Katrina Hodgson, NASM CPT, BS Health Science, has helped thousands reach their goals by designing fitness programs with her workout videos and her website ToneItUp.com. As one of Diet.comís featured personal trainers she hopes to share her passion for fitness and continue to make a positive impact for the Diet.com community.

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Fitness Expert Katrina

by Katrina Hodgson, Diet.com Fitness Expert

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Hi everyone!

I hope as we approach September you are all getting excited to include more workouts into your week! After a summer filled with plans throughout the week and the weekends, it’s time for you! The last days of summer are approaching and for many of us this means no more nice walks outside or trips to the park. So while we can- get outside and enjoy your surroundings. Get motivated!

One very important component of fitness that people leave out is flexibility. Flexibility is the joint's ability to move through a full range of motion. When should your static flexibility program take place? AFTER your workout. Studies have shown that a warm-up before your workout and a cool down followed by stretching is the most effective way to increase flexibility and to prevent injury. Why would you want to stretch a cold muscle, tendon and ligament anyway? We want to warm them up and stretch them after! One great way to warm up is to walk, jog, jump rope or to do any total body movement. This is to raise the body’s temperature.

Following the warm-up perform dynamic flexibility. Dynamic flexibility, ‚Äėkinetic flexibility,‚Äô is performing a move throughout the full range of motion ‚Ä" moving the joints, increasing blood flow and joint lubrication. Examples dynamic flexibility are walking toe touches, lunges with core twists, arm circles, walking side lunges, jogging butt kicks, prone scorpion (pictured below) and side to side twists.

Lay prone on the floor, arms out to the side, bring opposite leg to the opposite side of the body while bending the knee, and repeat each side, moving quickly but controlled throughout the range of motion. Helps warm-up the hip flexors, the chest, the core, the quads and activates the lower back.

FOLLOWING EXERCISE, static stretching is best while the body is warm and the joints are lubricated. Static stretching is holding a position- it is suggested to hold these positions for 20- 30 seconds! Static stretching is very important in that it also prevent injuries. If you have an injury say in your hamstring… it will be very difficult to exercise for a while, putting you way behind your goals. So you can see how it is so important.

Some other benefits are that flexibility is linked to improved performance during your workouts. If you are briskly walking or jogging, your stride has a lot to do with the flexibility of your hamstring and the mobility of the hip flexors, the gluts and the quads. Increased flexibility allows us to move faster so that our workouts are more intense- how great is that! Flexibility of the body also helps with back pain, improves posture, relaxation and decreases stress.
These are a few of my favorite stretches that I do after my workouts.

Glut Stretch

Quad stretch

Hip Flexor stretch

IT band stretch

Hamstring Stretch

Lower back stretch

Calf Stretch
I like to stand facing a wall, I take one step closer to the wall and put my hands on the wall about shoulder level. Leaning in, I keep my back leg strait and I am stretching the top of my back leg’s calf. After that I bend my back leg and lean in further, stretching the bottom part of my calf. Switch sides when you are finished.
I also like the chest stretch in ...    Continue

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@ 2:35pm ET on August 27, 2007
Hi im Jessica and i need some help i need to lose wight fast can you help me please?

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