Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Healthy Living With Monica Green-Connell MSPT CSCS

Happy New Year!

Well, we all survived the holiday season. Some of us eager to bring in the new year with New Year’s resolutions and personal goals. A common resolution is to lose weight and be healthier. From my past experiences going to gyms in MN, LA, TX and CT it was a trend to see more people in the gyms in January and February and then the aspiring new members started dwindling. Why? Lack of motivation, no immediate results, busy schedules, etc…..

I always give advice to people who are working toward a final goal to set small goals along the way. Example: If my goal is to lose 15# in 3 months then I will reward myself if I did not GAIN weight the week I had several parties to attend. I could also treat myself to something special if I was able to work out 4-5x/wk. Remember to never lose sight of your goals/dreams…….they may take time to accomplish but if you have determination and perseverance you will ultimately succeed.

Working out with a partner or in a class may be the outside motivation you need if you feel you do not have enough inner motivation to keep you going. This may also help you prioritize your time and even with a hectic schedule you will know someone is waiting on you or you may feel guilty paying for classes if you do not attend.

I thought I would jot some exercises/activities down you can incorporate in your day to help strengthen muscles, burn calories and improve balance. Most of us want to lose belly fat after having kids and many people believe if you do sit ups/crunches that will help.

FYI: there is no such thing as spot reducing….meaning if I do tons of crunches I will lose weight at my belly. In order to lose your belly you have to have negative calories and lose weight overall. Keep in mind doing deep ab ex and kegel exercises will help firm your stomach up and give you a stronger core.

1. Isometric contraction of deep abs and pelvic floor muscles while in neutral pelvis.
(Neutral pelvis: your ‘tall’ but comfortable position.)Need to really show you this in

Base position: 1)neutral pelvis 2)kegel 3) pull tummy in

You can do this in sitting, standing, walking, laying down, as long as you keep your neutral pelvis and you contract your pelvic floor, transversus abdominus, multifidus.

PTs teach core ex in neutral and some trainers, pilates instructors may teach you core ex out of “your neutral”. I feel like training neutral first is VERY important to avoid injury!

FYI: When training core with rotation ALWAYS move your hips with your torso to avoid increased disc shearing and injuring your back!!!

2. Mini-squat or ¾ squat. Feet shoulder width apart. Bend knees slightly. Buttocks go out like your sitting in a chair. Knees need to stay behind toes. Hold 5-10 sec. 10-12 reps. You can also add in tightening pelvic floor and deep abdominals.

3. Mini-lunge or ¾ lunge. Step forward with one foot, bend that knee slightly and shift bodyweight over front foot. Tighten thigh and buttocks of front leg. Hold 5-10 sec. 10-12 reps. Add in contracting of pelvic floor and deep abdominals.

4. Standing on one leg. Keep hips level and pull tummy in. Can do when doing dishes, talking on the phone, etc…. See how long you can stand on one leg without using your arms for support. Doing single leg stance is great because it forces you to use many muscles to keep you upright.

I am not a big believer in crunches and definitely NOT sit-ups! These work your rectus abdominus(6 pack) which does not provide much stability when compared to your deep abs. To discuss the progression of lower abs is very difficult without demonstrating it.

I am hoping some of these ideas are helpful and if you have questions please feel free to call me at 527-7131 or grab me at the next MOPS meeting. I love to teach and help people get more fit!

I am planning on having a running/walking club in the spring, probably meeting on a week night. If there are suggestions please email me or call. I would love input. My email is

Physical fitness usually leads to improved grades/mental sharpness. I will leave you with the following to think about:
A new study that followed nearly 300 adults over 13 yrs. found that walking 6-9 miles/week may stop your brain from shrinking as you age. This will decrease risk of developing memory problems. (Sunday World Herald Sunday Jan 2, 2011)

What better motivation to exercise!?

Monica Green-Connell MSPT CSCS

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