4 Benefits of Adding Yoga and Pilates to Your Workout Routine

Photo credit: Ms Sarah Welch (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0

So, you already have a workout routine that is working pretty well for you. You are getting in your cardio and your weight training, but you would like to focus more on full body flexibility, balance, and alleviate some posture issues. Or, maybe you need to find better ways to manage stress and increase your overall sense of well-being. One way to achieve these goals is to add yoga and Pilates to your workout routine. If you aren’t sure this will work for you, consider these benefits.

1. Leaner Muscle

If you are looking for the fastest path to long, lean muscles, then adding Pilates and yoga elements to your overall workout routine is a great choice. Both disciplines involve long periods of sustained stretching, which open up those muscle fibers and help your muscles achieve their maximum natural length, in addition to enhancing your strength, agility, range of motion, and flexibility.

2. Increased Flexibility

One of the obvious benefits of an effective yoga stretching routine is increased flexibility. Regular stretching can improve circulation, prevent injury, and increase range of motion in your ligaments and muscles. Poor posture is also a big problem for many people, which is usually caused by tight lower back muscles. The best approach is to combine both yoga and Pilates to correct those imbalances. Both disciplines are very effective for developing core strength, teaching proper alignment, improving posture awareness, and increasing range of motion.

3. Body Awareness

Body awareness is an integral part of yoga and Pilates. You learn how to be more mindful and aware of your body. You gain a better sense of the position of different body parts and how those parts work together, which is called proprioception. Touching your nose with your index fingers while closing your eyes is one example. Your mind knows where certain body parts are so you don’t always need your eyes to find them. For example, being able to walk in complete darkness without losing your balance. So, as you continue to develop this ability, your relationship with each individual body part and where they exist in space will be enhanced. Some additional benefits include better sleep, less stress and anxiety, and a greater sense of peace.

4. Meditation

Yoga and Pilates also brings in meditation to your daily workout and workout plan, which can help you maintain a state of calm and centered in times of stress. Practicing meditation on a daily basis can also help you work through problems and issues that you normally would not think of during your normal workout. Overall, this can be a huge benefit if you are overly stressed and concerned about your stress levels during your day.

By keeping these benefits in mind, you can begin to look through the large number of yoga and Pilates styles to find the ones that work best for you and your lifestyle. Remember, there are many styles like Barre that combine yoga and Pilates to maximize your time and effort.

 

 

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5 Powerful Spices and Herbs to Increase Metabolism

Photo credit: I, [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

When you’re trying to get healthy, it’s easy to get caught up in the latest of fad diets, exercise tools, and the like that can cost you a lot of time, money, and leave you feeling frustrated. Thankfully, with the modern spread of information, it’s a lot easier to research and find which things work for people so that you can reach your health goals. The primary focus of this article is to reveal a few powerful spices and herbs to increase metabolism and improve health.

Ginseng

This famous herb has been associated with energy and metabolism for 2000 years. Its presence in tea has made ginseng tea a favorite among people looking to promote a more energetic lifestyle, and studies have shown that ginseng can greatly help with weight loss if consumed every day for a sustained period. Ginseng was also found to have a favorable effect on insulin sensitivity, making it a good choice for people who deal with diabetes.

Turmeric

Turmeric is a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine, which is notoriously spicy-and health-enhancing. This powerful spice contains anti-inflammatory properties, which may reduce arthritis symptoms and improve other chronic inflammatory conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin, also helps to burn fat, promote proper metabolism, aids digestion, and corrects bile deficiencies and excesses.

Cayenne Pepper

In the last few hundred years, there have been a number of tonics that have employed the use of capsaicin, the active or hot ingredient in cayenne pepper to help treat various ailments. Today, science has uncovered more of the specifics in the way that we can use this powerful agent to reduce caloric intake, shrink fat tissues, and clean the vascular system. Research has discovered that it can stimulate thermogenesis, which is the process of metabolizing fats to generate heat. In fact, the Global Healing Center mentioned that eating hot peppers, such as Cayenne, can increase your metabolism by as much as 25%.

Cinnamon

People have had a strong love of cinnamon for quite some time due to its festive flavoring and associations with holiday time, but this powerful spice has many other advantages. Research has shown that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels substantially, in addition to increasing glucose metabolism by more than 18 times the regular amount. This means that it helps to make your metabolism more efficient, which is also ideal for people who have diabetes or might be close to becoming diabetic.

Mustard

People tend to think of mustard as simply a condiment, but it’s been shown that less than a teaspoon of mustard seeds can increase your metabolic rate 20 -25% for several hours after eating, which could result in roughly 50 calories being burned per hour.

If you use these herbs and spices for weight loss on a regular basis, you will gradually see and feel the difference in your overall health and well-being.

 

Everyday Fitness Tips to Help You Lead a Better Life

Fitness is very important for all age groups, especially today. It plays a big role in helping people lead a healthy life by practicing healthy habits. Getting exercise every day and eating a balanced diet are the keys to staying fit, irrespective of how old you are. There are some simple everyday fitness tips that anyone can remember and try out to enable you and your family to make healthy choices in context with your diet and exercise routines.

Notes on How to Balance Your Life

Balance is an integral aspect of anything, be it your emotional well-being, your body’s BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate), or the rate at which the body burns fat while at rest. In the same way, balance is integral when it comes to organizing your calorie intake and output. Some easy fitness tips for achieving this balance include keeping a food journal, which will help you to eat within your recommended calorie structure and will further enable you to burn more than what you have consumed in order to maintain or lose weight. It is also important for you exercise for at least 30 minutes per day or take 10,000 steps to help maintain your body’s BMR. This does not mean that you have to go to the gym, however. There are easy ways to add more activity into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further away from the store or your home to get in a few more short walks throughout the day.

Get the Most Out of Your Gym Workout

Popular fitness tips to help you achieve maximum benefits from your gym workout include learning how to adapt to high-intensity interval workouts, which involve performing maximum repetitions of an exercise for 20 seconds, resting for 10 seconds, and then switching to a new exercise and following the same pattern for a period of time to ensure optimum fat burning. Explore workouts involving short, intense bouts of activity instead of wasting time at the gym in trying to achieve the same results using outdated workout methods.

Boosting Your Fitness Levels

The age old rule of warming up and cooling down before and after a workout are still applicable to the more modern, time-intensive workout plans of the modern age, and should be followed strictly to avoid injury and strain to your joints. It is also a good idea to maximize protein and vegetable intake, while restricting the consumption of refined carbohydrates as much as possible. Popular diets such as Paleo are prevalent among diehard fitness enthusiasts, thanks to their ability to promote muscle development along with faster fat burn. For the best everyday fitness tips, consult with a personal trainer and/or nutritionist.

The Plentiful Health Benefits of Goji Juice

Photo credit: Maukie (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The health benefits of goji juice are many, and its pleasant taste makes it one of the most popular drinks among health enthusiasts. The high concentration of Vitamin C in goji juice guarantees a stronger immune system that can fight infection and disease better and will also take away the need to consume additional vitamin supplements. This little red berry is packed with a number of essential vitamins and minerals, and there are even festivals in some parts of Asia that celebrate its existence and importance.

Weight Loss

The fact that a number of people who drink goji juice for health do it because it has weight loss benefits is an open secret. The health benefits of goji juice as an effective appetite suppressant and a valuable, vitamin-packed inclusion to a weight loss oriented diet has been promoted by celebrities and fitness gurus alike, and its other health benefits are a bonus.

Better Immunity

The health benefits of goji juice also include better immunity. Goji berries are packed with a number of vitamins, including Vitamins A and C. Goji is also one of the few fruits that contains Vitamin E, which contributes to its enhanced skin healing properties.

Senior citizens may get the most out of the many health benefits of goji juice with its ability to slow down the skin’s aging process. One can rest assured that a majority of consumers who consume goji juice for health will be slow to show the signs of aging on their skin and bodies.

Delicious and Healthy

Goji juice is one of the more delicious and healthy drinks, which also makes it one of the most popular. Goji juice is considered to be one of the best tasting healthy juices available, which adds to its popularity, unlike other healthy drinks that include ingredients such as prune, spirulina, spinach, and other things that most people think taste terrible. Goji juice is so delicious that one can drink it by itself or even mix it with a scoop of whey protein supplement for a vitamin-rich meal replacement drink.

Goji juice is healthy, delicious, and would make a valuable addition to any diet. In addition to goji juice, goji berries can be eaten alone and are safe for consumption by people of all ages. You can consume goji at least three times a week for a period of one month to reap the maximum health benefits.

Beachbody

Walk the Walk with Family Trails

Next time you’re thinking about what to do on the weekend, consider taking the family out on the trails. Family trails in your local or state parks are an ideal way to get fit together and get some fresh air and nature while you’re at it.

Healthy Fitness for People at All Levels

Walking is a very effective way for people of all ages and all fitness levels to get healthy exercise, because it strengthens the heart and lungs and burns calories. In addition, walking is good for your bones, improves your circulation, can help tone muscles and increase your metabolism. Walking also improves the body’s cardiovascular system. In fact, many medical experts agree that regular walking is better for the body than running because it puts less stress on the body.

Trails are for Everyone

Family trails are suitable for people of all ages – from toddlers to grandparents. Many trails designated for family hikes are less strenuous, with fewer hills, and a smoother path cleared of rocks, roots or other obstacles. Some are even paved in boardwalk or have stairs or bridges that aren’t available on other trails. They may be stroller friendly and pet friendly as well. Check at the informational booth, kiosk or welcome center for maps and signposts to find family-friendly trails. You can find additional hiking information on sites like trails.com, Americanhiking.org, or backpacker.com.

Explore Nature

Family trails are a way for families to get out of the house and explore nature and learn about your area. Whether you’re walking through a colorful foliage tour or hiking through the crisp white snow, enjoying spring flowers, or seeking a bit of forest shade in the summer, trail walking can be done year round.

See Wildlife

Family trails are a great opportunity to witness area wildlife first hand. Whether you’re interested in bird watching, butterflies, deer or on a hunt for the infamous jack-a-lope, there are lots of opportunities to see wildlife once you’re on the trail. Be sure to check signs for potential dangerous animals and what to do in case you meet up with one. In some trails, you might be encouraged to bring a bear bell, pepper spray or walking sticks to deter critters.

Get Fit and Work Up to More Strenuous Trails

Once you and your family have gotten into the swing of trail walking, you can work your way up to more strenuous trails. Whether they involve a gradually steepening incline, longer walks, or more off-road oriented hikes, you’ll be rewarded with the ability to explore new territory and the opportunity to increase your fitness levels.

Take to the Roads

Do you feel like you’ve explored all of the trails and hikes and parks in your area? Consider branching out. Your local hikes can help you and your family work up to a trip to Mammoth Cave, Sedona, the Grand Canyon, the redwood forests of California, the Appalachian trail or volcano tours of Hawaii. Feel like going further? Consider the centuries old pilgrimage along the Camino de Santiago from the Pyrenees of France across northern Spain and ending in Santiago de Compostela. Your family will have a trip to remember and if they make the whole trek, they’ll receive a special certificate at the end of the line.

Whether you’re trekking through the woods of your backyard or across the Appalachian trail, a family walk will do your family good. It’s good exercise, fresh air and time exposed to nature. Consider taking a family walk with your loved ones – you’ll have happy trails together.

Beachbody

5 Simple Ways Procrastinators Can Improve Their Fitness Levels

Photo credit: Gary Bembridge CC BY 2.0

Staying active is the key to being healthy and living a long life, but being fit takes time and motivation. The single greatest challenge to staying fit and healthy is finding ways to stay motivated to counter your procrastination.

If you struggle with motivation, then a great place to start is to write down your goal, identify your compelling reason WHY you want it, and then reconnect with your compelling reason as often as it takes to keep you motivated and reaching your goals.

We all suffer from procrastination on some level, but there are some action steps you can take today to help you move forward and on the road to better health and fitness.

Fitness

Being physically active can produce long term health benefits. Staying active can help you have stronger muscles and bones, improve mood, boost energy, control weight, manage blood pressure, and stave off cardiovascular and other chronic diseases. Also, when we workout, our body releases a cascade of hormones and chemicals that signal our cells to grow stronger.

The health benefits of a good workout are endless, so what’s stopping you from working out?

Procrastination

Procrastination is the art of putting off tasks you should be doing and replacing them with activities you would rather be doing. The most common reason that people don’t workout is because of procrastination.

“I will do it later” is the hallmark reply. Life is full of distractions and if you let life distract you, then it will.

The best way not to get distracted is to never put off until tomorrow what you can do right now. Here are a few tips to help you on your way to being fit today.

5 Simple Tips

Tip #1: Just do it!

Simple, but effective. The easiest way to do something is just to do it. When you think about doing something, the mind can come up with all kinds of reasons and excuses why you shouldn’t.

Improving your fitness levels is as easy as just getting up and moving around. Once you start to move around, you will start to build up momentum and energy, which will help to motivate you to workout for the long term. The best thing is to go into autopilot mode and just go workout!

Tip #2: Make it fun!

Anything we make hard we eventually stop doing. The trick to keeping active and fit is to have fun with it.

Find an activity you enjoy. With all the different options we have in fitness today, there is absolutely something for everyone. Try dancing to some music, jumping on a trampoline, swimming or simply go for a nature walk with your dog.

Find a physical activity that you enjoy and allow yourself to have fun doing it, that’s all there is to it.

Tip #3: Breathe more!

Most people that procrastinate say that they lack the energy to motivate themselves. Oxygen is a catalyst for creating energy. The more oxygen we have in our blood stream, the more energy we have at the same time.

So, try this… relax and breathe normally, and then slowly start to increase your breathing rate. This technique is called the breath of fire, which is a rhythmic breath with equal emphasis on the inhale and exhale to get your blood moving and give you extra energy for working out.

Tip #4: Find a workout partner!

Staying fit and motivated can be greatly helped by having someone to workout with. A workout partner can make your exercise routine more fun, enjoyable and effective.

The key to picking a good partner is to find someone that is not a procrastinator and someone that works out regularly; they can motivate you to do the same.

Having a friend to workout with is also helpful in keeping you accountable, because it’s much more difficult to skip a workout when someone is waiting for you.

Tip #5: Join a class!

An exercise class is an ideal way to motivate yourself to workout and stay fit. In a class setting you will find like-minded people that are there for one reason…to workout! And meeting these people and interacting with them outside of class can help keep you motivated.

There is no better place to stay motivated and to get fit than a gym or workout class. The right setting can do wonders for procrastination.

Bottom Line

Overthinking workouts is where trouble begins. These tips are simple, but effective. They can help anyone who wants to motivate themselves to be fit and definitely much healthier.

Take the first step and begin to create a consistent exercise routine today! A regular exercise routine is the key to improving your fitness levels and decreasing your procrastination habits at the same time.

Remember, just do it!

Beachbody

10 Concrete Ways to Achieve Your Goals in Health and Wellness

Most people make New Year’s resolutions.  Most of these New Year’s resolutions are wishes for health, wealth and happiness.  There is something about a brand new year that makes people want to start right and so they make resolutions.

The word “resolution” comes from the verb “resolve,” which means to come to a solution or a decision over some puzzle or question.  Frankly, most New Year’s resolutions are mere wishes and not really resolutions because precious few of them ever become reality.

In order for resolutions to become reality they must be more than just mere wishes, but actual action plans with action steps. Since health and fitness directly impact our personal well-being and the well-being of our families, we must resolve to be fit and healthy.

But how?

Here are some ideas:

Know the state of your health. Go and see your doctor before starting any exercise or diet regimen. Get yourself checked out thoroughly and tell your doctor about your goal of weight loss and health. People often go on crash diets out of desperation that never have a happy ending. Make sure that you choose a healthy eating plan that will allow for long term success, so you don’t set yourself up for failure right at the start.

Phrase your resolution as a principle. Let your resolution be the guiding principle that will define all the food and activity choices you will make for the whole year.  If you can, articulate it as a theme or a motivating phrase.  The catchier and shorter it is, the easier to remember and the easier to use to discipline yourself and to rally your forces against inactivity and surplus weight.For example, if you use “Thin is in in 2017” — it’s catchy, but it isn’t very precise. A spaghetti noodle is thin, but so is a flagpole. But if you phrase it as a command, “Lose 52 pounds in 2017.”  It is not a wish or a desire anymore, it’s both a goal and a command.

Break it down into small tasks. 52 pounds is a big figure. But, then again, you have 12 months or roughly 52 weeks lose those 52 pounds, which translates to about 4 and a quarter pounds each month of the year or 1 pound each week. So, there you go.  You can revise your resolution: “One pound a week in fifty-two weeks makes fifty-two pounds lost in 2017.” One pound a week is not only a healthy weight loss pace, it is also a very doable goal.

Think of particular plans of action. Answer the question: how do you intend to lose one pound each week? Here is where you have to do a lot of thinking.

  • You can’t starve yourself because starving will boomerang into binges.
  • You can’t deprive yourself because deprivation may mean malnutrition.
  • You can’t abstain from all your favorite food because you will be frustrated.

Think in terms of what you can do instead of what you can’t do.

  • Choose unsweetened plain tea instead of soda.
  • Replace your chips and fattening dip with vegetable sticks and a low-calorie dip. (You can find plenty of healthy dip recipes online.)
  • Eat fish and chicken instead of pork or beef.
  • Bake, boil or poach instead of fry.
  • Grill instead of sautee.
  • Squeeze lemon juice and a little olive oil over lettuce instead of using cream dressings.
  • Eat whole grain bread instead of white bread.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Walk or bike to the market instead of taking the car.
  • Begin a cardio and strength regimen or join a fitness class.

Find a workout buddy. It’s a lot easier to jog or walk when you are with a friend – the mile goes more quickly because of the companionship and conversation. Make sure your workout buddy is a person who knows you well enough to be a drill sergeant when you’re feeling lazy and need one; and a cheerleader when you’re feeling run-down and can use a helping hand.

Continuously challenge yourself. Take baby steps at first, but when you get stronger and more confident, lengthen your stride. If you tell yourself that at the start you will walk around the block before breakfast, do this until it becomes part of your routine (about a week or two) and when you are no longer panting when you circle the block, walk to the next block and back.Gradually increase the length of time that you walk or walk more times around the block or go farther and farther until you build up stamina and strength. Once you get bored with just walking, try jogging.  And then running. Up your game to keep things interesting.

Find ways to measure your progress. Keep a log on your refrigerator door and note down how many blocks you walked today. If you use a pedometer, note the number of steps you took every day. The feeling of accomplishment will fuel further resolve to stick to your workout or physical activity routine. Also monitor weight loss and inches, this is more positive reinforcement that will keep you going.

Designate a weighin day. If you weigh yourself every day, chances are, you will have an emotional roller-coaster experience as the reading on the bathroom scale is often impacted by your daily toilet habits, the outfit you’re wearing, how much fluid you took, etc. Instead of going on a roller-coaster experience, give yourself breathing space and weigh yourself once every week or once every two weeks.

Reward yourself. If you lose 5 pounds, treat yourself to a movie or a massage. Surely a 20 pound loss deserves your favorite bottle of perfume or a new gadget? Whatever the reward, remember to choose something with meaning. Rewards reinforce behavior, which can keep you going for the long term straight to your goal!

Be kind, loving and patient toward yourself. Be your own cheerleader and your own drill sergeant. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you feel disappointed at not having reached a milestone. Tomorrow is a new day. Give yourself good advice and talk yourself out of giving up.  Encourage yourself to get back on track.

Beachbody