Articles from March 2010

Shoulders

Having beautiful, well-defined, rounded shoulders can make us feel sexy and alluring.  Shoulders are both a symbol of strength (the weight of the world on my shoulders) and a symbol of eroticism.  Developing beautiful shoulders can be accomplished with the addition of a few simple exercises to your fitness regimen.

shoulderpress 300x199 ShouldersWell-defined shoulders enhance the look of your entire body.  Shoulders that have been properly exercised help to make your waist appear smaller and can make hips seem to disappear.  The military press is the most well-known and effective shoulder exercise.  Using a bar or dumbbells, you lift your arms straight above your head.  Don’t be concerned about building bulky or broad shoulders; unless you use a lot of weight and have a lot of testosterone, that won’t happen.  Do multiple reps with a small amount of weight for the best results.

lateralraise 300x199 ShouldersAnother excellent exercise is the lateral side raise.  Holding dumbbells in each of your hands start with your hands at your side.  Remember to use good posture.  Raise your arms straight up until your arms are perpendicular to your body, then slowly release and lower your arms.  You can also do a modified lateral raise with dumbbells while sitting on a chair or bench.  This works your deltoid muscle that runs from your shoulder up to your neck. For this exercise you don’t need a lot of weights. I’d recommend depending on your level of fitness, you start with 2 1/2 to 5 lbs. weights.

Pushups will also help define your shoulders even as they work your pectorals, so pushups are an excellent exercise that belongs in every fitness regimen.  Be warned, shoulder injuries are very difficult to heal from, so it is important that you move slowly. Start out with very light weights until you become accustomed to the  motion.  also make sure you stretch your shoulder muscles and warm them up before you work out.

Some good stretching and muscle warming exercises include shrugging your shoulders (lift your shoulders up toward your ears and bring them back down). Make big and small circles with your arms, and reaching up and out with your arms to stretch the shoulder muscles.  If you do get an injury or experience pain while exercising, stop immediately.  Most muscle aches can be soothed with alternating ice and heat packs.  Consult with your physician about taking ibuprofen if the pain is severe.

Well-defined shoulders not only make you look healthier, but give you the freedom to wear sexy, off the shoulder blouses and strapless dresses.  When you feel sexy and attractive, you are motivated to continue making healthy and positive changes to your physique.  Working on building more beautiful shoulders is one giant step toward a mentally and physically healthier you.

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Muscle Definition

Achieving muscle definition is a personal matter as this is dependent on the individual.  For some, muscle definition is  having bulging biceps and triceps and for others, muscle definition may simply mean firm, toned muscles with sexy definition.

The first place to start in attaining muscle definition is by assessing and addressing your emotional, mental, and physical health.  Making changes to the way you eat, the way you handle stress – even your level of physical fitness are all extremely important areas you must address.  Increasing the amount of protein, particularly protein from fish that are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, will make attaining muscle definition that much easier.

Once you’ve developed your goals for both your physical and mental health start exercising regularly.  Improve your endurance.  Build an exercise regimen that includes aerobic exercise, weight training, and yoga and/or Pilates. Focus first on your core muscles – your abdominal wall.

Working with weights and weight lifting doesn’t mean building body-builder muscles.  By using just a little weight and a lot of repetition, you will build definition in the muscle you have without making your muscles big or manly looking.  As you begin to see the changes in your body from your better diet and your increased activity, you’ll see where you want muscle definition.  For some women over 40, having well-defined arms instead of sagging triceps allow you to still wear sleeveless dresses and blouses.  For others, firm, well-defined calves and thighs make wearing dresses and shorter skirts more alluring.  Still others want shoulders, neck, and even facial muscles to have better definition.

There are exercises for every muscle group; sticking your tongue out repetitively helps tighten your neck and prevent the appearance of a double chin.  Lifting weights or soup cans can tighten your arm muscles and keep them looking toned in summer.  The biggest advantage to focusing on achieving muscle definition, however, is the added health benefit of increased metabolism.  When you build and define muscle, you are also improving your calorie burning ability, increasing your bone density, and improving the health of your joints and ligaments.

As with any exercise, consult with your physician before you begin to lift weights.  Make sure that you have no hidden health conditions that would cause complications.  Focus on the muscle groups that make you happy – don’t try to compare yourself to anyone else or try to live up to some media-enhanced expectation in a magazine.  Just be the best YOU that you can be.

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