Functional Fit Bit #9

I resolved myself to do more true “exercise” so here is another Functional Fit Bit.

I did one round of the following:

Walking High Plank 45 seconds

Side Plank 45 seconds

Elevated Push-ups with a Hand Clap x 5

Weighted Hip Thrusts x 15 with 22# (aka my baby sitting on my lap)

Dumbbell Bench Press x 15 with 50#

Stair Step-ups x 15 each side with 22# (my baby again…play around with how you hold the weight, on the working leg side, on the non-working leg side, split even between both hands, weight held above head, etc.)

Inverted Rows x 15

Finished off with 5 minutes of Shadow Boxing

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Functional Fit Bit #8

I did this the other day while dinner was cooking on the stove.  Just one round because then it was time to eat.  Do two rounds if you have the time.

High Planks with Shoulder Taps

Side Plank with Hip Dips

Goblet Squats (hold something heavy close to your chest…I started with a dumbbell then switched to a baby)

Vertical Jumps onto an Unstable Surface (aka my couch! ha!)…My son thought this was hilarious and joined in the fun.

Bent-over Dumbbell Row


Dance Party

* Those with diastasis recti (DR)…Please modify the high plank and push-ups to your current ability. Need ideas how…Send me a message or comment below.  I’m happy to make all workouts DR-safe.  🙂

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Scavenger Hunt #4 Part 2

Okay…Now that you have thought about yourself and other adults, I want you to look at children.  How do children gain new skills? How do they know they are ready for the “next step”? Watch your children or other people’s children if you do not have any, and see how they challenge themselves as well protect themselves.

If you have any insights, please comment below! 🙂

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Scavenger Hunt #4

In the coming days, think about how you gain new skills, strength, mobility, etc.?  How do improve the movements you are already proficient in performing?  How do you know when you are ready to progress? Or do you push ahead, doing too much, injuring yourself? Conversely, do you play it safe and never challenge yourself?

Look around at other people working out or otherwise moving their bodies.  How do they move? What is the quality of their movement? Do they execute well what they are doing? Is their strength, stability, and mobility up to the task of whatever they are doing? Are they capable of more? Are they using their bodyweight? Or are they using free weights, machines, etc.? What are most people doing?  Are they only doing cardio? Or only focusing on one body part? Do you think they always do the same thing?

Comment below! 🙂

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Functional Fit Bit #7

This weekend we finished putting together a sandbox for the children, and they love it! So yesterday while my husband cooked dinner, and the little ones occupied themselves with digging, I moved my body. I like to always do a push & pull for my upper-body, and at minimum a squat variation for my lower-body.  Since, I only had a little bit of time so I kept it short and simple, focusing on these three movements. Here’s what I did:

Push:  Concentric Push-Ups (push-up starting from the ground) [2 sets of 10]

Pull:  Single Arm Bent-Over Dumbbell Row [2 sets of 15]

(How was I able to do this outside?? Benefit of renting a house, you inherit whatever previous renters left behind; in my case I found two 20# dumbbells when we moved in…I keep them outside since I have a nice set inside)

Squat:  Goblet Squat [2 sets of 15]  (with a$$ to grass)

Finished off with a game of tag!

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Free your children’s feet

Like I said in my last post I am participating in a Free Your Feet yoga challenge on Instagram.  If you have children it is important to “free” their feet as well.  We found a gem of a book at our local library entitled My Feet.  Author Aliki explains the function of feet and the basic anatomical parts.  But my favorite thing about the book is the different activities offered up to try with your feet.  Check out the book and try some of the challenges with your kids, such as walking on your heels, pick up things with your toes, and even draw using your toes!

Also, the book mentions footwear.  As it is back to school time, please be mindful of the shoes you purchase for your children.  My kids love their Merrell shoes (some styles are minimalist, but not all) and we just bought some Plae shoes to try this year as my kids wanted to try something different from the shoes they have had.  Also, two cheaper options are aqua shoes (we’ve found cute ones at REI) or ballerina slippers purchased a size or two “too big.” But my absolute favorite minimalist shoes for children are Softstars.

Anywhoooo…back to feet. What else can you do with your feet and your children’s feet to “free” them? An easy way is to spend more time actually being barefoot.  As Aliki says in My Feet, “I like bare feet best!” 🙂

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Easy Exercise #5

I’m currently participating in a yoga challenge on Instagram called Free Your Feet. Another way to “free your feet” & an easy exercise is to transition to minimal shoes as well as spending more time barefoot.  Each foot & ankle contain 26 bones, 33 joints, & 20 muscles, plus all the ligaments & tendons, too! Aren’t the muscles of your feet just as important as your biceps, hamstrings, et cetera? When you wear structured footwear, your feet aren’t doing all the work they are meant to do, nor are your joints experiencing their full range of motion. Don’t jump right from a 3-inch stiletto to Vibrams though. Transition slowly. And don’t just make the change for your feet’s sake…Your whole body will thank you. In fact, my first step towards fully healing my diastasis recti was switching to minimal footwear (I already spend every minute I’m home barefoot & always have!)

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Functional Fit Bit #6

My shoulders have been feeling tighter that usual, (probably because I held a sick baby in arms a lot last week). Without full mobility your strength and function are affected; not only is performance influenced this can lead to injury if you aren’t careful. So here is a little something I have been working on in spare moments:

First a Iyengar yoga-style shoulder sequence, transitioning to a few other things I really like.

Tadasana (Mountain Pose) while really emphasizing external rotation in my shoulders (ROTATE your shoulders down! Your “elbow pit” should be facing forward), plus pulling my shoulder blades apart & my upper arms back. *In fact remember these three actions during all the shoulder work (rotate down, pull apart and back)

Urdhva Hastasana (Upward Salute) Take a minute to check your ribs…Get those suckas DOWN! Don’t cheat your shoulder stretch by thrusting your ribs up. You can turn this pose into Utkatasana (Chair Pose) if you want to sneak in a squat.

Now using a way that is challenging to you, get down on the floor in Virasana (Hero Pose). Cross your arms behind you, grasping each elbow with the opposite hand.  Hold, then switch which arm is on top.

Next tuck your toes under your bottom to give the toes & forefoot a nice stretch. Change your arms to Urdhva Baddhanguliyasana (Upward Bound Fingers Pose). Hold, then switch which thumb is on top.

Stand back up, again challenging yourself to use a new movement to rise.  Don’t use your auto-pilot!

Standing again in Tadasana (Mountain Pose), practice Gomukhasana Arms (Cow Face Pose). I’ll post a picture of this on my Instagram. Hold, release, switch arms.  This pose really challenges me to keep my alignment. Protect your joints & respect where you are with this pose.  Use a belt or a similar object if you aren’t able to hold your hands together.  When I first started practicing this, I had to use a strap.

Still standing in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) switch to Pashchima Namaskarasana (Reverse Prayer Pose). Keep your shoulders from creeping up to your ears, & strive to have your the thumb pad of your hands to touch.  Even if they can’t, practice drawing them closer together.

Sit down in Lotus (Criss-Cross Applesauce). Now to stretch the top of our hands & wrists because it all is connected. Make a table-top with your forearms.  Make a fist with one hand, then grasp the fist with the other hand. Pull on the skin of the fist with the grasping hand, then start to slowly bend your forearm at the wrist.  You should feel a nice stretch along your fisted hand & wrist.

Stand-up, sit-down (fight fight fight) in Lotus (Criss-Cross) with the other leg in front. Repeat the hand & wrist stretch on the opposite side.

Switch to Baddha Konasana (Butterfly).  Bring your hands together as in Namaste (Prayer Pose) but flip it by rotating down & away.  Stop when the backs of the hands are touching & look as if in prayer pose. Strive to bring the hands down, while keeping them close to the chest and as much contact maintained between the two hands.  You should feel a nice stretch similar to the previous poses.

Stand up & find a wall. Bear with me here for a great stretch…Pretend you are a server at a restaurant. Place the hand & arm holding your tray against the wall. Holding your arm still start to slowly take a forward turn away from your arm until you feel a nice stretch.

Lie down on the ground in Viparita Shalabhasana (Superman Pose). Now pretend the Village People are singing to you as you move your arms through the shapes of I, Y, T, & W. Repeat this shape-making arm exercise while doing a wall sit trying to keep your shoulders, lower ribs & thumbs against the wall.

All done! Sorry if you are now singing YMCA in your head.

PS If you struggle with diastasis recti like I do, stretching the shoulders is very important for improving the rib thrust that prevents the transverse abdominis from activating.

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Easy Exercise #4

Last post I asked about ways you avoid movement. One way many people avoid movement is by falling up the stairs. Huh?? Yes! Falling UP the stairs. You know, leaning really far forward then bringing your foot up so you don’t fall. Or if you are like me, you do them so fast that you almost really fall over and have to catch yourself with your hands, almost as if you are climbing up the stairs on all fours.

Going up stairs by leaning far forward is using momentum and gravity to help you. Take back the work by using better form and you will fit in some easy exercise doing something you do anyways.

To climb the stairs better (and build a better booty, too!) Keep your body upright. Push down through the heel of the forward leg while bringing your opposite foot up to the next step. Keep your shins parallel (don’t let your knee go past your ankle!) and feet pointed straight ahead, hip distance apart. Kind of like a walking forward lunge. You should feel your glutes and lateral hip muscles working.

I’ll try to post a video soon, showing the two ways. In the meantime, check out this video. It is so easy to go into autopilot with our movement. But sometimes there are consequences for checking out, or being distracted. 😉

PS What does this video tell us about motor coordination? And fall risk?

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Scavenger Hunt #4

So yeah, yeah, we all aspire to “work out” for an hour daily, but what about all the other hours in the day?  What do you do then?  If you are anything like me and most other people I know, you AVOID doing more WORK!  It is like we only want to get sweaty & do uncomfortable things when we have set aside designated time to do so…Why is that? I want you to spend the next couple days paying attention to how you avoid doing “work” or otherwise moving your body. For example, do you drive the half a mile to the grocery store or walk it?  Do you, like my husband, avoid going up and down the stairs, unless it is absolutely necessary? Do you use a stroller rather than hold your baby in your arms? Do you hire out your yard maintenance?

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