Fitness Groupie

It had been a long day, so heading into my final challenge at 7pm took a lot of motivation. I had never done Yoga before, and I was worried about the amount of people that would be there. If only one or two people showed up, the instructor might single me out, and correct my form. If there was a ton of people, would I even get a good workout, or get lost in the class? Continue reading

Hold that Pose!

What words come to mind when you think of muscle building or strength training? Weights, a medicine ball, fancy weight machines, and dumbbells? But, why all of the materialist items? Do we really need all of that to build strength?

Pic 1 for Hold that Pose  Now, what words come to mind when you think of flexibility? Stretching obviously, and perhaps Yoga? So why is it that we associate only stretching with yoga immediately? Because the truth is, with Yoga and other resistance training exercises comes strength training that you can’t get from weight lifting. So if you’re short of weights or don’t have access to a weight lifting machine, good news: one of the best pieces of equipment you can have for strength training is your own body and here’s why:

  • While weights are a great way to build a specific group of muscles, we isolate that group of muscles while neglecting others. As bodybuilding.com states, “We forget about the smaller but very important intrinsic muscles that hold the body together in optimal alignment. When we neglect these muscles, the body’s way of letting you know about it is through bouts of dull pain or aches in your shoulders, knees or lower back that were not there before” (Clark et al., 2008).
  • Holding yoga poses and other resistance training exercises opposed to weight lifting, breaks down to a matter of eccentric contraction in the muscles vs. concentric contraction.

Pic 2 for Hold that Pose

Yoga relies on eccentric contraction, where the muscle stretches as it contracts. This gives the muscle a sleek and lengthy look.

Weight training relies on the opposing principle of concentric contraction. The muscle gets smaller as it contracts. This gives the muscle a compact, bulging appearance.

-Why does it matter to know the difference? Muscle strengthening may be most effective by doing eccentric contractions.

  • Yoga increases muscle endurance, since it is a matter of holding a given pose oppose to short compulsions of a repeated pose.

So next time you shut down a yoga class because you think you won’t benefit from it, revaluate all of the positive outcomes that comes with Yoga and Resistance training. Not only does it work as a double whammy, stretching and building muscle, but it focuses on muscles we usually neglect when weight lifting. As Nicholas DiNubile, says “Yoga can be just as effective as weights when it comes to building a stronger, more impressive physique.” Whether you’re trying out a yoga class for the first time or holding planks or wall sits in your room, broaden your horizon of muscles to focus on instead of isolating one group and neglecting others.

“It’s a good day to have a good one!”

-Alena Purpero

Why Choose Meditation

With the turn of the New Year everyone has his or her new resolutions and goals. Most people aim to lose weight, eat better, or workout everyday. The truth is though, if this isn’t something you normally already do, keeping those resolutions can be extremely difficult. Aiming for small changes may not seem like a huge resolution, but it can be potentially more beneficial in the long run if you actually keep to it. Something that gets overlooked a lot is the power of meditation.

Pic for Blog-Why Choose MeditationThe definition of meditation from the Webster Dictionary is, “To spend time in quiet thought for religious purposes or relaxation.” This may not seem like a hard task, but with our increasingly busy lives we often forget to take time out and gather our thoughts.  Meditation not only benefits you with relaxation but there are also many health benefits that go along with regular meditation.

According to the Art of Living website, some physical benefits that meditation could bring you include; Lowering you blood pressure, reducing anxiety attacks, decreases tension pain, improves mood and behavior, improves immune system, and increases you energy levels. Considering that meditation is not a physically demanding activity, all can enjoy these benefits if they commit the time.

Along with physical benefits the Art of Living also put together a list of mental benefits that meditation offers. That list includes; decrease of anxiety, emotional stability, creativity increases, intuition developments, peace of mind, and sharpens the mind.

Along with those benefits meditation can lead you to become more self-aware and make better health choices. When you reflect on yourself everyday you can discover who you are and what your values are. One testimony that the Huffington post wrote about was a man suffering from anger issues. Through the power of meditation, he was able to recognize his anger and detach himself from it. This allowed him to clear his mind and calm himself instead of acting violent towards someone.

Meditation isn’t something that people talk about often, and even more rarely make their New Years resolution.  But, if you’re looking to make a small change with large benefits, meditation may be the perfect outlet. This is an activity that everyone can do and not feel overwhelmed with.

To set the perfect meditation mood, start with finding a quiet area. Since it is winter, indoors might be the best option for now. Draw your curtains, light some candles, and dim the lights. Setting the perfect meditation mood will make your overall experience that much better and keep you dedicated to it. Remember, for all the best benefits constant practice is necessary.

Stay Healthy. Stay Strong.

– Mary Marren