A few themes in life slow our progress throughout our fitness journey. Common obstacles compromising our adherence to physical activity are lack of time and distractions to our focus. Long weeks of traveling for work, making sure “little Johnny” gets to his soccer practice or finishing a landscaping project at home require significant time and energy.
Chronic pain symptoms from previous injuries or recovering from an illness can engulf our mental capacity. These events are mentally draining. Lack of time and mental fatigue can impede gym visits or attending a weekly fitness class.
Research supports regular exercise aids in alleviating chronic pain and positively impacting our quality of life. However, when we simply don’t feel up to it, the very thought of exercises is similar to working an overtime graveyard shift after a full day’s work. Long days at work elicit physical, psychological, and emotional fatigue. Additionally, living with afflictions caused by chronic pain or illness makes exercising challenging.
People are also reading…
An exercise tactic that serves as a productive buffer from letting these obstacles steer us away from exercises is to choose exercises with less intensity.
Isometric exercise is a simple and effective form of training involving holding one body position under tension for a period of time. A widely understood exercise is the straight arm plank exercise. This exercise is the act of holding the starting position of push up.
The body is placed into a shape where the muscles must maintain that shape under the resistance of gravity and remain that shape for a prolonged period. The triceps, pectorals, core, hip, and knee muscles are held in a static position.
By performing isometric exercise modes, we can still improve our body’s overall strength. Muscle, nerve, hormone and emotional adaptions are still acquired after performing isometric exercises.
Isometric exercises are less sophisticated and more manageable to perform because they lack mechanical stress on the muscles to contract for various repetitions and require less oxygenated blood delivered from the heart to the working muscles. Hence, it will be less physically demanding.
Below are a few examples of isometric exercises:
Isometric wall squat and sit: Lean up against a wall and slide your back down the wall until you experience muscular engagement in the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings.
Once a manageable tension is acquired, hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds. To make this exercise more challenging, decrease the angle of your hips to your knees by sliding your back down the wall further toward the ground. For safety, ensure you are on a surface with friction or wear shoes. No one wants their feet to shoot out from underneath them and fall on their butts because they did a wall sit wearing socks.
Isometric wall press: Lean up against a wall and squat slightly to where the knees are bent at about a 10-to-30-degree angle. Ensuring the lower back is flat against the wall, press the back of your hands into the wall as if you are trying to “push the wall away from you.” You should experience muscular engagement in your shoulder blades, triceps, and the back of your shoulder rotator cuff. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds.
Straight arm plank: This “don’t leave home without it” exercise acts as a Swiss army knife that has proven to be a potently productive exercise to any human’s exercise routine. Why? Because any human on the Earth only needs two tools to reap the benefits of this exercise: 1) Their body 2) The ground.
To perform the straight arm plank, post your arms straight into the ground underneath your eyebrows and plant the balls of your feet into the ground. Ensure to straighten the knees and keep the spine rigid.
You don’t want your back to resemble the bridge Harrison Ford crossed in “The Temple of Doom” as he was chased by an army of heart-eating villains. While posting in this position, focus on using the abdominal muscles to maintain a rigid spine and the triceps to keep the arms extended. You should feel muscular engagement in the shoulders, triceps, abdominals, and glutes. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds.
The demands of life impose a significant amount of stress in which our intuition sometimes tells us exercise is probably not the best thing for us. While pushing our bodies past our capabilities isn’t the best-case scenario, we can find forms of exercise of lower intensity to give us the health benefits we need to continue being productive and happy.
Napa fitness expert Sean McCawley discusses the importance of keeping your knees strong and healthy.
Preparation is a tool for success. To mitigate the unhealthy effects of eating out too much, we can look at the menus of our favorite restaurants ahead of time to make healthy decisions for our nutritional success.
Weight loss and weight gain are constant balancing acts. Where can we start on a path to productively managing our weight?
Finding a way to squeak in an extra healthy habit significantly impacts our everyday health and happiness.
A fall can cause something as minor as a scraped knee or as catastrophic as a broken bone. One way to minimize injury is to have strong fingers and hands.
Maintaining a healthy body while occasionally indulging in less-than-healthy meals and snacks comes down to a question of balance.
Discomfort is an understatement for severe cases of sciatica, but identifying its common causes is an effective first step toward a plan of action to prevent it.
Fitness expert Sean McCawley introduces the lumbopelvic hip complex and explains why we might want to learn what exactly it is.
It’s not breaking news that staying active keeps us healthy but it’s important to strive for a balanced fitness routine that will keep you going and avoid injuries.
Sitting isn’t bad for you; sitting for too long without moving is. Napa fitness expert Sean McCawley offers exercises to do to counteract stiffness and stress from inactivity.
If losing extra fat and keeping it off is your goal, it’s important to understand that first you have to establish a foundation of eating healthy and adhering to exercise for at least three months.
SAID means “Specific Adaptation to an Imposed Demand” and this includes long hours sitting in an airplane or car. What can you do to help your body out after you get off the plane or out of your car?
Fitness trainer Sean McCawley experienced challenges to his healthy Napa lifestyle on his 10-day trip to Portugal.
Finding time to exercise is challenging but if you can find time to perform one or two exercises first thing in the morning, this can can accomplish simple and effective exercises.
On the run up to a championship match, the foods you choose will make a difference.
What’s for dinner? Before you turn to Door Dash, fitness pro Sean McCawley has a suggestion.
When striving to meet fitness goals, try keeping in mind a growing a plant — both a plant and your body thrive in a nurturing, supportive environment.
Exercising first thing in the morning may sound like a challenge, but the benefits far outweigh the pain of getting out of bed a few minutes earlier.
Rise and shine — or rest in bed? Sean McCawley provides reasons for getting yourself up in the morning.
We don’t realize how vital lower back health is until an accidental injury debilitates us, but exercises can help avoid this calamity.
A long-plane ride, turning your head the wrong way, even sleeping in an odd position, can tweak your back just enough to derail physical activities. The first step in avoiding these injuries, is learning the anatomy of your spine.
We can fall into an unhealthy rut of spending too much time on our phones. Take some time for yourself by stepping away from your cell phone to experience the gifts the world offers us that are right in front of us.
A few popular questions fitness trainer Sean McCawley is asked are: “How many calories should I consume?”, “Are carbs bad?”, “Should I be paleo?” and “What type of protein supplement should I take?”
Staying hydrated is important to overall health, longevity and functionality, writes fitness coach Sean McCawley. So how do you drink enough water each day? He has a plan for you.
If stepping into a gym is as intimidating to you as a walk in Jurassic Park, Sean McCawley has idea to help you overcome your anxiety and give yourself a gift of exercise.
An exercise program of resistance training can significantly increase your body’s ability to build strength in your bones.
From construction worker to desk worker, we all have muscles we don’t use in a typical day. Your can supercharge your fitness by adding exercises that target these areas of the body.
If you struggle adhering to an exercise program, pick out a few keywords of how exercise makes you feel like what you’re doing has value.
Fitness expert Sean McCawley explores why and how to do pushups.
She wanted to lose 10 pounds before a vacation on the beaches of Portugal. Fitness trainer Sean McCawley helped her come up with a plan.
Our spine is akin to a highway in the human body. By engaging in physical activity that keeps the spinal muscles active, we perform proper maintenance on our main freeway of nerves, just as of Cal Trans workers cares for these roads.
Our willpower and perseverance to make a trek to a local gym, take a yoga class or participate in outdoor physical activity are equally, if not more powerful, than any medicine that keeps us away from the doctor’s office.
Crunchy, salty, and sweet treats can provide comfort, joy and salvation from challenging times. We can’t just extract them from our lives on short notice but here are tips to still enjoy them with moderation, accountability and control.
One of the easiest ways to improve your health in 2022 is to be sure you are drinking enough water.
A plan to enjoy 2022 and reach our goals begins with Two great places to start building a good foundation of ensuring we reach our goals in 2022 is to eat the right foods and adhere to a exercise routine.
Napa Valley fitness guru Sean McCawley has suggestions for what to do when your lifestyle has you wound up tight as a violin string.
Finals week — or any week during college — may not be the prime time for thinking about healthy food choices, but Sean McCawley offers some easy-to- make alternatives to one more bowl of instant ramen.
Nutritional advice today can be confusing and often contradictory.
Napa fitness guru Sean McCawley outlines how to use your gardening tasks for a fitness routine worthy of a gym-workout.
Stress has a profound effects on our well-being, but exercising even once or twice a week can also have a profound impact on stress.
Carbohydrates, proteins, and fat are the big three that are predominantly focused on the back of nutrition labels when counting calories.
If you see a rogue candy wrapper left over from trick-or-treaters, bend over and pick it up. Practicing mindfulness of picking up objects from the ground helps mitigate the debilitating effects of back pain while bending over as we progress through life.
We spend so much of our time sitting, including driving to work to get ready to sit some more. Napa fitness coach Sean McCawley suggests exercises you can do in your car to counteract the toll that prolonged sitting takes on the body.
Napa Valley fitness pro Sean McCawley shares thoughts about the importance of continuing to get down and dirty — or at least being sure to include a few bends every day — as we age.
It’s a hassle to regain the strength of our hands if unmaintained over time. Sean McCawley has suggestions to keep yours strong.
Constraints of hours in our demanding schedule is an eternal balancing act. Don’t the let the idea of “I don’t have enough time” hold you back from much needed exercise.
If we don’t have a physically active profession and spend 40-plus hours a week at a desk, we have to find new ways to stay as physically fit as our hard-working ancestors. Becoming a recreational athlete is one of them.
Focusing on the well-being of your hip flexor muscles is a great solution to alleviate common lower back symptoms in which our society struggles with on a daily basis.
You never know how much you use your scapula — aka, your shoulder blade — until it isn’t working well.
Having a goal to work towards can give a boost to striving for health and fitness goals. Sean McCawley shares one success stor.
Do you feel you just don’t have time to exercise? Napa fitness guru Sean McCawley has suggestions for getting around this obstacle to fitness.
If your routines help you feel better throughout your day, keep them going. Sure, scientific data is always going to benefit us but it’s the traditions we practice that make us feel good that scientific data doesn’t necessarily support.
A personal training client showed up sporting new clothes, hairdo, new sunglasses — and a new confidence. What was his secret? A few lifestyle changes.
Fitness guru Sean McCawley urges people to turn off the electronics and enjoy conversations dinner with their families.
Balance can be defined as the ability to correct imbalances. Sean McCawley has an exercise to help this.
Not many of us have the skill and talent of the champion Olympic gymnast Simone Bile, but there are ways to improve our balance.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having to walk at snail speed because of nagging knee pain, but one way to keep your knees healthy is to make sure you do hip-strengthening activities.
We can’t thrive in life when being held up by painful symptoms such as sciatica. Pick exercises that are simple, effective, and easy to replicate on weekly basis to help us live pain free, happy, and strong lives.
What causes the debilitating condition sciatica and can a good exercise routine help mitigate it?
All kinds of emotions can hinder fitness plans. Sean McCawley has ideas for moving ahead to accomplish even the biggest “hairy audacious goals.”
Getting ready to travel again? Make sure to plan ahead for trips with a balanced exercise prescription to ensure your body is strong and injury-free to enjoy these life-changing experiences.
The challenges of pregnancy are many, but understanding that the body can still benefit from a structured fitness routine throughout pregnancy helps the body ride through the mental, physical and emotional undertow.
Weight management is challenging. As we age, our metabolism decreases. However, the advancement of our age and the slowing of our metabolism is usually not the primary culprit when it comes to gaining excess weight.
Ball-and-socket, hinge and saddle — these are just a few names of the joints responsible for the elaborate movements of our bodies. They are masterfully engineered, however, they are at risk if they are left unattended.
Sean McCawley, the founder and owner of Napa Tenacious Fitness in Napa, CA, welcomes questions and comments. Reach him at 707-287-2727, [email protected], or visit the website napatenaciousfitness.com.