Yoga Ball Chair For Health

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My second ball. A new ball about every 10-ish years. Not bad.

Switching out a “chair” for a yoga ball! What?! Yep, that’s exactly what I did. I use a yoga ball daily for not only exercise but to “sit” on!

I’m always looking for ways to be kinder to my body and I’m always looking for ways to exercise while not “exercising” if that makes sense. What I mean is I try to get in exercise wherever I can. For instance while brushing my teeth I do leg lifts or wall squats.

Since I do a lot of computer work I wondered if I could work out my abs, legs, and back by sitting on a yoga ball. One thing I noticed right off the bat is my back feeling really good. No more achy feeling. My body didn’t feel tired and I felt more alert.

I experimented by moving my legs forward and back and wiggle side to side; both moves engaged my abs. I was onto something! Both fun and beneficial! I like that! Also, it gave me a great excuse to get rid of my highly uncomfortable chair! (In my forever quest for less stuff, that was another plus.)

I also noticed things like my back “self-adjusting”. And let me tell you… feels amazing!

So this is what I do: Sit on the yoga ball. My feet are flat for support. My legs are about shoulder width apart (I adjust feet positions for a change-up). There’s no rhyme or reason to any of my movements. The key for me is to not be still. I might tap my toes up and down or lift the heels of my feet up and down. I will wiggle side to side, rotate my hips around, move my legs forward and back.

If you give this a try, you can experiment with moves. I find it fun and anything to keep the blood moving is good in my book.

What sitting on a yoga ball does for me:

  • Reminds me to sit tall.
  • Reminds me to pull my tummy in. (Very important.) Always working the core!
  • Helps to adjust/align my spine. I’m always striving for ways to keep my back/spine healthy.
  • Relieves my back pain. I don’t have that nagging pain in my lower back when I’m done sitting anymore. I get up… and back feels great!
  • My abs feel stronger.
  • My low back feels stronger.
  • I’ve always had good posture, but the ball makes sure I do!
  • Keeping my body in motion is important to me, and this does just that!
  • I prefer sitting on a yoga ball now to a standard “office” chair. Or really any chair for that matter. I guess you can say it’s more comfortable.
  • No tailbone pain. I cracked mine a few years back. Owie. Long story…
  • My hips feel stronger. I don’t get that painful “pop” in them as often as I did. And really as I type this now, I can’t remember the last time that happened.
  • If you know me, you know I like doing things that have more than one benefit. If I must sit (computer work) then I want to exercise!
  • Not using a standard chair, I can stretch my arms behind me periodically.
  • My neck and shoulders are more relaxed and I feel the tension is much, much better.
  • Even though I am moving on a yoga ball, I still stand by my “standing up” every 15-20 minutes thing I do. I will do jumping jacks, squats, or even sit-ups and push-ups using the yoga ball. Check out Dr. Mercola’s post here on sitting too long.
  • I am more awake/alert. And that’s important especially if I’m doing research on a topic I find boring.
  • And most of all, it makes me happy!
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See how-to on lamp and desk.

Happy is good! We all have challenges, constant obstacles that get us down, but it’s up to us to get up, challenge those challenges and push those obstacles out-of-the-way. Sometimes as I work, a sad thought will creep into my mind and I know I can’t do a thing about that sad thought…I start bouncing on the yoga ball, almost as if I’m on a trampoline, and well, the sad is still there, but deeper in the back of my mind. In the midst of bouncing, the endorphins go up and I can actually find my smile again.

So if challenges and obstacles are pushing at you…push back!

Hugs to all my Awesomenesses!

Peace, Koko ❤

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Fitness Challenge Push-ups

Fitness needs to be fun. You are more apt to stick with something if it’s fun. If it’s not fun, at least find something about it that motivates you!

I was chatting with a fellow blogger, Matt from https://techchucker.wordpress.com about my son and I challenging each other to a push-up contest. He had to do double what I did. We were playing video games that night and every time he’d “die” or do a bad move, we’d have to drop and do push-ups. During about 2 hours of game play I did 300 push-ups which my son happily did 600. We both still had more push-ups in us, but decided we might regret the soreness the next day! Surprisingly we both weren’t that sore. Though on day 2 we could feel it in the pecs! It was a fun challenge I won’t forget.

Matt and I decided to challenge each other to do push-ups! The rules are really relaxed…just do as many as you can in a day. Now both of us made a base line video to kick off the challenge. He did a whopping 50 in one shot. I got in 25. You can see his here. And mine below.

The challenge started on June 17, 2015. It’s to go for 20 days straight. I started that day (6-17) doing 85 push-ups (Not on my knees but “military” style or otherwise known as “guy” push-ups) with reps of 10-15. I continued with doing 85 on the 18th and 19th. On 6-20 I had to switch up and do incline push-ups, using a chair as my incline, gripping the sides so my hands/wrist placement can be altered. As I mentioned on the video I am trying to heal a bad injury to my left elbow. The pain was getting pretty bad that I couldn’t sleep on day 3. This ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury is a long time healing process. The elbow also dislocated too. In the beginning the injury was so bad I couldn’t move it and for almost 2 weeks I couldn’t really use the arm. I’ve actually come a long way. I have full use of it, but in certain positions it will remind me very quickly that it isn’t 100%. I know what you are thinking…, “Then why the heck are you doing push-ups?” Believe me I’ve asked myself the same question. The short and simple; I was challenged! More so, I love the fun it brings.

The new incline chair push-ups: side grip did wonders for my elbow (as well as for my neck and traps. Another injury I won’t bore you with). No intense pain or outward swelling. I really wanted to do this challenge justice for the sake of the challenge, but I also had to take care of my elbow. On 6-20 I did 180 push-ups with new grip doing reps of 20-40.

On 6-21 I finished the day with 260 incline chair push-ups: side grip

I know my elbow isn’t happy and it has started to dislocate a couple of times on me, even with that, and some shooting pain before I started the different position, so far, it’s been worth it. The incline isn’t agitating my neck and traps too badly either. I’m already noticing a difference in my body and that is what it’s all about. Shocking muscles! If you keep shocking your body to do different things, amazing things happen. I’m excited to see how I feel and how I look on day 20!

Come on join us. You’re already a winner! There’s no pressure, so just have fun with it. Challenge yourself; do as many as you can in a day!

Follow me on twitter as I will be posting my push-up numbers using the tag #PushUpChallenge

I believe in you! Come on let’s spread the good energy!

Thank you for supporting me with your kind words, your follows, and shares! My followers are the best. I really mean that!

Monday’s around the corner, make it awesome!`

Best, Koko

Shoulder Exercises (Tip 11)

Are we sitting?  No problem.  Reading perhaps? On the computer? Watching television? Listening to music?  If you can get your hands free, here are a few movements you can do while you are reading email, blogs, watching your favorite show.  If you are a big-time book reader get a book stand you can prop your book up with and do these exercises!  I’m a huge reader and if I have the time to treat that indulgence, I try to get exercises in.

This exercise helps to strengthen and tighten the shoulder muscles all around the rotator cuff.

1. Sit tall (pull in that tummy!) Align your head with your spine. Arms out to the side (shoulder level) (you look like the letter T ). Now at this position you want to tighten your arms (if you have problem elbows…don’t lock them out.  Have a slight bend in them, but still tighten your arm muscles the best you can) and bring them about five inches up and about five inches down.  Kind of like you want to flap your arms but with tight control.  The movement is small.  Don’t bother counting.  Just do it until it burns and then count like ten more past the burn.  What I like to do when it starts to burn is widen my “flap” and move my arms about two feet up and two feet down.  I do this for about 10-20 past the burn point.  You can do this movement with a wider up-and-down movement if you’d rather.

2. Same position….tummy muscles in, and head, and spine tall.  Tighten your arms and do small circles forward until burn….Don’t stop!….after the burn going forward; now do them backwards and do them until you absolutely can’t anymore. When you do the next set start off backwards and then after the burn do the circles forwards.

3.  Same position…tummy in and head and spine tall.  With your tight arms out to the side in your “T” formation, in this exercise all you do is move your arms towards the back. It’s a small movement.  Your arms go back about 6 inches.  Then back to the starting position. Burn them out! ;P

4. Same T position…remember pulling in that tummy helps to protect the lower back. With arms out, turn palms facing toward the ceiling.  Now flip the palms towards the floor.  The movement is as if you had something in the palm of your hand and now you are turning your hand down to drop it.  Flipping a burger or flap-jacks!   Do those until you can’t do them anymore.

*Try all these exercises with palms facing up towards ceiling, or down towards the ground, or palms facing forward, or palms facing towards the back of the room. You will feel it deeper in muscles and in different areas of the shoulder.  The stretch you get from all these positions feel really good!

*It’s important with all theses exercises, your shoulders are set in correct position, and even height (you don’t want one shoulder higher than the other), and muscles around them to be tight as well, because you want your ball and socket inside your shoulder to be stable.

*Don’t lift shoulders up or down. Try and keep them stable.  It is your arms only that move and when you are counting inches, use your hand position as the starting and stopping point.

*Don’t forget to breathe! I like to start off all exercise movements with a couple of deep cleansing breaths.  It kind of resets my breath.  I too, fall into shallow breathing, and I must remind myself to breathe correctly.

*It helps if you tighten up your whole upper body.  Chest is tall too. Helps to lock in those shoulders.

Okay folks, so while you are doing your brain some good through reading, you can be doing your body a favor by keeping it strong and healthy.  I care is why I share…if anyone out there would like other tips that I haven’t mentioned yet, send me an email.  I’ll be happy to blog or personally help you out.  Let’s keep finding ways to move our bodies!

Here’s to awesome health. Go grab you some! ✾ Koko❀

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Shoulder Press Exercise, Sneak Them In!

Are you especially chatty?  Talk a lot on the phone?  Here’s another great way to easily sneak in some exercises throughout your day. (Tip number 10!)

Shoulder Press is a great way to strengthen the deltoids, those muscles that cup around your shoulder.  You know the muscles at the top of your arm.  Toning those muscles will give your arms that sexy look when wearing a strapless or sleeveless top/shirt.

Talk on the phone hands free and while you are doing that, grab some light weights and do shoulder presses.  What’s that? Glad you asked.  Here goes; get a set of 3, 5,or 10 pound hand weights.  If you don’t have hand weights then go to your pantry and get a couple of soup cans.  (But really, invest in a set of proper hand weights. Heck, go ask a neighbor, chances are he/she will have a set in their basement collecting dust and will happily send them your way.)  You can also find some nice dumbbells on Amazon like these Reebok Speed Pac 25 Adjustable Dumbbell Pair which I own a set of.  I have vinyl dumbbells, as well as, solid hex dumbbells.  I do love the adjustable weights because of the simplicity; I can easily go from 10 pounds to 25 pounds with just shifting the plates.  Also it’s nice not having a lot of dumbbells lying around.

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Vinyl dumbbell. Well loved as you can see.
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Hex weights. They are called that because of the “hex” shaped ends. You can get these in increments from 2 pounds to over 100 pounds each!
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Adjustable dumbbells. See the pin? It slides to adjust for weight increments. Very handy when doing trickle down sets.

Hold a weight in each hand. Bring hands to shoulder level. Palms facings forward.  Tighten arms and pull in that tummy!  Push the weights straight up towards the sky and back down in line with your shoulder.  That is one rep! Yay….now do that movement until your muscles start to burn.  Rest for a few seconds and do it again.  If your conversation runs long, hey take advantage of that and do other exercises we’ve talked about!  Get your workout in while chatting. How cool is that?  Make every day count and sneak in those exercises!  In a future post, I will have total body workouts you can do in under 20 minutes!

In fabulous health, Koko 😀

Sexy, Sculpted Legs!

Ways to sneak in exercise throughout your day without much effort…tip number (9)

Folding laundry can be boring and for those of you that know me, know I like to make a lot out of each moment, so here’s a great exercise that will keep your legs toned and sculpted while you fold piles and piles of laundry…

Standing lateral leg lift.

Stand tall.  Pull in tummy (Always pull in those abs. Helps protect the low back.).  And simply raise leg out to the side.  I like to tighten the muscles in the leg with each lift.  Again, I go from one leg to the other so I don’t have to count repetitions.  This exercise is a great way to strengthen the tissue around the pelvic joint, hip flexors, and those pesky saddlebags!

Of course you can do this while brushing your teeth, watching t.v., talking on the phone…Point is to get up; get moving.  Come on, you can do this.  Sexy, sculpted legs are yours for the taking!

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Awesome Abs!

Ways to sneak in exercise throughout your day without much effort…tip number (8)

Another great one; when you find yourself standing in line somewhere…Pull your belly button towards your spine.  Hold for as long as you can. Rest for a few seconds and do it again.  Wanna go into the exercise deeper? Of course you do; exhale as you pull in your tummy!  I do this when I am on the computer, preparing dinner, doing dishes, pretty much anywhere and anytime.  Great for in public, no one knows what you are doing and you get to gain sexy abs! Win-win. 😉  *insert whistle here*

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Get Fabulous Buns!

Ways to sneak in exercise throughout your day without much effort…tip number (7)

You brush your teeth everyday? Well hopefully…hehehe, This is what I do; I do leg lifts; called-standing reverse leg lifts or reverse leg raise (lifting that leg behind you). Great for the be-hind!  I don’t know about you but my butt can always use a lift and this is a great way to achieve that.  Stand tall and simply extend your leg behind you.  You know you are doing it right, when you feel the bottom of your glutes tighten.  What I do so I don’t have to count is I do one leg then the other.  So I do right leg for one rep then left leg for one rep and back and forth.  I do them until I am done brushing, about two minutes.  Need more of a challenge?  I will hold each rep up for one or two pumps, then I switch sides.  This I feel gets in the muscle deeper for a nice burn!  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  Easy to do while brushing teeth , washing dishes, watching t.v., waiting to flip those yummy burgers on the grill.  I do this while on computer too.  In fact, I’m doing them now!  Extra bonus: Not only is it fantastic for lifting the butt, it works low abs and low back.  Love that!

Burn Up Those Abs!

Ways to sneak in exercise throughout your day without much effort. (6)

Sit up tall and take in 4-5 deep cleansing breaths. Feel your spine elongating. Roll your shoulders back with each breath. Relax deeper into each breath. Now with your mouth closed take in quick breaths of air (you should feel your tummy extend a little). As you exhale fast through your nose, pull your abs in as if you are avoiding a sucker punch 😉 . You want to feel your abs tightening with each quick exhalation.

I don’t bother counting. I do em until the phone rings, the commercial is over, the tea-pot is ready, or until something grabs my attention. Mostly I do it until I feel a burn and then I try to do a few more past the burn. This is a great exercise to “wake you up”. Lift your spirits so to speak. It’s great for my abs as well as I can also feel it in my low back. It invigorates your whole core! Wake up people…there’s life to live!

Tips and ideas on how to stay fit through out our day…(5)

Does your job entail sitting at a desk for long periods at a time? If so, I really suggest you set a timer for 20 minutes; 30 the longest. You want to get up and move at least one time every 30 minutes. It isn’t good to sit in one place for longer than that. Get up, get your blood moving. Stand up and stretch. Reach up towards the ceiling and then bend at the waist and touch your toes; repeat 5 times. Do calf raises; two sets of 10 repetitions. Stretch up toward the ceiling and with right arm reach up and over to the left; repeat with other arm; do this stretch three times on each side. Take in long deep breaths.

Let’s help our bodies by constantly finding ways to move it. Too long at a desk/sitting can have detrimental effects on our health. Studies have shown people who sit for prolonged times have an increase in cardiovascular issues, diabetes, colon cancer, and even death! Sitting can also have an impact on knees, hip, and all over joint pain, not to leave out the back problems that can arise from too much sitting on your bottom.

So just get moving, keep on moving. If you can’t get a stand up desk at work, try to do as much as possible standing/moving. Talk on the phone while standing. Walk to a colleges office rather than sending email or text. And the very least, give yourself two minutes to stretch every thirty minutes. Use your breaks for walking; take the stairs, light calisthenics. You may find all this new movement will show a lighter you on the scale! Okay let’s take a stand! All rise! 😀

Tips and ideas on how to stay fit… (4)

Ways to sneak in exercise throughout your day without much effort.

Standing in line at the grocery store, bank, Target; anywhere? Do calf raises. Lift up onto ball and toes, up and down. Do them until you feel the burn–no need to count reps. Rest a few seconds and do them again. Great for calves and strengthening feet. I do them bare footed while doing dishes or cooking too!  If you can only sit; plant feet flat on the ground and then lift up on to balls of feet.  Add extra resistance by pressing down on thighs or add a couple of books on top of thighs. Give it a try!