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Posted by on Jun 27, 2012 | 0 comments

There’s No Excuse To NOT Exercise Anymore!

Our lives are so busy these days. We have so many hats that we wear on a daily basis and so many responsibilities to tend to – job responsibilities, family commitments, taking our children to their respective sports or music practices, and so many more. We hardly have time anymore to ourselves, let alone to exercise. Who has time to get to the gym anyway?

Well, guess what – we’re telling you that there is absolutely NO excuse for you to NOT exercise any longer!

If you happen to be sitting down for 15 minutes staring at the wall or the television, then you definitely have time to exercise. The best part of it is that you don’t even need a gym or any equipment to exercise. Let your body be the only exercise equipment that you’ll need!

If you’re at a loss as to where to begin, think back to your high school P.E. days. Remember all the “warm up” exercises that your coach had you do before you engaged in any sports. That’s right – we’re talking push-ups, squats, and other basic (but incredibly useful) exercises.

See PT Mark Slaughter’s video below to check out some of the bodyweight exercises you can do right in your home at any time!

Got any questions? Curious about a technique Mark used? Call us at Fitness4Life at (618) 656-5433 or visit our website at to learn more! Don’t let excuses rule your life any longer – get up and EXERCISE!

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Posted by on Jun 8, 2012 | 0 comments

“Look, Ma! No Injuries!” Five of the Most Common Bicycling Injuries and How YOU Can Avoid Them

Do your dreams of winning the Tour De France seem like a pipe dream?

Well, it doesn’t matter if you can best Lance Armstrong in a race (let alone your nephew!) – biking is STILL a great way to get out of the house and stay fit this summer.

But be aware – just like any other form of exercise, injuries can still abound from biking.

Before your wipe off the dust on your trusty ol’ bike and take ‘er around town, check out these five most common cycling injuries and what you can do to prevent them from happening to you!

Back/Neck Pain – If you experience pain in your back or neck, it could be an indication that your bike is not the correct fit for you or that you’re sitting on your bike improperly. Be sure that your handlebars are about an inch lower than your saddle on a normal bike and two-four inches lower than the saddle on a mountain bike. Also, make sure that you can reach the handlebars without much strain. To help relieve any tension in your neck, try doing shoulder shrugs and neck stretches.

Knee Pain – Pain in the knee is perhaps the most common ailment that occurs with bike riding. Sadly, this type of injury can be the cause of many different issues such as riding too hard or riding too many miles, improper positioning on the bike, or riding with low rpms (rotations per minute). Like the rest of your body, the knees need some time to get in shape and build muscle for longer durations of bike riding. If they’re pushed too hard too quickly, serious knee damage can occur.

If you aren’t used to bike riding, try not to go too crazy at first. Simply start slowly and build up resistance, stamina, and strength to go longer distances. Lay off the steep climbs, especially at a low rpm, if you’re not used to it. Remember – your body is NOT a machine; it needs time to heal and recover for subsequent workouts!

Cramps – Cramps are common in nearly every exercise in which one does not properly prepare for the activity at hand. This injury is a result of your muscles constantly repeating the same motion over and over and over again, which causes the mechanism that tells the contracted muscle to relax to tire out. Luckily, if you simply warm up before you bike or ride for shorter periods of time, you can easily prevent cramping from occurring.

Wrist and Forearm Pain or Numbness – Injuries to the wrist or forearm usually occur when the rider locks his or her arms while bike riding. Never ride with your arms locked! It’s best to ride your bike with your elbows slightly bent, that way when you hit bumps in the road, your bent elbows can safely absorb the shock and avoid injury. In fact, two common wrist overuse injuries 0 Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Cyclist’s Palsy – can be prevented by simply alternating the pressure from the inside to the outside of your palms and by making sure that your wrists don’t drop below the handlebars. You can even try changing hand positions to reduce pain or numbness and stretch your hands out before you go riding.

Head Injury – Head injuries are probably the most serious sort of accident that can occur to a bike rider. Injuries can range from a simple cut or lesion on the cheek to traumatic brain injury. Riders can be prone to receiving concussions or head injuries that may even result in death. One of the best ways to prevent head injuries is by wearing a helmet, which can reduce the risk for head injury by a whopping 85%!

So what are you waiting for? Stretch, grab your helmet, and take your bike out for a spin today to stay fit and enjoy the sunshine! For further tips or questions, be sure to call Fitness4Life at (618) 656-5433 or visit our website at to see how we can help you!

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Posted by on May 24, 2012 | 0 comments

Act Naturally and Breathe Deeply For a Happier Body!

Are you breathing properly?

It may sound like such a silly question, but chances are fairly high that you aren’t!

Most people commonly breathe through their lungs, and their upper torso – it’s just a natural thing that happens, but in reality, you should be breathing much deeper down in your abdomen.

As babies, we all start out life breathing correctly, but over time we tend to pick up the bad habit of breathing just into our lungs. The problem with this is that it takes more work for the oxygen to travel throughout your body. Not only that, but breathing incorrectly utilizes only 30% of the lungs (that’s right – only THIRTY PERCENT!) and can be the cause of tightness and pain in the neck and chest area. Even your spine can feel the pain from incorrect breathing!

In order to improve your breathing, you need to get back to basics! Check out Mark Slaughter’s video below to see if you’re breathing properly or not!

Want to see the steps? No problem! Check out the steps below!

Test – Lay down flat on your back. Place one hand on your chest and another hand on your abdomen. Breathe through your nose to see which hand moves. If your bottom hand moves, then you’re doing it right. If the top hand moves, then you’re breathing incorrectly.

Step 1 – Take 10 breaths through your nose.

Step 2- Lie on your stomach now. Place your hand on your back and breathe through your nose. You should feel movement going through your back.

Step 3 – Now go on all fours. Breathe through your nose. Your abdomen should push in and out.

Step 4 – Now sit! Be sure to sit up straight and breathe through your nose again. Your abdomen should rise and fall.

Step 5 – Stand on your knees now. Breathe through your nose and feel your abdomen rise and fall as you breathe in and out.

Step 6 – Now position yourself on only one knee. Be sure to keep your feet in line and stabilize your balance. Breathe through your nose and feel your abdomen move in and out as you breathe.

Step 7 – Finally, stand and do your breathing exercises. As you breathe through your nose, you should feel your abdomen, not your chest, rise and fall.

Be sure to not skip any steps!

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Posted by on May 16, 2012 | 0 comments

You’d Better Slow Down if You Want to Avoid Swimming Injuries!

Summer is almost here, and when the temperatures rise, you’ll want to do an exercise that not only gets the job done but also keeps you cool.

Swimming is a longtime favorite summer activity for children and adults alike. Better yet, swimming has the reputation of being a low-impact form of exercise and is kinder on the joints. But just because it’s a low-impact exercise doesn’t mean that injuries never abound, especially when done incorrectly, in excess, or in speeds that you’re not used to.

Four major injuries can occur while swimming – swimmer’s shoulder, breaststroke knee, neck injuries, and lower back injuries. Here are some tips to help you avoid obtaining these injuries!

Swimmer’s Shoulder –This is probably the most common injury found in swimming. Usually, it’s caused by the user implementing bad technique or by working out too quickly or too much or simply by overusing the muscles. Sometimes the injury can occur when swim paddles and pull buoys are used.

To prevent swimmer’s shoulder, be sure that you are using the correct technique when you swim. A qualified swimming professional or even an experienced swimmer can help you pinpoint your mistakes and show you how to properly stroke.  Don’t over train or work out with tired muscles since the stabilizing muscles in the shoulder could be injured or over-fatigued. Additionally, avoid suddenly increasing your speed or workload in your workouts. Remember, slow and steady ultimately wins the race!

Breaststroke Knee (a.k.a. Swimmer’s Knee) – As the name may suggest, this injury is generated by the stroke mechanics of the breaststroke kick. Whenever you extend your legs and then bring them back together during the propulsive phase of the kick, your knees are subjected to external rotation and the lower leg bending outward. Additionally, your inner ligament in your knee (known as the medial collateral ligament) is also put under stress.

Don’t want breaststroke knee? Try alternating your swimming strokes. Try doing butterfly strokes, backstrokes, or even freestyle. Perhaps give yourself rest periods during the year in which you don’t use breaststrokes. During that time you could engage in strengthening exercises for your quadriceps and your hamstrings. Additionally, try using swimming fins and they will help with resistance. And, most importantly, warm up and stretch before you swim!

Neck Injuries – Usually neck injuries occur because the swimmer is using incorrect technique while swimming. Neck injuries can be easily avoided in nearly all the different forms of swimming.

If you are using the freestyle stroke, be sure to keep your head in line with your spine as much as possible with your eyes looking straight down. Try not to look forward or lift your head to breath, and avoid over-rotating your head when you inhale. Instead, rotate your BODY more so that your head won’t have to do so much of the work!

When you use the butterfly stroke or the breaststroke, keep your head aligned with your spine at ALL times. Breathe while looking down so your head stays in a neutral position and is much less prone to injury.

Lower Back Injuries – These injuries are typically obtained due to incorrect technique. If you aren’t certain of how to properly use the correct technique while swimming, consider taking swimming lessons or talking with an experienced swimmer.

While using the freestyle stroke, you can get lower pack injuries if you swim with a high head position or if your hips and legs tend to sink and you kick hard to keep your legs up, overarching your back. Try working on your position and balance so you can find a relaxed horizontal position and provide relief for your lower back.

When using the butterfly stroke, poor technique and lifting your upper body out of the water with your back strength can lead to lower back injuries. If you happen to swim like this, try working on your body undulation and dolphin kick so that it’s the body wave, not your back, that lifts your upper body out of the water. And as always, warm up and stretch properly before doing the stroke.

What’s that? Want some more tips on how to prevent injuries? We’ve got you covered!

*Warm up/cool down and stretch before and after swimming.

*Take swimming lessons and swim under supervision. Never swim alone as this could lead to more serious injury or even death.

*Don’t swim if you’re overheated, too cold, too tired, have a fever, have an upper respiratory infection, or have an ear infection.

*If you’re diving, be sure that the water is deep and safe enough. NEVER dive in the shallow end of a pool (this also goes for lakes and rivers)!

*Not up to full-fledged swimming? No problem! Pool walking is an excellent form of water exercise, and you are much less prone to injuries!

For more tips or if you have any further questions, contact Fitness4Life at (618) 656-5433 or visit!

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Posted by on Apr 2, 2012 | 0 comments

Always Having a Hard Day’s Night? Try Working Out in the Morning!

Sometimes we simply don’t have the time to work out in the afternoon, at lunchtime, or even in the evening. We work long hours and work ‘em hard, come home, cook dinner, take care of the kids if we have them, and finally, after doing all of our daily chores and duties, crash in bed (usually at a late hour).

Besides, who in their right mind would actually WANT to get out of bed in the morning to go exercise, especially when it’s so dark or gray or rainy out there? (Oh, gosh, I think we feel a nap coming on!)

Well, truth be told, it’s recommended that we get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at least 5 days out of the week. So if you’re not getting enough exercise during the week and you find yourself unable to get to the gym after your working hours, then you should probably consider filling in time in the morning to do your exercising.

If you find yourself cringing just thinking about trying to transition to working out in the morning, fret no more! Here are five tips to help the transition go a bit more smoothly:

Go To Bed EarlierWe know, we know. No one wants to go to bed at the proper time. People want to catch late night shows, have time with their spouses after putting the kids to bed, or get more work done. And if you think that you can simply go to bed at the same time as you normally do (let’s say midnight), you are sadly mistaken! If you’re used to sleeping from midnight to 8 a.m. and then rushing out the door to get to work at 9 a.m., you won’t be able to make it through the day by getting up at 6 a.m. to exercise, shower, and all that jazz. If you want or need to get up to exercise at 5 or 6 a.m., you should get to bed by 10 p.m. at the absolute latest. Trust us – you’ll thank us later!

Get Up, Stand UpJust because you’re going to work out in the morning doesn’t mean you need to get straight out of bed, put your running shoes on, and exercise hardcore. That’s actually a good way to set yourself up for failure! Instead, why not simply stand up for a few minutes and do menial tasks? Make your lunch for the day, read the morning paper, take the dog outside to do its business. Simply stand up and start your day slowly so that you can adjust to doing more physical activities and not pass out while doing so!

Take a Hot Shower BEFORE Exercising – You might think that we’re crazy, but a quick hot shower in the morning could really help you get into exercise mode quickly and efficiently. Think about it – most people turn the heat down (or the air up) when they go to sleep, and well, it’s colder outside for the most part at night or in the early morning. If you simply take a short hot shower for about a minute, you will heat up your body and will be ready to go! Just be sure to take a “real” shower after your workout, lest you repel people around you for the rest of the day!

Warm UpThat’s right – stretch out those muscles before you go running off into the sunrise! You might be wise to add some more time to your warming up sessions since you’ll have just gotten out of bed and your muscles will need some stretching. Try warming up for ten to fifteen minutes before you start your workout. That may seem like a long time to warm up, but really, it’s better to spend an extra five or so minutes warming up than much longer time in physical therapy from an injury you sustained because you didn’t warm up!

Ask Someone to Work Out With YouIt’s easier to work out with a partner than solo, and this rings true even in the wee hours of the morning. Having a friend there to work out with you will give you another reason to get yourself out of bed early in the morning to exercise. You’re less likely to hit that snooze button if you know your friend is outside ready to go for a run with you or at the gym.

If you’re ready to start exercising in the morning, try using these strategies to help you easily transition to your new workout regime. And if you want more tips or need any assistance, don’t hesitate to call us here at Fitness4Life at 1-618-656-5433 or visit us at our website at Let us help you be the healthy, strong person you want and deserve to be!

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Posted by on Sep 21, 2011 | 0 comments

Having Trouble with Your Exercise Regime? Talk to Mark Slaughter!

The time has come. You are totally going to lose the extra weight you somehow managed to put on in the past three years! You’ve got your plan all typed up and ready; you’ve abolished all chocolate from passing your lips, and you just bought the newest edition of Shape-Ups to help tone you up more. You’re going to start getting fit, and you’re going to start first thing tomorrow morning! Carpe diem!

But then the morning comes.

The alarm rings at 6 a.m., and bleary-eyed, you glance at your clock, fumble with it for a moment, and, instead of getting out of bed and going for that walk like you promised yourself last night, you reset the alarm for your typical wake-up time of 7 a.m. and go back to sleep.

Does this sound like you? Well, maybe it’s time for you to find yourself a personal trainer to help out!

“Ummm, but wait a sec ,” you may say. “I’m not a celebrity, and I’m not a big-shot at some fancy-schmancy corporation. I’m not the kind of person who needs a PERSONAL TRAINER!”

Well, did you know that thousands of “regular people” utilize a personal trainer’s help on a regular basis to help lose weight, eat right, and get on the healthy track in life?

In fact, according to an article from, 85% of people who use personal trainers to help them achieve their goals maintain their exercise regime and hit the gym regularly.

Mark SlaughterSo how can a personal trainer help you? Well, there are many benefits to having a personal trainer on your side! Just ask Mark Slaughter, PT, here at Fitness4Life. He has 35 years of training in not only physical therapy but also personal training, and he has helped thousands of patients in his career.

One of the most important things personal trainers can do for you is to get you motivated – and keep you motivated! There are so many people who have all the good intentions in the world to exercise but never get around to it because they’re too tired, too busy, or think that there’s too much work involved in order to lose weight. Having a personal trainer is like having your own personal cheerleader – even if you’re having the most difficult time in the world with your fitness issues, they will stand there and cheer you on until you succeed (and then they’ll cheer some more!).

Do you ever wish you could see results right away with your workout regime? Let’s face it – who DOESN’T want to see the results of all the hard work they put in to a cause they believe to be worthy of all the effort? Working with a personal trainer lets you see your results in a faster frame of time, AND they’ll be better results to boot!

Okay, okay, we can tell you’re still fighting the idea. Perhaps you do things your own way (which is fine!); you go for an intense walk through town every day and try to lift a few weights here and there.

Are you seeing results?

If not, you might not be getting the most out of your exercise regime. A personal trainer will customize your exercise program and will show you how to get the most out of your workout! They know all the tips and tricks to show you how to tweak your routines so that you’ll start shredding those pounds or toning those arms up more quickly and more efficiently. As a bonus to you, personal trainers will also teach you how to exercise safely and in less time, but with the same (or even better) efficiency!

Oh, and did we mention that personal trainers can help you get past that pesky plateau? You know, the one that stops you from losing the last 5 or 10 pounds that have been REFUSING to budge in ages?

Okay, okay, maybe you’re not totally sold on the idea. Maybe you don’t want to commit to the idea of meeting with a personal trainer multiple times a week. And yes, that’s definitely a time commitment that can’t be taken lightly! No worries, you can actually take one or two separate sessions here at Fitness4Life! You can get your feet wet with ease and let Mark Slaughter do what he does best before you decide if you want to commit your time. But even a few sessions will help you look and feel better! If nothing else, you have a few ideas of what to do to help yourself become a healthier person.

So what are you waiting for? Pick up the phone and call 1-618-656-LIFE and talk to Mark Slaughter about personal training here at Fitness4Life!

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