Tag Archives: exercise

Routine Refresh: 5 Tips To Spice Up Your Workout For Spring

With the start of Spring, it is a great time to reboot your current routine. Warmer, longer days are on the horizon, winter clothes are being put away for the season, and many people are looking forward to more spending more time outdoors. Whether you’re looking for ways to jumpstart your workout routine or want to switch up your current program, these tips will help you set a new mindset for Spring.

Change Your Daily Routine

Switch up the things you do on a regular basis. Opt for a bike or a long walk instead of driving if you live near work or school. Use the stairs instead of the elevator. Set a timer to get up and walk around for a few minutes each hour to keep blood circulating. Add a short strength and balance-building workout to your morning routine using our wide selection of fitness and therapy products. Simple tweaks like these are the easiest ways to add to your regular activity levels.

Add Full Range Of Motion

Full range of motion exercises are especially important for those who lead a more sedentary lifestyle and sit at a desk for most of the day. By moving as far as anatomically possibly during a given exercise, you are getting the most out of each move. For example, when doing a bicep curl, start and end each rep with your arms straight. These movements will help keep muscles and joints flexible and stable.

Utilize Active Rest Days

It is important to let your body rest and recover however, all rest was not created equal. Having passive rest days, think movies and lounging around on the couch, is not the most beneficial way to use your days off. Instead, incorporating active rest days into your weekly routine will keep you on track and allow for better recovery of your muscles. Active rest can include a low-intensity activity such as stretching, walking, or even exercising at home. Items like our Inversion Tables allow you to increase flexibility and circulation in just a few minutes each day from the comfort of your living room.

Join A Program

Motivation and knowledge are two huge factors when it comes to sticking with a regular workout schedule. While some people need help finding and keeping their motivation, others may struggle with the knowledge of what exercises they should be doing. There are numerous resources on the internet these days to help keep you on track. Join a program that focuses on a healthy lifestyle rather than a crash diet. Often times, you will find communities within these programs that can offer motivation and support. Group classes at your gym, fitness studios, online guides like The Daily Burn, and YouTube offer fitness and health programs for all levels.

Find A Partner

There is a reason so many fitness communities and instructors advocate for the buddy system. Accountability is a powerful force when it comes to sticking to your goals and finding motivation or support when you need it. Friendly competition to reach your daily, weekly, or monthly goals can also add an extra boost to your regular routine.  Whether your partner goes to the gym with you or you check-in with each other every day, having someone invested in your health routine, asking if you’ve hit your goal for the day, will keep you on track.

To learn more about how to jumpstart your workout routine this spring, visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist who will help you find the right exercise and fitness products specifically catered to your needs.

17 Ways Exercise Makes You A Happier Person

We all know how important exercise is to weight loss. Although, there are many more benefits in addition to weight loss when it comes to maintaining an active lifestyle and as we age, it is even more important to make movement and exercise part of our day.

Here are a few benefits of exercise:

  • Increase blood flow
  • Decrease risk of heart disease
  • Boost high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol
  • Decrease unhealthy triglycerides
  • Improve your mood with as little as 5 minutes of exercise
  • Increase muscle strength and endurance

The health benefits are difficult to brush aside. The simple fact is that we must find time to exercise and move. Thankfully, this doesn’t mean hours spent at the gym. Find out how you can be a happier person by creating (and sticking to) a regular workout routine with this helpful infographic.

How Do You Exercise & Relax: Optimal Solutions For Your Overall Wellness

Finding time to exercise and relax during our hectic schedules can be difficult. These both play an important role in staying healthy and pain-free.

Exercise doesn’t necessarily mean hours spent at a gym. By adding simple exercises up to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, you’ll relax away stiffness and relieve stress. When we carve out time to work on ourselves, we improve our mood, sleep quality, brainpower, and overall happiness. We also help keep pain away before it starts by strengthening and conditioning muscles that are prone to injury.

Paired with regular exercises, relaxation through massage can improve your health. Studies show treating yourself to regular massages can have a tremendously positive impact on your overall wellness. Whether you are incorporating massage into time at the office, while on the road, or at home, you’ll ease tension and find relief throughout the day.

The products below can help you upgrade your exercise routine and your relaxation regimen.

Exercise Products For Improved Health

  • Inversion Tables: Decompress your spine while improving posture and increasing flexibility and circulation. Inversion tables also help with sciatica relief.
  • Foam Rollers: Our versatile foam rollers help improve flexibility, range of motion, while relieving muscle tightness. They are also an effective and inexpensive way to gain the health benefits of massage.
  • CoreStretch: Feel stress dissipate as you deeply stretch, elongating your back muscles. Safely stretch your shoulders, hips, and leg muscles as well.
  • InLine Traction Control System: Stay comfortable while gently stretching your whole body, from your neck down to the back of your legs.

Massage Products For Ultimate Relaxation

  • Massage Chairs: From traditional style to Shiatsu massages, massage chairs reduce tension headaches, increase blood flow, help you manage and reduce chronic pain, improve sleep quality, and much more.
  • Theracane: Self-massage tools like the Theracane allow you to find relief from muscle tension, soreness, and pain, on the go.
  • Foot Massager: Tired feet deserve relief. Foot massagers provide custom massages by allowing you to specify settings.
  • Massage Cushions: Ideal for in the office or during long commutes, massage cushions release tense muscles during a soothing back or neck massage.

Visit your local Relax The Back store to speak with a trained specialist and try out our exercise and massage products. Through one-on-one support, our team will help you find the product solution to ensure you have the exercise and massage solutions that fit your specific lifestyle. Follow our 24-hour approach to comfort and wellness on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest for more tools to achieve ‘round the clock personalized relief.

How Exercise Makes Us Happy

Ten percent of Americans suffer from depression with the numbers to rise drastically by 2020. Hectic, high-stress lifestyles and difficulty finding the proper work-life balance contribute to feelings of depression and anxiety.

Maintaining a workout routine, as well as a healthy diet, can affect your mood greatly. While therapy and antidepressants can help, the American Psychiatric Association recommends exercise as a form of treatment. Exercise is proven to be effective alone or when combined with standard treatment options.

There are plenty of simple and easy exercises that you can do on a daily basis without causing too much strain on your neck and back. If you’re looking to increase strength, balance, or muscle tone, Relax The Back has a wide variety of fitness therapy products to help you get on the right track. One of these products is our therapy foam roller, which enhances balance, body awareness, neural and muscular flexibility, dynamic strengthening, and even assists with muscle re-education.

To learn more about how the benefits of daily exercise, this helpful infographic from Cleveland Clinic dives into how exercises affect our mood and details the reasons why you should find an activity you truly enjoy to help keep you active and healthy.

How Exercise Can Make You Happy

What Is Fibromyalgia and How To Cope

There are nearly 5 million people in the United States who suffer from fibromyalgia symptoms. While fibromyalgia is considered a common arthritis-related symptom, it is not a form of arthritis because it does not cause muscles, joints, and other tissues to become inflamed or damaged.

Fibromyalgia does cause significant pain, similar to arthritis, chronic headaches, insomnia, fatigue, abdominal pain, stiffness, and joint and muscle pain. Fibromyalgia sufferers not only experience physical pain, they also experience mental and emotional pain due to this condition.

While men and children can be affected with fibromyalgia, researchers have found that 80 to 90 percent of those diagnosed are women. Whether this is a result of shared environmental factors, hereditary genes, or both, there are no clear answers as to why this occurs.

While researchers are still searching for a cure for fibromyalgia, there are ways to resolve symptoms and cope with the daily challenges of living with this condition.

  • Make sleep a priority: Create an optimal sleep environment. Think cool, dark, and quiet. Quality pillows, like the ContourSleep Cervical Pillow, provide support for your head, neck, and spine while easing fibromyalgia pain. Invest in a pressure-relieving mattress, such as our TempurPedic Mattresses, which relieve pressure points and improve sleep.
  • Heat therapy: Heat helps to relax tense muscles, reduce pain, and allows you to move around more easily. Try soaking in a bath or using heat therapy products to ease tension, stiffness, and pain. Our MediBeads Moist Heat Pads provide fast, therapeutic relief for up to 30 minutes. Combine heat therapy with our Kneading Back Massage Cushion for deep tissue relief wherever you are.
  • Exercise regularly: Pain, fatigue, and stiffness can often cause a person suffering from fibromyalgia to put off exercising. However, engaging in regular exercises is a major factor in easing these symptoms. Exercise improves endurance, keeps you physically fit, and reduces pain. Conditioning and aerobic exercises, such as biking, walking, or swimming, improve your mood and provide feelings of control and well-being.

Read more about fibromyalgia in the helpful infographic below from Cleveland Clinic.

What is Fibromyalgia and How To Cope

6 Ways to De-Stress and Relax

relaxLife is all about balance. While productive work days and extracurricular activities can improve certain aspects of life, oftentimes, these busy and productive days can lead to increased stress and anxiety. Stress takes a toll on one’s overall health and wellbeing. From depression and irritability to physical pain such as dizziness, nausea, and chest pain, stress can present itself in many different ways.

It is important to make time for yourself to relax. Allowing for downtime will reduce the harmful effects of stress, help you avoid burnout and fatigue, and relieve built up tension.

With National Relaxation Day occurring on August 15th, we want to provide a few simple ways that you can de-stress and relax. Whichever way you decide to relax, use this time to fully unwind, recharge, and refocus.

  • Read: Take a break from a busy day to sit back in your favorite chair with a book or magazine.
  • Exercise: Physical activity can lift spirits and help beat stress. Try yoga, Pilates, or running.
  • Listen to music: Whether it’s classical, country, or top 40, listening (and singing) to your favorite song can improve your mood.
  • Meditate: Silent meditation has shown to relieve stress and depression.
  • Massage: Headaches, muscle tension, and stress are often linked together. Massage can release tense muscles to help you feel more relaxed.
  • Get in touch with your creative side: Color, paint, and calligraphy, have become popular ways to unwind and relax.

Enjoy BIG savings on Perfect Chairs going on now through September 30th! Relax in comfort when you save $500 of select premium leather Perfect Chair models.

Visit your local Relax The Back store to try one out first-hand and register to WIN your very own Perfect Chair. Our trained specialists will share the many benefits of neutral posture while helping you feel the difference in comfort when you recline in the zero gravity position. Head to your local store for more details.

Img source

10 Ways to Stay Active Throughout the Day

Did you know that 1 in 10 premature deaths are caused by inactivity and lack of exercise? The World Health Organization (WHO) lists inactivity as the fourth biggest killer in adults. Research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time is degrading to our health, and that our bodies actually thrive on motion. While sitting through long commutes and working even longer hours can make staying active difficult, there are steps you can take to reverse the negative effects of inactivity.

Below, we have listed our top 10 ways to stay active throughout the day:

Ways To Stay Active

Five Healthy Ways to Spend Your Tax Return

If you’re expecting a check in the mail this year from Uncle Sam, here are our top five tips for making the most of your hard-earned tax return

  1. Invest in Fitness – One way to long-term wealth is long-term health. By getting fit and healthy now, you can save a fortune in medical bills later. Consider using your refund for a gym membership or appointments with a physical therapist. There’s something for everyone in the wellness industry including programs to help you stop smoking, reduce stress, lose weight, etc. If back pain health is your focus, we have products to get you back to feeling your best, whether it’s to relieve tired/injured muscles or to increase strength.
  2. Invest in sleep – Another overlooked way to improve your health is to invest in sleep. Many health problems can be improved with a good night’s rest as sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle and can benefit your heart, weight, mind, and more. If you’re not getting the recommended 8 hours every night, you risk (among other things):
      1. Increase stroke risk
      2. Weight gain
      3. Memory loss
      4. Bone damage
      5. Increased heart disease risk

    We take a whole body approach to improving the quality of your sleep, so come visit a store to talk to a trained associate. You might be surprised that your “old mattress” may not be the problem.

  3. Invest in your diet – A change to healthier eating also includes learning about balance, variety, and moderation. Rather than dieting (a temporary fix), healthy eating means making changes that become life-long habits. It can help you get the right balance of nutrients and have you feeling and looking your best. Your diet is also a key in preventing and controlling heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.
  4. Treat yourself to a massage – Reduce stress and painful aches of a long day with a massage. There’s an option for any price point – from portable, travel-size massage products to a luxurious, 3D massage chair – for all members of the family. Melt away the stress of the pre-tax season by opting for a relaxing, therapeutic experience that comes with many health benefits.
  5. Invest in memories –  They say money can’t buy happiness but you can get close. Reserve your refund for experiences (not material objects) that give you more bang for your buck. For example, a getaway trip with loved ones or a cooking class can lead to increased happiness/health with fond memories. They keep giving long after, unlike a new wardrobe piece purchase.

How will you be spending (or saving) your tax refund this year?

Importance of Stretching

While we all know that regular exercise is important for our overall health, stretching is often an overlooked part of our routine. And for those with back pain, the benefits of stretching are far too important to neglect whether you’re active or sedentary. Here’s why you should stretch:

  1. Flexibility: The spine is a complex structure comprised of muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones. Stretching helps keep all the parts flexible and in good working order. Rather than being stiff and less mobile, you’ll have an increased range of motion to ensure good posture, balance and normal/proper movement.
  2. Stress-relief: Stretching helps relieve tension and can make you feel relaxed. Use it as a way to not only relax your body but also your mind.  You’ll be more focused and better able to manage stress that could result in back pain.
  3. Painrelief and prevention: Stretching improves the flexibility of surrounding lower back muscles, reducing lower back pain and muscle soreness. The combination of flexible muscles and increased range of movement prevents injury trigger points that would otherwise remain. 

Now that you know about the importance of stretching for spinal and overall health, consider incorporating it more into your exercise routines. It’s an important way to prepare the muscles for vigorous activities. That’s why stretching exercises should also be done before and after a workout to prevent muscle strain and soreness and to help avoid injuries. For spine stretches, consider using our Lumbar Extender Plus. Or for more information on how to stretch using proper technique, try our definitive book or see our trained associates in-store for recommendations tailored to your physical needs and abilities.

 

Foam Rollers for Back Pain Relief

An increasingly popular fitness tool, Exercise and Therapy Foam Rollers are lightweight, cylindrical pieces of dense foam, but don’t let their resemblance to pool noodles fool you. They’re used as a simple, yet highly effective self-massage technique that offer many of the same benefits as a traditional deep-tissue massage without the steep price tag. Foam rolling works based on self-myofascial release. Fascia is a fibrous, connective tissue that binds your muscles, bones, nerves and joints. Over time or after injuries, your fascia form soft tissue adhesions, which can cause trigger points and tightness. The best way to attack these tight knots is direct pressure. Amassage therapist can apply the right amount of pressure to relieve these knots but a foam roller is the next best alternative. It’s always available and one purchase covers all sessions!

You can use foam rollers before and after exercise or whenever necessary. Simply position the area or tender spot you’d like to massage on the foam roller, and let your body weight do all the work by rolling back and forth while using arms or legs to support the body.

Foam rolling should be an important part of your day, whether you’re a serious athlete or a physical therapy patient.

If you’re wondering whether you stand to benefit from foam rollers, they help with the following:

  • Pain relief: Foam rollers work to release myofascia adhesions that cause muscle pain and soreness.
  • Flexibility: Stretching and massaging will improve the flexibility of surrounding lower back muscles, reducing lower back pain. Flexibility also increases your range of motion, ensuring good posture, balance and normal movement.
  • Prevention of further injury: Tight muscles can lead to injuries during exercise or other physical activities. By massaging away fascia buildup, foam rollers prevent your muscles from becoming injury trigger points
  • Stress relief: Applying pressure on knots releases built-up tension and helps loosen your muscles. If you’ve been sitting all day at the office or are stressed, foam roll the tension away.

Our Exercise and Therapy Foam Rollers come in five sizes, including full and half round shapes. Versatile, affordable, and easy-to-use, they’re one of our most popular products. See for yourself why foam rollers have become one of the most widely used therapeutic and conditioning products on the market.

Get in Shape for the New Year!

FitBALL® Exercise Gym Ball

When it comes to losing a few pounds in the New Year, sports are a great way to have fun and stay fit. But don’t let your New Year’s resolutions land you in the doctor’s office. To protect your joints and muscles, follow the below guidelines before exercising or heading out to the ball field.

 

  1. Stretch – Give yourself a good 10-15 minutes of proper stretching before getting in the game. For the back, try extension stretches with a Fitness Ball or Lumbar Extender to loosen up your muscles. Time on a Mastercare Inversion Table is also an excellent way to stretch your upper and lower back while increasing blood flow to your spinal discs. For the lower body, stretch your quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, and piriformis (hips) to help prevent injury.
    
    
  2. Hydrate– Your body, like any other machine, needs fuel. Try water, sports drinks, or various flavored and fortified waters to maintain a proper fluid intake. One word of caution – the sweeter the drink, the more it should be consumed in moderation. But whatever your preference, staying adequately hydrated before, during, and after exercising will help stave off soreness and/or injury.
    
    
  3. Wear protective gear– Helmets, mouthpieces, goggles, face guards – use the appropriate protective gear for your sport or activity. Although equipment like this does not guarantee freedom from injury, it can go a long way to protect your life and limbs.
    
    

The next time you exercise or enjoy some healthy competition, take care to follow the above guidelines. They can help keep you on the field and out of the infirmary.