is also the kind f exercise which really burns calories and if your goal is a well toned butt then this is the exercise for you.

If the stairs are of normal size you should step on every stair. Lift your knees up high and keep a high pitched pace. The main thing about running stairs is that you run on your toes and not your heels. Make sure you push off with all muscles in your lower body; calves, thighs and butt. Don’t just let your knees do the work. Also get your arms involved and swing them back and forth when running, don’t shrug. Focus on keeping a high pace, this will get your heart pumping and you’ll improve your conditioning level.

Once you have mastered running on every stair you can try to only step on every other stair.

Something to keep in mind is that running stairs puts a lot of stress on your knees and lower body, so stop if you exercise pain.

illusatrstion of how to relax in bed

Tense-release relaxation technique

illusatrstion of how to relax in bed
Tense release (or TR) is a progressive relaxation technique which helps you relax and release stress and tension. The basic principle is to feel the difference between the tensed and relaxed state and this will help you relax.

TR is especially helpful if you have trouble falling asleep and it can help you get relaxed in just a few minutes. It can also help with headaches and muscle pain.

Lay flat on your back in bed, legs uncrossed. Start by focusing on your breathing. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Breathe slowly, take your time.

Tense a muscle and focus on the tensed state and then relax it and focus how it feels when you let go. Keep the tension for 5-10 seconds and then relax for 10 seconds before you repeat. It might take a few repetitions to get your muscle to a fully relaxed state.

Start by focusing on your feet and work your way throughout your body; feet > calves  > thighs > butt > abs > back & shoulders > hands & forearms > upper arms > neck > face. When you reach your face, imagine you have just eaten a really sour lemon and squeeze you face together.

You can also practise TR from a seated position.

The truth about exercise

I stumbled across this great documentary from BBC about exercise myths. If you have an hour to spare I really think you should see it.

If you don’t have an hour here’s a spoiler: For most people it’s better to move actively during the day than to sit still an entire day and hit the gym in the evening. Although if are a reader of this blog it should hardly come as a surprise.