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Fall Fitness: Exercises for the Family Using Stability Balls

By | December 11, 2013

The versatile and fun stability ball offers a host of health and exercise benefits for people of all ages, body types, and physical conditions. From strengthening the back while sitting on one to rigorous and intense full-body workouts, the whole family can enjoy stability ball exercises in the comfort of your home.

Stability balls, thanks to the effort it naturally takes to stabilize yourself while using it, help strengthen your core muscles and improve your balance. While traditional exercises tend to work a few select muscles at a time, stability ball exercises tend to involve a wide range of muscles including small or less frequently used muscles. The result is well-rounded fitness and a plethora of exercise possibilities.

It’s important to remember that stability balls are not toys and everyone should take a moment to learn about proper uses and potential health benefits of various stability ball exercises.

Stability Ball Exercises for Adults

Adults and teenagers can use the ball to stretch out, work on balance, lessen the load of certain workouts, and to ensure that a variety of muscles get worked out. Some very popular and healthy stability ball exercises include:

  • Push-ups
  • Squats
  • Planking
  • Stomach crunches
  • Side-splits

Stability Ball Exercises for Seniors

Elderly people can easily use an exercise ball to avoid dangerous free weights and to modify traditional exercises. You can use the ball as a lightweight medicine ball for arm and core exercises, or as an overhead weight while doing squats. You can also try hip circles: sit on the ball and gyrate the hips to strengthen the hip flexors, an important part of mobility for seniors.

Children’s Exercises on the Stability Ball

One simple move is to have the child lay on their stomach on the ball and extend arms and legs out. They can have fun pretending that they are flying while actually improving their spinal health and core muscles. Crawling with the stability ball, with your feet and shins against the ball and hands on the floor, also makes a fun and healthy game for children.

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Our Top Five Foam Roller Exercises

By | December 4, 2013

The foam roller is one of the greatest exercise tools due to how easy it is to use and how many exercises can be done with one. This is a great asset for athletes, children and just for an at-home workout. Many physical therapists recommend foam rollers for patients dealing with muscle pains.

The following are five exercises using the foam roller that we highly recommend:

  1. Calves – Sit on the floor and position your hands just slightly behind you. Place the foam roller below the center of your calf. Once in position, you’ll want to press down onto your calf muscle using your weight and lifting your hips from the floor. You’ll want to roll back and forth from your ankle to your knee slowly in ten to 30 second increments for each leg.
  1. Hamstrings – This position is similar to the one you get into when working out your calves. However, instead of placing the foam roller beneath your calf, you position it underneath your hamstring. Roll from your hip to the back of your knee for ten to 30 seconds.
  1. Quads – Lay with your stomach to the floor. Get into a plank position, supporting yourself on your forearms. The foam roller should be positioned under your hips. You’ll want to roll the foam roller from your hips down to your knees and back again.
  1. Abs – Lay out flat on the floor. Place your foam roller on the floor beneath your lower abs. Once you are in this position, stretch your legs out so that your feet are touching the floor. Walk backwards by using your arms in order to push. The foam roller should roll over your abs. Reverse your direction by pulling with your arms.
  1. Lower back – Sit on the floor and place the foam roller beneath your lower back, crossing your arms in front of you. Lean back by raising your hips off of the floor. Keep the weight on your lower back. Then shift your weight to one side without putting weight on your spine. Roll over your lower back area and then hold for ten to 30 seconds. Repeat this exercise for the other side as well.

These are exercises just to help you get started. There are countless exercises you can do with a foam roller that will stretch your entire body. Shop Althea Medical Group for the right foam roller to suit your specific needs.

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Stretches Desk Workers Should Do Everyday

By | November 27, 2013

For many people, their job involves sitting in front of a computer. Lots of sitting. But this can be a dangerous thing. In a 2010 study done by the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, mortality rates of those who spent six hours a day or more were compared to those who spent three or fewer hours sitting down. When taking into account other factors such as diet, the results were strong: a 34% higher mortality rate for women and a 17% higher rate in men.

So what can be done to try and combat these findings? The answer is simple: Exercise. Many people exercise during the evening or before work, and that is incredibly important, but sitting too long without activity still leaves people susceptible to these adverse effects. Below we’ve listed out five stretches you can do without leaving work to help break the cycle of constantly sitting.

1.    Shoulder Shrugs

One of the easiest stretches you can do, and can be one of the best for mental sanity as well. Stand up with your feet about shoulder width apart. Take a few deep breaths to help relax your body. While taking another deep breath, shrug your shoulders as high as you can, hold for 3-5 seconds and release. Repeat this five times. Next, slowly shake your head to further release the tension that might be built up. Shake up and down slowly then move to side to side. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself funny questions during the exercise, if nothing else to keep yourself relaxed and in the moment.

2.    Stretch Your Hip Flexors

This is a stretch you can do multiple times a day that can be beneficial for your entire lower body. Simply stand behind your chair (try to use a chair that is firmly on the ground), place both hands on the top of the chair and step back with your left leg. Keep your glutes tight as you start to bend down, keeping your back straight and just bending at the knee. Hold when you start to feel the stretch in the front of the left hip. Keep holding that position for 15-20 seconds before repeating on the right side.

3.    Give Yourself a Hug

This stretch helps your back and your self-esteem all at once! Stand up and take three deep breaths. Place your hands on your opposite shoulder and squeeze as you give yourself a hug. Hold your hands in place and take three more deep breaths. On each exhale, focus on the area behind your shoulder blades and releasing the tension. Feel free to repeat a few more times on an extra stressful or difficult day!

4.    Stretch to the Ceiling

Stand up with your feet shoulder width apart. Take a deep breath and as you exhale, stretch your arms up towards the ceiling and interlock your fingers. Let your palms face towards the ceiling and slowly tilt your head to look at the ceiling as well. If you feel more comfortable, close your eyes as you start to breathe deeply. The goal of this exercise is to stretch your upper body but also to relieve tension with each time you inhale and exhale.

5.    Don’t Eat Lunch at your Desk

Less an exercise as a good rule of thumb, but try to avoid eating at your desk whenever possible. If you bring your lunch to work each day, eat in the cafeteria or in a common area if possible to have a walk before your meal. If you are eating out, try to walk whenever possible. If you absolutely have to eat at your desk, try to take a walk afterwards to give your body a little exercise and your mind a little break.

It is easy for all of us to get in a routine at work, but simple exercises like the ones above can help us break that cycle, refreshing our bodies and our minds. When you are ready to take your workplace exercises to the next level, shop our Tension Bands or swap out your office chair for one of our Stability Balls.

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The Top Stability Ball Activities for Children

By | November 20, 2013

Whether stuck inside on a rainy day, getting kids moving in the classroom or just making sure they are getting a little more exercise when watching TV, using Stability Ball activities can be a great way to help kids exercise without ever realizing it! Below are a few activities for children to do that will not only be fun, but provide essential exercise they need as they grow.

One very important tip that can always be difficult with children is making sure you have a Stability Ball that is the right size. As a tip, select a Stability Ball that has the child’s hips and knees at a 90 degree angle with feet flat on the floor while they are sitting.

  • Sit-and-Balance

This is a great starting exercise that can especially be fun when done in groups. Have the child sit straight and lift a foot a few inches off the group. Have the child keep their abdominal muscles tight to work on balance and stability. As time goes on and they improve, really test them by lifting both feet off the ground. But be careful! The first few times they try this activity, you’ll want to spot them and make sure they don’t fall!

  • The Superhero

Every child dreams of being a super hero, give them a chance to pretend and exercise all at once! Have the child lie down on their stomach and slowly extend their arms and legs so they are fully extended. Expect “whooshing” sounds to come from them as they pretend they are Superman or Supergirl! If they struggle at first with this exercise, start them with their right arm and left leg out at once and alternating from there.

  • Walking-the-Plank

No pirates here! This exercise will help balance and upper body strength but can be difficult to do. Have the child lay on the ball on their stomachs. From there, they will roll forward until their hands are supporting them and their feet are on top of the Stability Ball. Slowly work back to the original position and repeat. Ultimately work up to repetitions of ten and then up to 3 sets.

These activities will be a great way to get your child excited about exercising in a completely unique way. If you are ready to purchase a Stability Ball for your child, look at our options to choose the one that is best for you. If you aren’t sure or have questions, give us a call at 404-217-3800 and we’ll be happy to assist you in any way that we can!

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SLAP-PENZ

By | April 28, 2013

AMG Slap Penz

This week we are highlighting an item we brought on board a month ago, called Slap-Penz. It’s the future of pens, not just a fade! This slap bracelet pen is practical and functional in any industry. You can wear it on your wrist, you can slap it on your purse or backpack, it goes where ever you go and it’s conveniently available when you need it. The slap-penz bracelet is made out of 100% soft and durable silicon and is safe for kids. It comes standard with black ink and holds about the same amount of ink as any standard pen. A variety of ink colors and replaceable cartridges will be available soon.

Not only is Slap-Penz convenient and practical, the company also gives back. With every purchase you make of the Slap-Penz, you will also be donating 10% of the total sale to 1 of 3 charities; Pink Ribbon International (supports breast cancer awareness and research), Reading is Fundamental (supports childhood literacy) or Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (not for profit hospital for children). It’s another way of Slap-Penz making it happen not just for you, but for the community as well!

If you haven’t check out Slap-Penz yet, do so today! These pens retail for $3.25 each.

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