Articles on toning exercises

5 Home Exercises for Toned Thighs

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Excess thigh fat has always been an area of concern; ironically it is also an area that takes longest time to get toned. The best solution to shed excess weight from thighs is to follow a strict regimen of healthy diet and exercise. While you get on a healthy diet here are some exercises that can help you melt away that extra fat from your thighsThese simple exercises can be done easily and will take only 10 minutes to complete.Side Plank with Knee Tuck:Side Plank with knee tuck is an exercise that works for your glutes and thighs along with the shoulders, triceps and abs. It is a variation of the traditional plank, wherein, you get into a plank position on your singe elbow and add leg tuck to it. This twist adds more explosive dynamics that works wonder for your core and legs. Besides, it also helps in toning of your upper arms over the time. Do about 25 repetitions on each side for effective results.Bridge with Squeeze:Adding an inner thigh squeeze to your basic bridge will help tone your inner thighs. Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip-distance apart. You can place a cushion or a ball between your knees. Push up into a bridge. Without raising or lowering your pelvis, slowly squeeze your cushion. Every time you rise your hips squeeze the cushion at least 20 times. Minimum of 3 sets for this exercise are recommended for best results.Side lunges:Side lunge is a complete lower body workout. It targets your inner & outer thigh, hips, glutes and the calves. You can add a barbell for mores resistance. The video below shows the exercise with a barbell but if you are a beginner, you can performance this exercise without barbell as well.Sumo Squat with Arm Raise:Sumo squats are one of the best exercises for toning inner thighs and glutes. Besides its thigh benefits, sumo squats help build muscles, which in turn improve calorie burn. Squats are an effective muscle strengthening exercise that helps improve stability and balance. The video below shows exercise with dumbbells, but if you are a beginner you can remove the prop and do the exercise.While you work your way out for toned thighs with these exercises, make sure you include healthy diet in your weight loss regimen to reap the maximum benefits from your workout.

5 Best Exercises for Weight Loss

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Exercise is a weight loss booster as it accelerates burning of calories and the fastest mean to burn fat and lose weight. You can choose exercise according to your body type for losing weight from specific areas like glutes, thighs, belly etc. Playing sports or lifting weight is equivalently beneficial in dropping some extra pounds from the body. More muscles induce higher metabolic rate and exercise helps build muscle for you to burn more calories while resting.Read about how to burn calories in 20 minutes. The idea behind losing weight with exercise is to cut down on accumulated fat. As our body needs fuel for daily functioning we have to eat a certain amount of calories to meet the requirement. Diet can make us lose weight but exercise accelerates the weight loss process.Get information on exercise or diet?which one to trust. Balanced diet with exercise is the best combination for weight loss. Start your exercise plan according to your body type and shape up your self from losing the hanging belly to bulging biceps and a toned body.Shake yourself and get started with your exercise plan for quick weight loss and define your own body. Here are some exercises for weight loss.1.Planks: Start your exercise routine with plank exercises as it warms up the body while stabilizing the muscles. Planks are one of the best exercise for building abs and building core strength. Core is required in anything that we do from lifting, walking etc. Strong core with help move the body with ease and be active for intense workouts. Most of us have hanging bellies which start getting conditioned and toned with plank exercise. Include side planks to further increase the benefits.2.Squats: Toned legs get many eyeballs rolling down and squats is a super exercise to work the legs. Less people work on their lower body which makes the body look uneven. Toned legs will give you are better and confident walk. Squats work the entire body and can be done in variations. It tones and burns fat in the glutes, thighs and hamstring areas. You can use weights to make squats intense or can do it using body. Check whether you are doing the right posture otherwise you could complain for back ache.3.Push ups: The exercise works the upper body and increases the strength of forearms, wrist, upper arms, shoulders and chest. They accelerate the blood flow in the body and improves heart health. Using various grips like diamond pushups, close grip, wide grip benefit and work different muscle in the upper body. If you are a women you can do women pushups to slowly strengthen your upper body.4.Russian Twist: If fat on your sides and belly is troubling you and you want to increase your endurance then do Russian Twist. This exercise works the core and obliques working for a flat and defined waist and stomach. Include the exercise in your routine and burn fat around you belly. Use swiss balls or snay thing to hold between your hands to increase the intensity of the exercise.5.Burpees: It is a great aerobic exercise that works the entire body and tests your guts too. It involves your legs, back, torso, neck and arms. It involves in jumping, squatting and stretching in one exercise. It accelerates the calorie burn as it involves many muscles and involves lots of fast movements. To intensify the exercise set time limit to perform a definite number of repetitions.

Weight Loss Exercises for Women

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Weight loss is a simple combination of healthy eating and regular exercising. Most women find it easier to diet than exercise simply because controlling what you eat is more convenient than actually taking time out to exercise. Some people see results easily with watching what you eat but most have to start exercising to lose weight or have been strictly recommended by the doctor for better health.Before we talk about which are the best weight loss exercises for women let us highlight two important benefits of exercising. Working out at least 20 minutes a day helps the body absorb the food better resulting in better regulation of your metabolism. Besides what most of us don't know about exercising is that it helps release “happy hormones” in the body that helps naturally stimulate your mood helping you destress, reduce anxiety and in general feel good about your self. If you dont like exercising alone you can get your friends together to help you get started on a routine. Here are a few exercise techniques that you help you get started immediately.CardioTraining: By far the best exercise for women to lose weight. Cardio is an aerobic form of exercise that involves your heart working more to pump blood which therefore will burn more calories besides keeping your heart strong.Equipment free cardio exercises for women:– Running: Running is an excellent cardio exercises. Running with proper hydration can help you shed that extra weight by burning serious calories. A 60 kg person can easily burn 300 calories in 30 minutes. Running tips can help you not only burn effective calories but also to prevent injury while running.– Ghost/Invisible Skipping: Simplest, yet most effective exercises you can do to burn calories and to increase cardiovascular endurance. Jumping rope can match a total body workout in just 15 to 20 minutes.Whether it is floor or step aerobics, cycling, skipping, treadmill walking or running, or elliptical trainer, cardio exercises is an effective way of burning calories but remember that overtraining can lead to injury and even make you hit weight loss plateau which is difficult to break. Strength Training: Weight loss exercises for women tend to have a different focus than men. While men concentrate on building muscular chest, biceps and defining abs, women focus their attention on getting a thinner waist, toning upper arms, getting a flat stomach and shaping hips and thighs. A strength training routine with a good mix of exercises customized to an individual’s needs can help get you the ideal figure.Strength training exercises that address target areas for women:– Thighs: Lunges and Squats are best for working out both inner and outer thigh. Lunges – a compound leg directly improves your performance of natural, everyday movements besides sculpting your legs. Add variation like side lunges, lunges with rotation or even dumbbell lunges to hail additional benefits. Dumbbell lunges works on “core” muscles (i.e. abs, obliques, lower back) to help core strengthening as well. Hips: When people think of training glutes, they think of standing leg Kick back as a best exercise. When doing glute kick back, make sure to get a full range of motion by brining your leg as far forward and then extending leg back as far as possible. Following a simple cardio & strength training routine for about 20 minutes a day is enough to start feeling the difference with in a week! Besides it will help boost your immunity, improve your blood flow and make you feel & look younger.

5 Exercises That Don’t Actually Help You Burn Fat

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
You would think that if you were exercising, it would make a dent in your fat loss. But that’s not always the case. Not all exercises are made equal, or labelled as best exercise to burn fat .Moreover some are literally useless at helping you burn any significant calories.Here’s a list of the top 5. But before we get into those infamous 5 exercises, let me explain to you the basis of calorie burning through exercise.Get to know more about ways to burn 100 calories in 20 minutes. For you to lose weight, you need to burn calories. To burn the most calories, you need to move big muscle, and move it through a large distance.As a simple example, take running. You move each muscle in your body through the distance that you run. And you move it fast. That is the trifecta of calorie burning- move big muscle, move it further, and move it fast. Read to know more about tips on running form.Now, let’s start with the useless 5: 1. The Sit Up: This exercise is probably the ‘favourite’ among those trying to lose weight or trying to reduce their belly. While there is no question that the mighty sit-up does work those abdominal muscles, but the calories burned from doing sit ups is so small, that you would need to do hundreds of thousands of sit ups to make any dent in your weight loss. Why it doesn’t work: Abs are little exercise in your torso, and this exercise targets those muscles. If you look at the amount of muscle that you move in this exercise, it’s not much, and you move it only through a small distance. So, the effective calorie burn is small. Researchers at the University of Virginia found that it would take 250,000 sit ups for you to burn 1 lb, that’s less than half a kg of fat. 2. Twisting: A really common sight in gyms is people twisting vigorously on those round little platforms or with a bar across their shoulders, because their gym trainer told them it would help loosen the fat on their sides. More than burning fat, they’re putting people at risk of injury Why it doesn’t work: When you twist around your waist, you are using some of your core muscles, but since your muscles are not working against gravity, so it’s easy to keep doing it, but you’re not burning many calories. And in some cases of vigorous twisting, you might be putting your back at risk of injury.If twisting was really going to help people burn fat, then we could solve world obesity problems by distributing those ‘twister machines’. 3. The Vibrating Machine: This one is fortunately waning in popularity. In the 80s and 90s, the vibrating machine was a huge rage. You stand on this platform, with a belt around you, and when you turn the machine on, it shakes the belt vigorously. Another ‘magic fat melter’ machine that failed to live up to its promise. Why it doesn’t work: In this one your whole body’s muscles may be vibrating, but there are two problems, 1: Your muscles are moving through tiny distances, so its minimal work 2: The machine is doing the work. You’re just resting on the belt. So, where’s the calorie burn? 4. Toe Touching: The toe touch is a popular yoga exercise. Every school kid does 100s of these during PT class. Somehow the word’s spread, that toe touching helps you lose weight. While being a yoga exercise, I’m sure it has its physical and physiological benefits, but if you’re doing toe touching just to lose weight, please stop! Why it doesn’t work: Okay, so it seems like you’re moving a lot of muscle, and you are moving your whole upper body up and down, but the muscle that you’re really work are some of those abs, which are tiny muscles, so resulting in little calorie burn. And if you’re short on flexibility, this exercise might actually put your lower back at risk of injury. 5. Morning Walker: This machine is a really popular gadget being sold these days. From the late night TV shopping shows to the hottest e-commerce sites are doing brisk business with the ‘morning walker’ machine, but it’s not making anyone lose weight. Imagine lying down in the room, while the machines moves you legs. How much of a calorie burn are you really expecting? If you’re trying to lose weight, you can’t be that lazy. Learn to know more about ways to lose weight. The only people that may be allowed to really use this kind of a machine are those who may be medically immobile, but if you can walk, then you better be walking or better yet running! Why it doesn’t work: This one is really not even worth explaining why! You’re lying down, you’re not really moving- that’s why!Hence the best mantra to stay fit and healthy is to bring change in your eating habits and simultaneously to your exercise routine. Having said that,don't let any of the market gimmicks play with your health in long run. Be aware of what you are practising in your lifestyle, have certain logic behind it because "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." which can deteriorate your health.

Work on This Muscle to Burn More Fat

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Do muscles burn fat?The human body will burn more calories to maintain a pound of muscle than it will to maintain a pound of fat. Therefore, the more muscle you build, the more calories your body will naturally burn each day at rest, and this will improve your overall fat loss progress.How Many Calories Does Muscle Mass REALLY Burn?Muscle is an active tissue that is constantly renewing itself, therefore requiring energy (calories).One pound of muscle burns approximately 5-6 calories per day at rest. This would mean if you build 10lbs of muscle it would lead to energy consumption of 50-60 extra calories per day.There are 2 larger main muscle groups of the body. If you work on these muscles, you can keep your metabolism high.1. LegsLeg muscles are the biggest and strongest muscles of our body. They are the largest muscle group. For most people it is quite hard to gain immediate muscle mass on the legs. And unlike biceps or chest, you never see immediate ‘pump’ in your legs post workout, so it can be quite frustrating at times. But working on your leg muscles will make it easier to keep the fat off and metabolic rate high. In fact, strong legs even contribute to muscle gain for the rest of the body. Most of cardio or aerobic exercises are concentrated on the legs. These exercises will help in toning the muscles of the legs. Aerobic exercise is very important for overall health, stress relief, and conditioning of the muscles. You should even focus on heavy weight exercises for the legs such as leg presses and weighted squats for substantial benefit.2. The Back:The back muscles are the other large muscle group in our body. These muscles are very important to our health since they increase overall upper body strength, other than keeping away back pains and age related injuries. Strong, active back muscles burn fat effectively since they are a large muscle group. They even give good overall shape to the body. Focus on basic movements like deadlifts, pull-ups, chin-ups and rows for maximum gain and benefit.Which of the two muscle burns more fat?There is simply more muscle fiber packed into the body from the hips down, and this includes the muscle group that enables the legs to perform vital movements. Leg muscles have the potential to burn more fat because of their size. So focus on your leg muscles to increase your fat burn. But back muscles are also important, so do not skip those either.

Exercises for Good Sex

Dr. Vishwas Virmani, Physiotherapist
Most people agree that regular exercise is good for their health, but did you know that exercise makes for better sex as well? There are numerous exercises that can be very beneficial and better prepare the body for certain sexual situations.Today we are going to discuss 5 basic exercises that will enhance your sexual experience. Of course it is imperative that these exercises are performed correctly and on a regular basis to have the right impact. Here are 5 exercise options to consider:1. Swimming – You may not consider swimming an exercise because it is so much fun, but it is and it can do wonders for flexibility and overall strength. Swimming also increases blood flow to all the right areas. Good sex often calls for endurance and stamina. Swimming can provide both.2. Cardio – Cardio exercises also enhance blood flow to the penis and the virgina. Increased blood flow makes for more powerful erections in men and orgasms in women. Good cardio is excellent for your all around health, but enhancing sex is certainly an added benefit.3. Pelvic Thrusts – Needless to say thrusting the pelvic is an essential part of sexual activity. Pelvic thrust exercises work all those important areas like hamstrings, calves, and gluts. More stamina and flexibility are benefits from this exercise.4. Kegels – Kegels are typically associated with women and urinary issues, but they are actually beneficial to sexual activities as well. Both men and women can perform kegels. In omen strengthening the pelvic muscles leads to impeccable orgasms. In men kegels are believed to help men with premature ejaculation issues.5. Hinge – The hinge exercise is where you rest on your knees and then bend backwards to a 45 degree angle, hold it, and then move forward and repeat. This exercise has been known to induce more staying power during sex.

5 Best Exercises to Reduce Back Pain

Dr. Vishwas Virmani, Physiotherapist
Lower back pain is a very common problem among adults and most people will suffer from back pain sometime throughout their life. Research has shown that problems related to the back are the most common reason people take time off work in the U.K. Back related problems are also the most common reason people seek treatment with an osteopath.Lower back pain is often caused by overuse and muscle strains or injury. Other factors that increase your risk for low back pain include getting older, having a family history of lower back pain, sitting for long periods, and lifting or pulling heavy objects.Regular exercise is one of the best ways of keeping back pain at bay. Even a gentle home exercise program can help decrease low back pain. It may also help prevent re-injury to your back and reduce the risk and severity of disability if you get a back injury.Below are five simple exercises anyone can do at home without any special equipment to help you look after your back properly and keep you as active as possible.1. Straight Leg Raises– Lie on your back with one leg straight and one knee bent– Tighten your abdominal muscles slightly to stabilize the lower back– Slowly lift the straight leg up to just above the height of the opposite bent knee and hold 1-5 seconds– Lower the leg slowly– Repeat 10 times– Repeat on the other side with the opposite leg straight and opposite knee bent2. Knee To Chest Stretch– Lie on your back with your knees bent– Raise one leg and pull it up towards your chest as far as possible– Hold your knee in this position for 1-5 seconds– Lower the leg back to the starting position– Repeat 5 times with each knee3. Pelvic Lift– Lie on your back with your knees bent– Slowly raise your buttocks and pelvis off the floor as high as possible– Hold this position for 1-5 seconds– Lower your buttocks and pelvis back down to the floor– Repeat this 10 times4. Knee Rolls/Swings– Lie on your back with your knees bent and the two knees/legs touching– Turn your head to the right– Turn or roll both of your knees, keeping your feet on the floor, over to the left as far as possible– Hold for 1-5 seconds– Return the knees and head to the centre– Repeat to the opposite side(s)– Repeat 5 times in direction5. Back Extension Stretch– Lie on your front on a firm surface– Place your hands palm down and the elbows bent under your shoulders– Now straighten your arms raising your upper trunk off the floor so your elbows are straight– Keep your pelvis and legs on the floor allowing your back to arch as much possible– Hold for 1-5 seconds– Relax your body and return to the starting position– Repeat 5-10 timesThese 5 simple exercises if done regularly will help keep your back and whole spine more supple and less prone to injury. Remember though don’t continue any of the exercises if they cause discomfort or irritate any recovering injury or ache. If ever in any doubt or if your lower back pain is not easing seek professional advice as soon as possible.

Exercises Good for Knees

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
There is a lot of hearsay about exercises negatively affecting your knee and other joints among people. Recent research says that exercises can be good for your knee. Researchers at Monash University in Australia found that studies on the correlation between exercise and knee pain to be conflicting; with some studies showing negative effects, some showing positive, and some being neutral. Overall the study indicates exercise is beneficial for the knees.Several factors can lead to a bad knee due to being over weight and putting extra tension on your knees due to weight, old age, physical exertion, running on the metal and some other factors. But gradual and light exercises for the knees and the muscles around it can lower the pain and strengthen it further. Whether you walk, run, sit, jump or stand, your knees are used in all these by bearing the tension of the body and the movement. Below are some exercises for knees that can help you out.Strengthen your KneePerform exercises to strengthen the quadriceps and hamstrings to support the knee and exert less stress on your knees. Doing sit ups and lunges can be done for these muscles to make them share the tension of the knees. Laying down on the back and doing leg lifts will help reduce the pain and strengthen it. Squats and some swimming pool exercises can be beneficial in reducing the pain. Sit by the pool and cycle your legs, standing in the pool and doing kickback exercises will help you with the knee.Although, these exercises will strengthen the knees but if it hurts or have further problems avoid these exercises. Consult your doctor or a fitness specialist, for a tailored exercise program suitable for you. Avoid running on the metallic track while running outside and opt for the muddy to reduce the  stress on them. Avoid heavy weight exercises for less impact on your knees. Give rest to your knees on weekends to let it recover and repair tissues and muscles around it.