How To Improve Joint Function And Reduce Pain

Working out can wreak havoc on different parts of your body. When you run or walk or do squats with heavy weights, your knee joint might start to hurt. It can be a sign of any number of ailments.

Pain might be caused by something as simple as tendonitis, which you’ll notice more when going up and down stairs. If not treated, this can become worse.

Another cause is chondromalacia patella, which occurs when the cartilage is damaged.

In some severe cases, you might be diagnosed with osteoarthritis. This often occurs when the cartilage inside the joint has deteriorated so much that the bones start to rub together. This causes severe pain and inflammation, and over time will lead to the bones wearing down even more.

Any of these conditions might eventually require surgery when left untreated, so it’s important to seek a diagnosis from a medical professional before you attempt to do anything to fix it on your own.

If you’ve been exercising frequently, then there’s a good chance you have chondromalacia patella. It occurs most frequently in runners, a group of people who aren’t used to quitting their exercise regimen when the going gets rough. Unfortunately, the condition doesn’t leave you with many options.

First, stop engaging in the activities that make the pain worse. Do NOT try to run or jump. Try to avoid stairs. Don’t squat, kneel, or sit with your knees bent at an angle. When sitting, you might not notice any discomfort until you stand, and by then the damage is done. If you’re female, then avoid wearing high heels.

Next, ask your doctor about exercises you can do from home. You might ask about the potential benefits of physical therapy if your doctor suggests surgery as the only way to fix your condition. A physical therapist can teach you how to do a straight leg lift. The exercise can be done when lying down with one leg bent at a 90-degree angle in order to focus on the quadriceps muscle in the other leg. Raise the leg to a 45-degree angle, hold it in the air for a few seconds to feel the strain, and then repeat.

Keep in mind that the focus is on the thigh muscle, not the joint itself. If you feel too much pain, then you should discontinue the exercise.

I Can’t Do A Thru-Hike; I’m Not Fit Enough!

Backpacking through remote regions of the country, going up and down hills, burning more calories than you could ever possibly consume–these aren’t obstacles for the faint of heart. A lot of people would never even consider something as physically and mentally demanding as a thru-hike because they think they aren’t fit enough for normal hiking, much less something that could take weeks or months to finish–if it can be finished at all.

Here’s the good news: thru-hiking usually isn’t about physical hurdles so much as psychological barriers. The attitude you need is probably different from the one you have. “Yes I can” is what you need to be telling yourself. If you can get off the couch to walk around the block, then you’re probably healthy enough for a thru-hike. If not, a quick visit to the doctor is the fastest way to get an answer.

Obviously this is a general statement. Not everyone can safely undergo that kind of physical exertion. If you’re older and overweight, there are steps you need to take before you even think of doing this. But believe it or not, it’s the combination of factors that should stop you. Simply being a senior citizen shouldn’t get you down. Being overweight shouldn’t get you down.

You know those people who’ve spent their entire lives eating whatever they want without gaining a single pound? Yeah, those guys. They’re the ones who are going to have the most trouble.

Don’t believe it? Reason it out: when you go thru-hiking, you need to consume as many calories as possible because your body’s metabolism is going to speed up and burn them off like crazy.

A few extra pounds is a good thing, because it means you’ll be able to push further and faster than the skinny people who already had fast metabolisms to begin with–if you don’t have an ounce of fat to burn, then you’re going to have to carry more food weight. And that means you’re going to slow down.

There’s no real way to prepare for a thru-hike. Sure, try to exercise. Gain some endurance, increase your stamina, do whatever makes you comfortable. But your body is going to take a beating no matter how you prepare, and the only way to get fit for a thru-hike is to thru-hike. If you’re not sure about your capabilities, then simply start with a shorter trail. Enjoy a three-day weekend trip along a segment of a nearby trail, and see what you can do!

Don’t Use Bad Knees As An Excuse Not To Exercise

Who has ever used the excuse of “bad knees” to get out of an exercise program, or to get out of having to get up at 5 a.m. to go to the gym?

Well the truth is, that excuse doesn’t fly anymore. Why? The “bad knees” you feel don’t come from the knees themselves; they come from the lack of balance and strength in the muscles around the knees – the muscles designed to protect the knees.

For knee health, the keys are the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. When those are not balanced in their strength and flexibility, knee pain can result. Instead of using “bad knees” as an excuse to get out of exercising, and they should now be a reason to get back into exercising those legs.

No more excuses, only reasons.

Whether you are working out at a gym or using alternative methods such as PRP therapy, the legs are vitally important in supporting the entire body. Any pain in the hips, knees or ankles can be traced to the muscles of the legs not having the strength to bear the weight and force of the body.

Following are some exercises that you can do to help those “bad knees” become good again – and they have very little to do with the knees themselves. It is recommended you do two sets of each, with 30 seconds rest in between sets.

  • Kneeling hip flexor stretch. Make sure to keep your pelvis tucked underneath as you move to each side so your feel your hips stretch. Thirty seconds each knee.
  • Calf stretches. Hands against a wall, arms pressed outward without locking elbows, stretch one leg behind you, keeping the heel of the foot on the ground. Stretch 30 seconds per leg.
  • Standing hamstring stretch. Put heel on top of a bench or small table, stretching leg out straight (no locking the knee) and bend forward over your thigh. Hold for 30 seconds then switch.
  • Use a resistance band around your legs, just above the knee. Keep legs shoulder-width apart. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor and knees are pushed out. Return to start for one rep and do 15 for a set, two sets.
  • One leg squat. Standing a 12-inch-high bench or box, letting one leg hang over the edge. Squat light normal, but go down until your hanging leg’s heel just brushes the ground, then drive yourself back up through your other heel. Down and up is one rep, do 15 reps per set, on set on each leg.
  • Hip raises. Use a resistance ban d just above your knees. Lay on your back, feet on the ground, knees bent. Raise your hips off the floor slowly until there is a straight diagonal line from your hips to the shoulders. Hold for two seconds, then slowly lower down to compete one rep. Do 15 reps per set.

Is Fitbit Even For Fitness Anymore? Should It Be?

We are a fitness society these days. Exercise, dieting, watching what we eat, counting the calories that go in us at meal times and leave us when we’re in the spin class – we have been tracking our fitness for quite a while.

So imagine the craze that came about when technology allowed us to purchase fitness trackers such as market-leader FitBit. To wear a device on your wrist that can measure your heart rate, your steps taken during the day and give you recommendations about how to improve your health, it is needless to say that fitness trackers became all the rage.

However, health has sort of a scientific tinge to it, which means that most healthy people can fit into a range of heart rate, blood pressure, calorie intake and the like. In other words, if a fitness person does the same run every day, he or she will eventually know how many calories he or she burns, what his or her heart rate is during and after the run, and so on.

After a few months or routine, the FitBit doesn’t really serve its purpose anymore, because by now we can predict what it will tell us. So after a few months, fitness trackers become pretty useless. So how to fix it, so people can keep their fitness trackers longer and actually use them?

The FitBit Charge 3 addresses the issue by turning its fitness tracker into a smartwatch. Now, the fitness tracker doesn’t have to be predictable anymore – it can develop more ways to be useful and practical on our wrists for those times when we’re not exercising or watching calories.

But this now begs the question, whether this will e the future of fitness trackers in that they will have to jump into the smartwatch competition in order to stay relevant? And if so, does it mean that smartwatches currently in the market will then adapt and become fitness trackers to serve their own dual purpose? Should this be the new wave of fitness wearables, or the new thing in smartwatches?

It sounds like a Catch-22, but it could come down to how the market bears out. Will the health and fitness nuts buy the fitness trackers because they double as smartwatches, or will they buy the smartwatches that have fitness tracking applications? Either the wearable market will become convoluted in the next 12 months, or more clarity will appear.

The marketplace is about survival of the fittest. And we are a fitness society, at the end of the day.

Best Fat-Burning Diets

Yes, it’s summertime. It’s time for tank tops, bathing suits, and showing off your sunkissed skin. However, some of us, who fall victim to laziness in the winter, have put on a few unwanted pounds. Don’t worry. FrogsFit is here to help. We have put together a list of some of the best fat-burning diets, according to science.

Some of the diets we will review are (not in order) a low-calorie diet, a low-fat diet, a low-carb diet, a ketogenic diet, or a high-protein diet. Each diet is unique, but they all produce similar, fat-burning results.

The Best Fat-Burning Diets

  • Low-Calorie Diet: 800-1,200 calories per day
    • Some of the benefits of a low-calorie diet are:
      • Limiting the number of calories you intake daily will lead to quick weight loss.
      • Will not cause you to lose lean muscle.
    • Some of the disadvantages are:
      • A drastic change in calorie intake can negatively affect your metabolism, causing a slow down.
      • Hard to enjoy the foods you love when your calorie count is very restricted.
  • Low-Fat Diet: 20%-30% of calories from fat. 80%-70% of calories should be from protein/carbs (mainly carbs).
    • Some of the benefits are:
      • Naturally, you will be cutting back on calorie-dense foods.
      • While this diet will help you lose fat quickly, it has not been proven to be the best solution for long-term results.
    • Some of the disadvantages are:
      • Not a long-term solution.
      • Very difficult to follow on a regular basis.
  • Low-Carb Diet: 15%-40% from carbs. 85%-60% from protein and fat.
    • Some of the benefits are:
      • A low-carb diet is proven to be very effective.
      • Taking on a low-carb diet reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes.
      • Cutting back on carbs teaches your body to burn fat as a replacement.
    • Some of the disadvantages are:
      • At first, a low-carb diet can lead to a sluggish feeling. This is because your body must learn not to look for carbs for energy, but fat instead.
      • Explosive energy is likely to decline.
      • High-protein diest will help with weight loss.
  • Ketosis Diet: Less than 10% of daily calories from carbs. 10%-30% from protein; 60%-80% from fat.
    • Some of the benefits are:
      • Puts your body in ketosis causing your body to burn ketones over glucose. In other words, your body will burn fat as a primary source of energy.
      • Eating more fat increases your body’s ability to burn body fat.
    • Some of the disadvantages:
      • This is a very hard diet to follow. If you eat slightly outside of the guidelines, it can throw your body out of ketosis and affect your metabolism.
      • A low protein diet can hold you back. A study indicated that a 5% increase in protein intake while in ketosis can triple fat loss.
  • High-Protein Diet: 25% of daily calories from protein
    • Some of the benefits are:
      • Most beneficial of all of the diets mentioned.
      • Can help prevent metabolism slow down after a large calorie cut.
      • Contrary to popular belief, a high-protein diet will not cause you to gain weight.
    • Some of the disadvantages are:
      • Might make gaining weight difficult.
      • Protein makes you less hungry. Make sure to eat carbs and fat to fuel workouts.

Exercise? More like Deskercise!

While most of us are happy that we don’t work manual labor, living a sedentary lifestyle can have some negative impacts on your health. Here are some quick exercises you can do while sitting at your desk to help burn some calories and get your blood flowing:

Cardio Desk Exercises

  • Turn on some fast music and tap those toes.
  • Always take the stairs.
  • Jog in place for a minute, sit down work for 5 minutes and repeat.
  • Walk and talk to coworkers. Instead of dialing their extension or emailing them, walk over and have a chat. Then go back to your desk and email them to follow up your request in person.

Legs Workouts

  • Wall sits. Leaning against the wall and sitting keeping your thighs parallel to the floor in 30 to 60 intervals. Perfect for some exercise during your bathroom break.
  • Squeeze your but cheeks, hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat as necessary.
  • Seated leg raise.
  • Standing leg curls from your desk chair.

Shoulder and Arm Workouts

  • Empty water bottle or stapler curls. Even the repetitive movement can tone up your arms.
  • Fist pump for 60 seconds during some music. Repeat on and off throughout the day.

Chest, Back and Neck Workouts

  • Grab a ream of paper and lift it above your head and do some shoulder presses.
  • Clasp your hands and invert them. Push them upwards for a good neck stretch.

Core

  • Work out your obliques in your wheel desk chair.
  • Walk around the office in your chair.
  • Ab squeeze for 5-10 seconds for 12-15 reps.

Don’t let your sedentary job keep you from being active. What are some other deskercise that you partake in during the day? Feel free to share them with us!

Get Those Killer Abs For Summer

Did you know that you can get that killer swimsuit body by just working out 10-15 minutes a day? Here are some quick tummy toning exercises so you can feel confident and sexy as ever in your two-piece bikini.

Leg Raises

This simple exercise engages your core and helps work out your lower abdominal muscles. Lie down on the floor and place your hands under your lower back. Extend the legs out and raise your legs towards the sky. For maximum results to 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps.

Flutter Kicks

While in the same positions, take your legs and kick them back and forth as if you were swimming in a pool. To ensure that you are involving your abs, make sure you to kick your feet at least 12 to 18 inches off the ground. We also recommend doing 2-3 sets of 10-15 kicks.

Planks

This exercise also engages your core. Using only your elbows and toes, raise your body up off the ground from lying face down. We recommend starting with 30-second intervals. After 30 seconds, take a break and see if you can hold it for another 30 seconds.

Bicycle Crunches

This is perfect for tightening your abdomen. Lie on the floor on your back. Pretend you are riding a bicycle in the air by bringing your knees towards your face. We recommend the usual: 2-3 sets of 10-15 crunches.

Just by doing these simple exercises 10-15 minutes a day you can tone that tummy and have the beach bod you’ve been dreaming of!

Best Workouts to Improve your Golf Swing

When amateur golfers have a poor round, they usually blame their clubs. They curse them or throw them or slam them into the ground. After they calm down, they realize, maybe it’s not the tool, but the carpenter that is using the tool. In other words, the clubs aren’t causing the issue, the golfer is. Contrary to popular belief, it may not be a result of faulty mechanics, but a result of weakness and poor flexibility.

Like a baseball swing, a golf swing requires you to generate a lot of torque in your core and shoulders. Often, amateur golfers do not have the flexibility or strength to hold up over an 18-hole round. Fatigue will cause you mental anguish on the course. It can lead to poor mechanics that cause the ball to go in any direction.

As with any sport, there are a number of workouts that will improve your golf game. Recently, MensFitness put together a list of workouts that will help open your hips and shoulders, and strengthen the muscles that matter.

Seated Rotation

The Purpose: This exercise to increase the flexibility of your core. This will allow you to rotate further in your backswing.

How To: Sit on a bench with your knees close together. Put a golf club behind your back and wrap your elbows around a club. Then rotate to one side, twisting your back. Hold this position for two seconds. Then twist the opposite way. Do this 10 times for each side.

Standing Ys

The Purpose: Improves shoulder flexibility and mobility.

How To: Stand bent over at the hips with your back flat and chest up. Hold a golf club with your palms facing up. Use your shoulder blades to lift your arms into a “Y” position; then return to the original position. Do this 10 times to complete one set.

Handwalks

The Purpose: Builds strength in your elbows and shoulders.

How To: Stand up and bend forward at the waist. Kep your knees straight as you extend your hands to the ground. When you are on all fours, walk your hands outward until you are in a push-up position. Then walk your hands back in towards your feet. Complete one rep by standing up. Repeat this 10 times to complete one set.

90/90 Stretch

The Purpose: Helps build strength and mobility.

How to: Lie on one side with your bottom leg extended out straight and your top leg bent with your knee touching the ground. Rotate at your waist until your top shoulder is touching the ground, or as far as you can go. Hold the position for two seconds and then release. Do this 10 times per side to complete one set.

Lateral Pillar Bridge

The Purpose: Opens hips and loosens back.

How To: Lie on one side with your legs stacked on one another. Lift the bottom side of your body off the floor. Hold this pose for three seconds. Do 10 reps on each side. An important note here is to keep your body in a straight line, similar to when you are doing planks.

Medicine Ball Parallel Throw

The Purpose: Strengthens muscles that are important to your swing.

How To: Start by standing and facing a wall. From about three feet away, hold a medicine ball around waist level, rotate, and toss the ball against the wall. Then catch the ball and repeat this from the other side. Do this exercise for 10 reps each side to complete one set.

Medicine Ball Perpendicular Throw

The Purpose: Improve swing speed and power by strengthening core muscles.

How To: Just as you would with the medicine ball parallel throw, start this exercise standing three feet away from the wall. The only difference here is that you should be standing perpendicular to the wall, not parallel. Pick up the medicine ball, hold it at waist level, then twist and throw. You should do this exercise for 10 reps n each side for one set.

Physioball Pushup

The Purpose: Stabilize shoulders and back.

How To: This exercise is just like a normal pushup, but it has a small twist. Instead of doing pushups with your hands and feet on the floor, your hands will be on the physioball and your feet will be on the floor. Then do a pushup as you normally would. Do this exercise 10 times to complete one set.

Dumbbell Bench Press – One Arm

The Purpose: Builds chest strength and shoulder stability.

How To: Lie down on a bench with half of your body on and half of your body off. Then take one dumbbell and raise it straight up. Drop the dumbbell down until your elbow is horizontal with your chest, then press the dumbbell back to the starting position. Do this 10 times for each side of your body.

Glute Bridge

The Purpose: Loosen hips and activate lower back.

How To: Lie on the floor facing up with your legs bent at 90 degrees. Keeping your knees together, lift your hips up as far as you can. Be sure to keep your shoulders and hips on the floor. Repeat this ten times to complete one set.

Best Running Sneakers of 2017

A man jogging in running sneakersTwo Sports Illustrated writers, who also happen to be avid runners, set out on a quest to find the best running sneaker of 2017. They tested numerous sneakers, some from brands you may have never heard of. In order to create this list, the two took their findings and paired it with the results of a survey that was sent to runners ranging from amateurs to professionals.

One of the things that can make or break you as a runner are the shoes you are wearing. The ranking of shoes took into account a number of factors including:

  • Price
  • Weight
  • Cushioning
  • Support
  • Durability
  • Material and fit
  • Stabilization

The Results

Adidas Ultra Boost

  • Price: $180.00
  • Notable Features:
    • Adidas Boost midsole provides the necessary cushioning and responsiveness that is great for long runs.
    • Flyknit upper
    • Great for casual wear.

Brooks Launch 4

  • Price: $100.00
  • Notable Features:
    • Brooks’ DNA midsole makes this shoe a great fit for any runner. The sole is capable of adjusting to each individual runners weight, gate, and other characteristics. The unique midsole makes the shoe perfect for long runs.

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V3

  • Price: $100.00
  • Notable Features:
    • The Fresh Foam midsole is different from the previous sneakers. New Balance created a sole that is more firm. This sneaker is a good choice for runners who run a fast pace for a long distance.
    • The negatives of the Fresh Foam midsole is that it can begin to feel stiff on easier slow runs. This makes the shoe a lesser choice for casual runners.

Mizuno Wave Rider 20

  • Price: $200.00
  • Notable Features:
    • All mesh upper: makes the sneaker lightweight
    • U4icX sole: Gives the runner a comfortable midsole that’s packed with plenty of bounce.
    • Wave plate: The Wave plate technology is proprietary to Mizuno. The Wave plate is designed to redirect impact away from the foot, making it less stressful to run on hard surfaces.
    • Great all-around running shoe.

Nike LunarEpic Flyknit 2

  • Price: $140.00
  • Notable Features:
    • Lunarlon Cushioning: Lightweight, comfortable midsole that disperses impact throughout the entire foot.
    • Flyknit Upper: The flyknit upper makes this shoe flexible, breathable, lightweight, and comfortable. The Flyknit upper is one piece, making the shoe fit like a sock with laces.
    • Great for easy runs or for casual wear.

Asics Dynaflyte

  • Price: $140.00
  • Notable Features:
    • FlyteFoam: Asics has its own version of a midsole, its called FlyteFoam, and its purpose is to provide runners with spring-like characteristics.
    • The upper thick, but still flexible.
    • Durable on pavement.

Adidas Adios Boost 3

  • Price: $140.00
  • Notable Features:
    • Features a similar boost midsole to the Ultra Boost.
    • Great for long, fast-paced runs like a 5k or half-marathon. Not ideal for a long run like a full marathon.
    • Casual runners may want to look elsewhere. These shoes do not provide a lot of cushion for extended running.

Hoka One One Clifton 3

  • Price: $130.00
  • Notable Features:
    • EVA Foam midsole.
    • Durable on trails and pavement.

New Balance 1500 v3

  • Price: $99.95
  • Notable Features:
    • REVlite cushioning: New Balance midsole technology that is intended to provide cushion and a spring-like feel for the runner.
    • FantomFit upper: Makes the sneaker lightweight, flexible, and breathable.
    • All-around running shoe.

Adidas Alphabounce AMS

  • Price: $110.00
  • Notable Features:
    • Described as one of the comfiest sneakers on the list.
    • Bounce cushioning: As opposed to the Boost midsole Adidas has become famous for, the Alphabounce uses a Bounce midsole. The Bounce midsole is intended to give runners more of a firm midsole and spring-like feeling.
    • Traction is bad in a wet environment.
    • Great for short runs, everyday training, and casual wear.

The Benefits of Yoga

As humans, one of the few things we share in common concern is our bodies. More often our body image than the actual state of our body itself, but they go hand-in-hand well enough for people to be willing to try most anything to trim the fat and cut what they might consider to be a nice figure. The problem in this arena is that there are so many different ways to go about it. Between all the diets supposedly proven by science to be effective at promoting weight loss and all the exercise regimen infomercials that are on the market, it’s not only hard to determine who you can trust – it’s also hard to determine what may actually be effective.

The first thing you might want to determine is what your actual goals are. Getting in shape is sort of an umbrella term that means different things to different people. Some people want to lose weight, some people might just want to tone up. Others might want to build muscle. And others still might just want to do enough just to get blood pressure or heart rate down. Whatever your goals are, it’s very likely you’ll be doing something different from the person next to you. Not only because of different goals, but just simply because of how different each of our bodies are from each other.

One thing that many people don’t seem to take into account when they think of exercise is a yoga workout. Many people consider yoga to be that peaceful, meditative thing you do to increase flexibility and “free your mind” or whatever. And while yoga does give some of these benefits, it is often looked down upon compared to other exercises 1) because of how low-impact it is and 2) because of how low-intensity it can be. But, as long as your goal isn’t to burn a plethora of calories in a short amount of time, yoga could be a very beneficial regimen for you to consider.

In fact, the various programs of yoga can serve different benefits depending upon which one you choose. Many people are at least familiar with the basic workings of what is called hatha. It incorporates basic movements with a focus on breathing. Some might also be acquainted with the idea of bikram, or “hot yoga.” There are other forms of yoga such as vinyasa, which can be broadly likened to tai chi, as well as power, ashtanga and iyengar. Each of these vary in intensity and thus can have different benefits.

Generally speaking, however, yoga has the potential to hit upon all of the muscle groups and work practically every part of your body. It is also a great way to improve flexibility and range of motion. And while yoga doesn’t work with weights or any other sort of counterbalance, the effort required to hold yourself in several positions is a good way to build body strength. And the fact that it is a low-impact exercise regimen will have your joints thanking you. What might be the trump card for many people is that, unlike many exercise regimens that require equipment, yoga can be done from anywhere that has enough space to accommodate a yoga mat. So you can practice yoga in the privacy of your own home or in a backyard in the sunshine instead of being cooped up in a gym.

Yoga is also very practical even despite most conditions. With the flexibility of programs in the various forms of yoga, people with arthritis can still enjoy yoga. And with medical advice, those with high blood pressure, heart conditions or diabetes can still create some sort of yoga regimen. Even women who are pregnant can still practice yoga, with obvious limitations. But almost without exclusion, yoga is easily accessible, practical, and allows you to reap the benefits of high-intensity, higher-impact regimens as well.