Author Archives: Fiona Ward

The Importance of Stretching

Hi everybody, whether you plan to walk or run the Boru3peaks we all need to stretch. Exercise can shorten a person’s muscles, decreasing mobility over time. Stretching keeps the muscles in the body flexible.  Benefits of good flexibility include good joint mobility & less chance of injury.  It can also help with posture and reduce the risk of low back problems.

 

Muscles respond better when they’ve been warmed up. Warming up can be as simple as walking for five to ten minutes, just enough to get the blood flowing through the body.  Pre exercise stretches should be held for 8-12 seconds while post exercise stretches should be held for 15-30 seconds.  Stretches are held to the point of tension, if the stretch hurts ease off, equally if you start to shake you’ve gone too far and you’ve lost the stretch so ease off.   Resistant bands or a scarf may aid you with some stretches.

 

Here are just a few key leg stretches you can incorporate into your workouts.

 

Quadriceps or quads as they are better know are the muscles to the front an sides of your thighs.

To stretch them, stand upright and pull your leg behind you with the corresponding hand and hold your shoe by the shoelaces. Try to keep your knee pointing downward as you do this stretch to protect your knee joint. You can use a chair to balance yourself.  Repeat with other leg.  Stretching your quads is especially important after a hilly run.

 

Hamstrings are the muscles to the rear of your upper leg. Lying on your back for this stretch, keep your head and hips on the floor, bend both knees and  extend one leg  up keeping it straight, place your hand above or below the knee joint and gently pull the leg towards you.  You may use a band or scarf to help you.  Repeat with other leg.

 

Calf muscles are  on the back of your lower legs, To stretch your calf muscles, stand close to a wall with your right foot behind your left. Start to bend your left leg forward while keeping your right leg straight behind you.. Be sure not to bend the right knee and to keep your right foot firmly on the ground pointing straight ahead. Straighten your back and keep you head up, looking straight ahead. Repeat with other leg.

Until next time, happy training

Fiona

Fiona Ward is a Fitness Instructor with TFX Fitness

Benefits of exercising outdoors.

As you prepare to take part in Boru3peaks 2016 I hope my fitness blog will help you get the most out of the experience.   Let me introduce myself, my name is Fiona Ward and back in 2012 I was one of the founding committee of the inaugural Boru3peaks, in preparing for the event we covered all three peaks (on numerous occasions & over various routes!)  Since then the event has gone from strength to strength and I’m delighted to still be part of it.

 

Whether you plan to walk, run or crawl, take on 1, 2 or all 3 peaks the benefits of taking part in exercise activities are well known however exercising outdoors, or green exercise, can be even better for your health.  Not only are you getting your exercise but you are also benefiting from fresh air, sunshine (fingers crossed!) and the overall feeling of well being.

 

Compare the treadmill to the hills of Counties Clare & Tipperary, the more challenging the terrain, the harder the body has to work. Walking, hiking or running on a constantly changing terrain teaches the body to adapt to the changes in the environment.  Learning to adapt to changes in the surface you are running or walking on can enhance the strength of your connective tissue, which may help you avoid certain injuries.

 

Fresh air and increased oxygen helps release the feel good brain chemical, serotonin, meaning your outdoor exercise not only helps keep you fit and improves your physical well being, but helps your mood and self esteem too. Whichever peak you are taking on you can be guaranteed stunning views, studies show that visually pleasing landscapes or ‘greenscapes’ also help raise serotonin levels.

So just a few of the benefits you’ll gain when you sign up for Boru3peaks.

If you want to get the most out of your Boru3peaks experience check back in for further fitness tips over the coming weeks,

Until next time, onward & Upward

Fiona

 

Fiona Ward is a Fitness Instructor with TFX Fitness