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Flatter Abs by Spring

Spring is near. That means it is time to work on that little bulge that has been taking up residence around the midsection all winter. These several exercises can help you shed that excess turkey weight and flatten out that stomach in time for beach season. As with any workout routine, be sure to consult a professional before beginning and always warm up properly to avoid injury.

Planks

For this abdominal exercise, you will need to lie supine (face down) on the floor.  Prop your upper body up on your forearms so that your elbows make a ninety degree angle and are positioned directly below your shoulders. Now lift your body up off the floor so that your lower body is supported by your toes, while your upper body remains supported by your elbows. Your body should basically be a straight line, with no arch or drooping through your back. Hold this position for 60 seconds (yes, 1 minute), then lower your body back to the floor. Repeat twice.

Side Planks

This exercise is a variation on the previous one, and begins in the same starting position. Once you are positioned properly, roll to your right side, keeping your torso supported with your right forearm. You will have to raise your hips and roll your feet so that your left foot is on top of your right. As in the plank, your body will be a straight line, but this time you will be on one side. Place your left hand on your hip and hold the plank position for 30 seconds. Return to start and repeat on the left side.

Standing Crossover

We thought you might be tired of doing all of your abdominal exercises on the floor, so we came up with a standing one.  Position your feet a few inches apart. Put your arms out to the sides and bend your elbows at a ninety degree angle so your fingertips are pointing to the ceiling and your palm are facing forward. Contract your abdominals and lift your right knee toward your left elbow, while at the same time bringing your left elbow down toward your right knee. Touch the two joints together, pause, then return to start. Switch sides and repeat 20 times on each leg. Want to ramp it up?  Jump up when bringing your knee to your elbow.

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Running Quotes

Running teaches all of us that goal-setting, persistence and tackling one mile at a time can lead to unimaginable achievements. Lessons are learned on the road, day by day, from personal feedback and experience.

As Dr. Jeff Brown, a Harvard psychologist and an author of “The Winner’s Brain,” said: “Negotiating a marathon requires many of the same mental characteristics needed in life. You have to control your emotions at times, activate your motivation when you’re down, and develop resiliency in the face of difficult conditions.”

Decades ago, Dr. George Sheehan, the philosopher-king of running, often said, “Success rests in having the courage and endurance and, above all, the will to become the person you were destined to be.”

When we run, we will ourselves to be the best we can be. That is all that matters. Our tribe expects nothing less.

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Exercise for Stress

By Lizzie Nichols

Things are changing in my life. I quit my job and am going to graduate school. This means moving out of my place by the end of the month, storing my furniture for the summer, and figuring out where I’m going to live and how I’m going to support myself when I get back in August. To say I’m a little stressed out is an understatement. I feel completely overwhelmed and a little freaked out by all the change coming at once. “Have you been exercising?” My dad just asked me, as I was explaining how I wasn’t sure how I would get everything done by May 31st.  My dad is big on exercising for your mental health.  I got off the phone with him and put my shoes on to go for a walk. Just an hour walk around the neighborhood totally changed my mood. I started out practically in tears and got home with a whole new frame of mind. The endorphins must have kicked in.

When we exercise, the brain produces more of these good feeling endorphins. According to this New York Times article, exercise actually restructures our brain to remain calm in stressful situations. This was news to me. I knew about endorphins, but I didn’t know that exercise would actually change the way my brain handled stress. This happens only after exercising regularly for several weeks, but at a certain point, changes do take place in the brain.

Based on my stress level today, I’m going to have to make time for the gym.

http://www.mindtools.com/stress/Defenses/Exercise.htm

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