Thursday, 30 October 2014

Home Fitness Guides To Keep You Focused

It is common scenario for people to never complete a diet program they initially took with the goal of trimming up after calories and fats were collected from a bad lifestyle. Similarly, it is common for people to start using home fitness equipment and then leaving the machine up collecting dust at the corner because they have forgotten it.
Why not all people can stick to what they primarily embarked upon to improve their physical and health aspect? First, it is because of the lack of discipline. Second, focus was directed elsewhere maybe due to boredom, lack of determination and goal. And third, the lack of proper diet and fitness program - a carefully planned guide which you can utilize to easily see your direction and accountability of every result.
If you are in the same boat, you are probably looking once again for another program where you think you can put your focus on for a long time and thus gives you realistic results of keeping yourself in tip top shape, both physical and inner health. However, even with home fitness program, you have the chance to succeed in your goal provided that you have the discipline, the right program, and focus or determination.
To help define what you really want in this particular aspect, here are some simple yet effective guides to keep you focused, determined, and disciplined and stick to your home fitness routine in a lifelong basis.
- If the home fitness plan happens to be your resolution for this year, don't just think of it as a resolution for the whole year. Or don't make it a resolution that benefits you for only a few months, or even for a year.
Rather, make it your lifetime resolution. Think of the long term benefits and think how it can give you a lifelong health and physical fitness. Think how it will be easier for you to live life as you age. That's how a fitness and diet program should be. Long term goals are often easier and lighter to follow than fitness programs for short term effects.
* And this is the most important - eat healthily, rest properly, and avoid getting into disastrous vices such as smoking and drinking. You don't have to eat fancy, healthy foods which you cannot easily prepare for some reasons. And you don't have to be strict with this aspect. Just remember to count the calories you take in.
* Also, consider this goal as a gift to your family and loved ones. Taking care of yourself is an ultimate act that tells you actually care for them. It gives them less of the worries, lesser expenses on medical bills, and the likes. Plus, being healthy, fit, and active means you can give more time to bond with them by engaging in family physical activities.

Home Fitness on a Budget

Busy schedule has prompted most to do their fitness routines outside the confines of a commercial fitness center. But that is not the only reason why many do not enroll to a gym anymore. Budget has now become one of the main reasons why for some, it is most practical to exercise at home. Here are some of the things you can do to stay in shape without having to pay for a membership and spend time commuting to your gym.
Contrary to what most people think, hiking is not a weekend activity. And not because you carry a backpack that can hold all your survival stuffs means that you have to stay overnight on the trail. Hiking can be a regular exercise routine, which can be done several hours a day on your free day, especially if live near hiking parks and trails. Hiking is free and can burn as much as 550 calories per hour.
Putting on your rubber shoes and going around the neighborhood may not be as adventuresome as hiking in parks and trails, but you can still get almost the same health benefits and physical fitness. A good hour of walking can burn up to 380 calories. Jogging and running can burn much more than that.
However, the main disadvantage of walking around the neighborhood is you cannot do it all throughout the year. When the weather is bad or if the winter season has begun, you cannot simply go out and run around the neighborhood (this is the reason why treadmill is so popular). Still, it is still better to maximize the warm days by walking or jogging around the neighborhood than just sitting on your couch and do nothing. Plus, it is free.
Use your existing exercise machine.
It is estimated that 80% of exercise equipment bought in the United States is not used after the first year. This stunning figure only equates to one thing: if you are consider buying new exercise equipment, you are more likely to stop using it after some time. And if you have bought one before, you probably still have it somewhere in your house.
That leaves us to the question, do your really need to buy a new one? If you already have existing equipment and if it is functioning well, use it again. There's nothing wrong with using old exercise equipment. What is wrong is actually buying a new one knowing that you can still use something.
Buy the basics
Having a treadmill or an elliptical trainer at home is cool but that doesn't mean that you must buy one. Remember that they only simulate activities you can do outdoors so you can always choose to forego buying any one of these if you cannot afford to buy one. Just buy the basics like weights, exercise mat and exercise ball. They all provide various workout techniques but do not cost as much.

Fitness Equipment Substitutions

There have been so many excuses concerning getting fit that a book should be written about all of them. (You know, there probably is a book someone has already written, but I just have not found it yet.) One of the excuses I hear from people is "I don't own the right equipment for fitness." That is just not true! Just because a person may not own the latest dumbbells or have a state-of-the-art fitness center set up in the basement does not mean they cannot work out. Fitness can be achieved by using good equipment substitutions. Many of these fitness substitutes can be found right in the home.
No weights?
If there are no free weights or resistance bands available for strength training exercises, and this equipment is not included in the family budget to purchase, then that is fine. A great substitution for this is to use different sized water bottles to provide resistance training. Grab two empty 20 ounce bottles, fill them with water and seal them tight. Voila - a "free pair" of weights is now available. To provide a little more density for training, purchase some craft sand and fill the water bottles with the sand.
For heavier resistance, fill 1 liter bottles or even 2 liter bottles with sand. Soup cans work well for lighter resistance needs. They are making vacuum cleaners much lighter now, but in the past, the heavy canister vacuum cleaners would provide a workout unlike any other. Of course, the best type of resistance equipment that is absolutely free is using body weight.
No treadmill or stairmaster?
For a great cardio workout, a machine is not necessary. The great outdoors is a wonderful cardio training facility - and it costs nothing to put on a pair of sneakers or hiking boots and take advantage of it. It is suggested to take a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes three to five times each week.
Football athletes use the stairs at the football stadium as their workout for calves and legs. If there is not a stadium in the area where running is allowed, there are the stairs in a park, or even the stairs in or around the house. Playing outdoor games is fun and can burn calories, if done for long periods of time. Another great way to get a cardio workout is to clean. Yes, doing heavy activities like vacuuming, scrubbing, and furniture arranging will help you "feel the burn".
No yoga mat, strap, or blocks?
Flexibility exercises can be done right at home, with a trusty blanket folded double to substitute for a mat. Also, if a person is doing yoga and needs to use a strap and blocks, all they need to do is get the strap from their bathrobe. It is easy and does not cost anything! For yoga blocks, how about the boxes of Kleenex from the grocery store
It is better to use the box that contains 125 tissues or more for the yoga block substitute.
There is a quote that says, "Do what you can with what you have...". This holds true for everything, including fitness equipment. Getting healthy and fit does not have to cost much at all.

Tips for Making and Keeping Fitness

Fitness has been defined by the United States Department of Health and Human Services as "a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity" (USDHHS, 1996). Setting and keeping fitness goals is a reflection of one's level of discipline, dedication and determination. As we approach this holiday season, mapping a plan of action to keep you strong and sound is worth the while.
Fitness goals come in many forms. They may include daily exercise goals, dieting goals and nutrition goals. Whichever areas you decide to focus on, it is advisable that you make a commitment to yourself to live up to your goals, the following tips, if taken seriously will help you achieve your personal fitness goals during this season when millions of people are losing it.
Decide to start. Deciding to start is the first step in your quest. No matter how unfit and undisciplined you have been, making a decision to rise and be fit is the first step in your journey towards fitness, especially during this holiday season when it will definitely get tougher and harder to start.
Have a schedule that keeps you focused. Your decision forms the skeleton of your fitness plan. Creating a schedule is the flesh that you need to add to your skeleton of decision to cover it up. Make a time table around your daily schedule to accommodate your fitness campaign.
Do not be overzealous. Take it one step at a time. I remember some years ago when I decided to engage in several sports to keep me fit. Then, I wanted to play football, lawn tennis and swim, all at the same time. I ended up overburdening myself and had to give up my schedule after a short period, because I was overwhelmed and frustrated when I was not meeting up with my weekly goals.
Create a reward system for yourself. Setting and keeping fitness goals require that you have some form of external motivation to keep you going. Going to the gym on a cold winter morning can be a tall order. But if you have a reward system for yourself for making that move, say, three times a week, your morale will always be high. You can decide to treat yourself to a favorite meal in your favorite restaurant for every three gym sessions you attend. You may watch a favorite movie for avoiding some high fat-containing food.
Find a partner. I remember when I decided to start going to the gym. All I needed to do was to look out for folks who were also interested in using the gym. I relied a lot on their support to get started and going. I never missed classes for one day, because someone was always there to remind me that it was time to go.
Watch your calorie intake: It is very important that you monitor your calorie intake, especially during this holiday period. Enrolling in the best exercise program will amount to nothing if you go on an eating spree, consuming anything that comes your way. Watch what you eat on a daily basis. It is likely that you will visit friends and family, who will offer you food that may not be too healthy.
This holiday is a season to celebrate with your family and friends. Enjoy it to the fullest, but remember that you have a responsibility to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Good luck as you step into this season in style.

Group Fitness Instructors - Gaining Confidence

Training a client one-on-one as a personal trainer can be a nerve wracking experience for a newly certificated specialist. When one considers that the personal trainer is acting as a teacher and coach, hoping to motivate and educate his or her client to adopt a healthier and more active lifestyle while getting them through their workouts safely, they may understand the anxiety a new trainer may experience.
This anxiety and lack of confidence may be amplified when a personal trainer decides to branch out into group fitness instructing-becoming responsible for the safety, guidance, and motivation of an entire class.
Tips to improve fitness group instructor confidence
In the October/November 2009 issue of ACE Certified News, fitness pro Amanda Vogel offered several great tips for group fitness instructors to help improve their level of confidence until they become more comfortable in front of a group of clients. Below are five of her tips to help improve a group fitness instructor's confidence level.
Know the lesson plan
Every teacher aims to effectively communicate and demonstrate the tasks they assign to their students. Prior to teaching their classes, many teachers study their lesson plans. The same method of preparation works for group fitness instructors. The more comfortable the fitness instructor is with the exercises and routines they have devised, the easier it will be to make the members in the group feel more at ease with the exercises and routines in which they are participating.
Know what you bring to the table
Aside from fitness expertise, group fitness trainers can bring something new, unique, and valuable to their group classes. Perhaps it is a positive, can-do attitude; a calm and inviting demeanor that helps to set the group at ease, a receptive personality, and/or a great method for demonstrating and explaining complex exercises. Focus on the things that make taking a group fitness class with you desirable. Your group members are likely to notice your individual value and stick around to see what more you have to offer.
Consider what you do best
The fitness industry is fascinating and constantly changing. New, popular group classes pop up all of the time, and it may seem that traditional step, kick-boxing, or strength training classes are less and less desirable to the public. Before launching into the new and trendy classes, set aside time to study the trends in order to decide whether those types of classes fit your unique brand.
Certainly, it is a great idea to keep your workout modern and effective by fusing new techniques with your own tried and true methods, but it may be a confidence booster to continue to teach what you know and do best until you become comfortable with what is new.
Fake it until you make it
No doubt, getting up in front of a class and assuming responsibility for the group that you are teaching can wear on one's nerve. Until sufficient group instructing experience is attained and confidence in talents and value are developed, it may be necessary to simply behave as though one is confident.
Smiling broadly and genuinely will brighten your day and allow clients to feel more comfortable participating in the fitness class. Speaking clearly and succinctly when explaining and encouraging clients in class will build a positive foundation between group members and the instructor
Establishing that foundation, in conjunction with continued education and practice are essential to developing confidence and appeal.

Home Fitness: Exercise Equipment Choices

There are several considerations when buying exercise equipment and the biggest challenge is perhaps choosing the one that matches your budget, space and fitness level. But regardless of these factors, you are most likely to land on any of the following exercise equipment:
Treadmill is a popular piece of gym equipment that has become the primary choice of anyone who wants to maintain an exercise routine at home. It lets you walk, jog or run anytime of the day, any month of the year - regardless of season and weather condition. A good treadmill costs at about $1500 but it can go as much as $3500, depending on the brand and features. When selecting one, focus on the load capacity, wide belt, incline settings, safety shutoff, smooth action and solid construction.
Elliptical Trainer is a no-impact exercise machine that simulates running and walking without causing excessive pressure on the joints thus decreasing the risk of impact injuries. The machine can be set from low- to high-intensity work out that is suited for all fitness levels. Today, elliptical trainers are the most popular piece of gym equipment. Price ranges from $500 to as much as $4000. Try out different brands when buying one.
Rowing Machines are excellent for those who want a total body workout. Requires little space, the rowing machine simulates the body movement of watercraft rowing targeting both the upper and the lower body muscle groups. Proper posture is required to avoid back strain.
Cross Country Ski Machines provide a full body workout, targeting both the upper and the lower body muscle groups. However, this type of machine is hard to master. So before buying one, make sure that you try it out first and see if it is really for you. People who use a cross country are often the best experienced exercisers with sufficient skills, who want a challenging workout.
Step Machines or steppers are low impact exercise machines that improve cardiovascular fitness and build and strengthen lower body muscles. A good step machine can be very expensive. Choose the right one or consider other alternatives if your budget does not fit.
Stationary Bike is composed of pedals, a paddle and some kind of handle similar to a real bike but used as exercise equipment rather than a means of transportation. A stationary bike is good for new exercisers or for those who like to have a no-impact cardiovascular workout. A quality stationary bike costs between $500 and $1000.
Recumbent Machines are like stationary bikes but with the rider sitting in an inclined position. The main advantage of a recumbent machine over a stationary bike is it provides better lower back support, thus minimizing the stress on the knees. A recumbent machine has the same aerobic effect with that of a stationary bike and targeting the muscles of the quadriceps, hamstrings and gluteus.
Resistance equipment is often known as either free weights or multi-stations or home gyms. Both have pros and cons and purchasing either of the two requires major thinking. Free weights are reasonably priced and require less space but they also require greater supervision and instruction as they are more likely to cause injury. Multi-stations on the other hand are more convenient to use but takes up a lot of space and the price depends on the quality of the machine. Take your pick.

24 Hour Fitness

There are many gyms in the US, and not all of them are alike. Some are local, while others are national, and some are good while others are 'not so good'. Most national chains offer more features than local gyms, and are usually larger and better equipped.
24-Hour Fitness is among the best known national gyms, and as a large chain, has many features and perks to draw in new members. Unlike some gyms, 24 Hour Fitness offers membership that can be paid on a monthly basis, instead of a large one-time payment.
If you are considering a membership at 24 Hour Fitness, here is an overview of the of their services, features, and some the most common complaints offered by members.
There are several different types of clubs within the 24 Hour Fitness franchise: sport/super sport/ultra sport and active/fitline. The sports facilities offer sports-like amenities, including courts, sauna's, day spa's, etc. The active offers a fitness gym, equipped with fee weights and machines, treadmills, ellipticals, etc.
24 Hour Fitness offers many perks, the best of which is alluded to in it's name - the majority of 24 Hour Fitness locations are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, making it easy for anyone to go when their schedule permits.
24 Hour Fitness offers Kids Club, which is a daycare center for your children to play while you workout, and is included in your membership - you don't have to pay extra to use the service.
In addition to 24 hour access gyms, they also offer a multitude of group sessions, including: Aerobics, kickboxing, yoga, pilates, boot camp, water, dance, and cycling. They also offer personal fitness trainers for different goals, be it sports training or weight loss; the personal trainers have an additional fee associated with them.
Many of the common complaints that members have about 24 Hour Fitness is that the staff often ignores issues, or poorly deals with them. Another very common complaint is that the building is kept too hot, and it not only makes working out uncomfortable, but also makes members more irritable and shorter in patience. Finally, the largest complain seems to be in regard to financial issues, usually the cancellation or transfer of payments.
Whether you are looking for top of the line cardio equipment, free weights, group classes, or a raquetball gym, 24 Hour Fitness offers something for nearly everyone, and with 370 + locations throughout the US, your likely to find one in your city.

Fitness - Getting Started and Setting Goals

We need to be able to chase our little ones in the backyard without losing our breath, to pick them up without hitching our back or straining our arms. We also need to be around for as long as possible not only to enjoy our children but also so that they can enjoy us.
You and I both know what we need to do to ensure that we are physically fit and strong enough to sustain an active and long life but getting into the groove of working out is one of the most difficult things we need to do.
First you should asses your fitness level prior to beginning your workout. To do this read Your At Home Fitness Assessment.
Set detailed weight loss and workout goals after completing your fitness assessment. Set specific goals instead of setting a goal that you will lose twenty pounds. Set a goal that you will lose two pounds per week for ten weeks to reach a total weight loss of twenty pounds. Then set a goal for how you will lose two pounds per week.
Instead of setting a goal that you will work out - set a goal that you will work out for thirty minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday beginning at five am. When you are ready to incorporate weights into your workout set specific goals with the parts of the body you will work and the workouts you will perform.
Keep track of your eating and your workouts in a journal. Write down every morsel that you put in your mouth. You will quickly realize that you do not want to eat that Oreo if you have to write it down in your meal journal along with the calories, fat grams, carbs, sugar, fiber and protein. Record the length of your cardio sessions, your pace, calorie burn and how you feel afterward. Also include your weight sessions - exercise, weight, reps and sets.
If you have an iPhone then I highly recommend the free Lose It! application. If not then I recommend the DietMinder Personal Food & Fitness Journal available for $10.17 at Amazon. If neither sounds interesting then use a notebook to record the relevant information.
It is now time to execute your plan since you have your fitness assessment and goals complete. Stay tuned for cardio and weight/resistance routines, until then how about trying to sneak in some extra cardio? Read Ways to Sneak in Cardio.
You will quickly reach your goals if you stick with your workouts and eating plan.
Get Up, Get Moving and Get Healthy!

Home Fitness

Advantages of Home Fitness Equipment
Do you feel the need to trim up a bit because of the extra counts of calories accumulated from the food and drinks served up during the past holidays? But the problem is you're too lazy to rise up early in the cold mornings to go outside and exercise? Are you not the kind that can go around the park for a brisk walk or 30-minute jog? Or is your daily schedule too tight up to even get a 1-hour work-out at the gym fitness center?
If you answer yes to these questions, you might like the idea of doing it at home at anytime of the day and night.
A home fitness regimen is a flexible option for individuals like you who cannot easily go out to trim excess calories and fats. It usually means two things: either you do your own physical exercises, like doing aerobics, bending, dancing, jogging, and the likes; or you get exercise equipment and devices for your own home use. Most people opt for the latter due to the many advantages it gives to an individual looking for a more flexible, better way of losing calories.
The advantages in doing your workout regimen at home with physical fitness equipment are:
First, you can do it at any time convenient for you. Whether you want to do it at mornings after waking up or at nights because your schedule is quite full at daytime, a home fitness exercise is perfect for you. You have the freedom to not wake up early in the mornings, or you don't have to be bounded by time when doing your exercise with your home fitness equipments.
Second, you can use your exercise equipment without hassles. There is no more confining yourself to a limited time of using equipment due to other people waiting in line, which usually happens at a gym center. You can use it at any amount of hours at your own discretion.
Third, you have the privilege to exercise at a desired amount of time needed to burn your extra calories. You can do it everyday, bi-, or tri-weekly. And for the best part, you do this freedom of exercising at a desired amount of time without paying for extra cost, which is the next advantage.
And finally, you save money. In a gym fitness center, you pay monthly not only for the time you spend with them but for the services of the trainers and staff. With home fitness equipment, there is no need for you to maintain your membership by paying regularly.
In addition, you don't pay whenever you use their equipments, facilities, and services in excess to the number of hours you originally signed up with them. If you think of how much you can save in a year, you will be surprised at how much more advantageous it is to own exercise equipment at home.

Advised that you look at the advantages

There are many kinds of exercise equipment that are available in the industry. The treadmill, elliptical trainer, stationery bike, fitness ball, and a lot others are typically ideal choices for home use. Whatever home fitness equipment that you find ideal to your needs, it is advised that you look at the advantages, disadvantages, price, and most importantly, the terms and conditions coming from the provider or maker of the machine.
Before Buying Home Fitness Equipment
Going to the gym and participating in a regular exercise activity is a great way to stay fit and healthy. However, in some situations, a regular commute to the gym is not convenient. And since staying fit and healthy has always been your desire, you may already have considered building a gym at home. But before shopping for home fitness equipment, ask your self, "Are you ready to invest on such things?"
Money has always been a significant factor when building your own home gym. A good treadmill can cost up to $3000 and buying one can really put some pressure to your financial standing. So as outrageous as it may sound, you need know if you can afford it or not. (Do not forget to include all the added cost like shipping and installation.)
For some, buying expensive equipment will oblige them to use it. While the cost can be a motivating factor to stay fit, this doesn't happen in real life. In fact, it is estimated that 80% of home fitness equipment is not used after the first year - and the majority of people who belong to this statistics are beginners. That said, if you are planning to jump start the interest in exercising at home, you are more likely to stop using the equipment you bought without even getting your money's worth.
You have to identify what exactly is your goal. Are you going to build muscles? Improve cardiovascular fitness? Or increase flexibility? Your goal determines the type of equipment that you have to buy. Also, select between new and used exercise equipment. Both have advantages and disadvantages (the most notable is the price; used exercise equipment can save you as much as 70%, than brand new.)
Set a budget and limit your selection to the things you can afford. Home gym equipment doesn't have to be so expensive. You can start with exercise ball and dumbbells. A good pair of walking shoes is a way to start.
Another factor that is always overlooked is the amount of space available for the equipment. Having a treadmill is cool, but do you know where are you going to put it? Will your spouse love to climb over your elliptical machine just to get into the bed? Or will you still be using your treadmill in your garage even if it is 10 degrees below? Such things matter so think before you buy.
Do not fall prey to people that offer different types of equipment that promise amazing results in a very short time. Just think about it, if you can get 6-pack abs by using a certain machine for 3 minutes a day, 3 times a week, then how much more if you do not use any machine at all? The rule of thumb is, if it sounds too good to be true, then it is.
Finally, you have to shop around. Do not feel obliged to buy on the first store you enter just because you like the way the sales person talks. The best buys are found when you look at different stores, compare prices and do thorough research. When at a store, test the machines. If you do not belong to a gym, let someone test it. Do not forget online stores and discount shops.

Summer Fitness Tips

Remember when you were a kid and summer days lingered on forever? You couldn't get enough of the sun on your skin, the days with your friends, and all the fun activities you participated in. It was a whole lot easier to stay fit and healthy as a kid, too. Just because you're older now doesn't mean you can't maximize the summer months and use the longer days to have fun and jumpstart your fitness routine.
Start a Fight. A water balloon fight, that is! Grab your family or neighbors and plan a night of fun with water balloons, water guns, and even a slip n' slide. All the running and laughing is great exercise, and you won't even realize how hard you're working. Finish up the evening with fresh fruit, veggies and barbecue chicken for a light and healthy meal.
Be a Swinger. Head to your local playground and as the evening fades into twilight, enjoy running, playing, swinging and sliding on all the familiar equipment. Whether you hop on a merri-go-round, or you play on a teeter-totter, it takes energy to push, climb and shimmy. Acting like a kid also relieves stress, so hop on a swing, close your eyes, and imagine you're flying through the air, letting all your adult worries fade away.
Kick the Bucket. Well, Kick the Can. Remember this game? A combination of tag, hide-and-seek, and capture-the-flag, kick the can ensures hours of fun. If this game isn't your style, choose another. The point is, kids play games all the time, and all of their games are active. Running and hiding between trees, bushes, and houses, all while trying to tag or dodge other players burns calories and contributes to increased fitness.
Start a Biker Gang. When you were a kid, your only modes of transportation were your feet and your bicycle. I remember grabbing my bike and joining my friends, wrecking havoc while flying through the neighborhood. When your only options for transportation require physical activity, you're bound to stay healthy. Get a bike and a bike cart and start riding to the grocery store for food, take trips to the park for a picnic, and just explore your surroundings. It's even better if you can recruit your family and friends to join you.
Escape Reality. Kids are full of imagination, and they allow their creativity to rule their world. Engage in a little child-like dreaming and come up with a new, fun game to play. I remember pretending as a kid to be a mermaid at my local swimming pool. I could only swim with my legs together in a flutter about hard work! Other times my siblings and I would compete to see how many times we could roll down a hill, or we'd make sand-castle villages at our local playground. Thinking outside the box and using your imagination to come up with a new and active game is a great way to keep your fitness routine fresh.

Five Great Fitness Gifts for Kids

According to, "the percentage of overweight children in the United States is growing at an alarming rate, with 1 out of 3 kids now considered overweight or obese." With video games, computers and television occupying our children's time, fitness activities have fallen by the wayside.
Organized sports are great activities but we need to instill in our children the importance of daily exercise. Encourage children to play with equipment that is fun but also doubles as great fitness activities. This holiday season why not turn it up a notch and give the gift of fitness to your children. Here we list fitness gift ideas-probably gifts you received as a child-that will encourage your kids to be active.
Hula hoop
This classic toy from the 50s is experiencing a new emergence as a great fitness activity for all ages. Hooping classes are popping up all over the place. But your child doesn't need a class to benefit from this great fitness gift. Once they get the hang of moving their hips in a circle to keep the hoop up, they'll want to keep trying to beat their previous time. Parents can join in the fun too and turn this fitness gift into a family activity.
Roller skates
Roller skates have transformed many times over the years since their inception. But the fitness gift we're talking about is the traditional quad skates. This fitness gift is great for kids 5 and up with lots of energy. Kids can burn up to 315 calories in 30 minutes of rollerskating and can skate at roller rinks as easily as they can skate on sidewalks near their home. Throw in all the fun they will have and this is one incredible fitness gift.
Rip stiks
Rip Stik Caster Boards are the latest take on the classic skateboard but using it is more akin to riding a surfboard. This fitness activity takes a little more time than the others to master but when they finally do, kids will never want to stop. Great activity that focuses on balance and coordination  and make sure to include safety equipment when giving this fitness gift.
Jump rope
Remember jumping rope as a kid during recess? We had so much fun playing jump rope games. We would jump in groups, by ourselves or even double dutch. Jump roping is a wonderful fitness activity you should encourage for your child. Jumping rope improves muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, coordination, balance, and agility. Not to mention it's easy to learn and a very inexpensive fitness gift.
Hoppity Hops
I loved this toy growing up and I even remember my mom taking it for spin in our front yard. Back in the late 60s, I received this amazing ball as a gift. It was a large red rubber ball that my entire family enjoyed bouncing on. If you're not familiar with this fun fitness gift, kids (or adults) sit on top of the ball, grasp the handle and begin to jump up and down. This is great exercise that totally doesn't feel like your exercising. Kids will love this fitness gift.
As you can see, many of these fitness gifts are blasts from the past. And if you remember, overweight and obese children weren't as common as they are today. So do you kids a favor, encourage daily activity by giving them one of these great fitness gifts.

Common Fitness-Training Mistakes

When we begin a new fitness program, we are energized to work out and optimistic about achieving our goals. As the weeks pass, our enthusiasm may fade. Workouts may become less frequent and eventually cease altogether before we reap the anticipated benefits.
Studies show that 50% of individuals who start a self-monitored fitness program will stop exercising within six months. The dropout rate is very high when a fitness program is begun at a very high intensity level and when self-motivation to exercise is low.
Following sound principles and practices can reduce exercise missteps, produce better results, and encourage fitness program adherence. The following are common fitness training mistakes and suggestions for correcting them.
Vague goals
Goal setting is a key motivator for exercise adherence. Well-defined goals guide decisions about the types of exercises and regimens that will produce the intended results. Set both short-term and long-term goals that are specific, realistic, challenging, and achievable.
Beginning fitness levels not assessed
When individuals begin exercise programs, they seldom take inventory of their initial health and fitness status. Assessments offer baseline measures on which to show progress. Test yourself on items related to your goals so that you have clear training targets and can establish reasonable time lines to achieve them. Reaching each milestone demonstrates success and inspires greater self confidence to continue exercising.
Loosely focused training program
Without appropriate exercise regimens that specifically target goals, results can be haphazard. A well-designed fitness program can streamline the path toward your expected outcomes while preventing the frustration of slow progress or no progress at all. Unless you are familiar with exercise principles, you may need to rely on professional guidance to develop a well-planned program.
Program not individualized
No two individuals are alike, nor do they respond in exactly the same way to exercise. Fitness level, gender, posture, medical history, personal goals, and many other factors provide a basis for individualizing exercise programs. Personalizing your program to fit your needs and preferences will yield faster results.
Working too hard
The "more-is-better" philosophy of training is not as effective as you might expect. Training with variations in workout routines produce better results than training to failure or exhaustion. Adequate recovery periods are necessary to prevent dropping out of exercise activities due to overtraining.
Not working hard enough
If exercise is too easy, you will be frustrated by the lack of results. A general guideline is to work out within a target zone of 60-85% of maximum effort. As you adapt to specific exercise regimens and your performances improve, you must gradually and progressively increase your work load so that you continue to train within the 60-85% range.
Insufficient stretching
As muscles become stronger and tone improves, it is important to stretch prior to and after workouts. Maintaining adequate flexibility is essential for preventing aggravating injuries that can contribute to quitting exercise programs.
Fitness training mistakes are avoidable. As you learn more about exercise and apply sound principles, you will encounter fewer disappointments and realize more consistent gains. If you continue to work wisely, diligently, and safely, you can ultimately achieve your fitness goals.

Get Your Fitness Goals

Once you've picked your activity, decide how often a week you want to do it. At least three times is the rule. Then pick where those workout times are going to fit into your schedule. You have to make room for them. Will it be thirty minutes on a lunch break? Will it be in the evening after work? In the morning before classes? While the kids take a nap? While Dad is giving them all their baths? Whatever works well for you is when you should do it. Fitness is fairly flexible. So long as the gym is open or it isn't too dark and dangerous at the park for a jog, etc., you can go when it feels good to you to go.
Okay, here's the real clincher. Once you've got it planned, start it and keep it up consistently for two weeks. Short of a seriously necessary interruption, don't let anything stop you from doing it that can be avoided. Follow through with your plan for two weeks. After two weeks you will be in significantly better shape than when you started.
You will have gotten used to the physical load. You will have gotten over being sore after every time you do it. You will have gotten used to the new weekly routine. You will have gotten used to having this activity in your life. If you make it to your two-week goal, doing it will have gotten significantly easier. And insisting that you do it when you don't want to will be easier to, because you've been practicing it for two weeks
If you do this, you are much more likely to continue the activity for life. And once you see what a difference the two-week commitment makes for you, it will be easier to get your fitness life going again if you ever get off track. Just tell yourself, "Remember last time? In just two weeks it was much easier. Come on, self-I can force you to do it for two weeks and then it will be easier to stick with it after that."
In another two weeks, you can add more if you are interested. Add a strength-training workout or a cardio workout to compliment what you're already doing. Maybe lengthen the amount of time you work out or add another day or two a week. Focus on this as something that you need in order to take good care of yourself. Just like you do other things necessary for your health, like eat and drink and brush your teeth and sleep. I know, some people don't do that stuff well, either. Enjoy your life and take care of it. A big part of the meaning of life is having fun and feeling good, and health and fitness are a big key to succeeding in that.

Tips for Making and Keeping Fitness Goals

Holidays can mean delicious deserts, tasty drinks, and elaborate meals. The holidays are also a time where most have no time at all! No time leads to fitness goals being tossed aside. To combat the time crunches for these upcoming holidays, read on for tips and suggestions for making and keeping your fitness goals.
1. Sit down and ask yourself why you want to accomplish these fitness goals. Whether it be to keep the holiday calories at bay, stay healthy, or lose weight, establish your reasons for your fitness goals beforehand. Once you have done that, put up a picture in a spot that you see every day that motivates you. It may be picture of you at your ideal weight, a picture of your family, or a something from a magazine; whatever works for you.
2. When making a fitness goal, be sure to keep your reasons in mind. Evaluate the time you have, your current fitness level, and what you enjoy. For example: if someone hates running, but forces themselves to pound down the treadmill every day, it won't be something they are going to look forward to. Find an activity you enjoy and that your body can handle. A great way to start out is by walking.
3. Find a buddy or someone close to you to keep you accountable. Based on my own non-motivational experience, it is much easier to take that trip to the gym if someone is meeting you there. Having someone to keep you accountable to your fitness goals, works wonders for your fitness commitments.
4. If you go to a gym - invest some money in a personal trainer. Although this may not be an option for some people due to costs, for others it helps them keep commitments. If this is out of your cost range, tell other around you of your goals. Ask them to check in with you and your progress.
5. Make an appointment with yourself! Mark down 20 to 30 minutes on your calendar a few days a week just for you and keeping your fitness goals. This way, you are able to schedule other appointments and shopping around your 'you' time.
6. Realize that fitness can include the family. Snowball fights, snowman rolling contests, ice skating and sledding are all activities that the whole family can enjoy. Lucky for you, they also blast calories and raise your heart rate.
7. Don't forget to eat right! Be sure to fuel your body for workouts; try a bowl of oatmeal, bananas or pasta. Remember to drink plenty of water (6 to 8 glasses) a day, and add fruit, vegetables, whole grains and non-processed foods to your diet. Eating right will help you feel less sluggish and more motivated to complete whatever you started.
Even during the rest of the year, fitness goals are very challenging. Don't give up! Just think...when the time for New Year's Resolutions rolls around, you will be way ahead of everyone else, you can do it!

Walking for Fitness

There has been a tremendous increase in the number of people who are getting into any kind of program or activity that would improve health and physical well being. Remedies are being offered almost everywhere to help people lose weight or become more physically fit. Products vary from one type to the other and each every product offer distinct results: from weight loss, to cellulite loss, to body mass gain, to trimming and toning. Name it...the market has it.
Every health and fitness facility offer programs and courses that cater to people who want to stay fit. Even age old theories and practices on health, such Yoga and Pilates, are being offered as programs in fitness centers with each center having an upbeat version of their own.
Fitness gyms are filled with all those expensive and sophisticated exercise equipment designed to focus on improving specific muscle groups. You might even have a gadget or two stacked somewhere in your closet that at one time you purchased to use for firmer abs or leaner arms and legs. Clearly, people spend a lot of time and money simply to stay fit.
Arguments on which method on health and fitness that produce better results abound. Every health and physical fitness facility or health product company claim to produce better results than other programs or products in less time required. Fitness programs are being tailor fit to suit the specific needs of a person. And results are claimed to vary from one person to the other.
With all these options that you can choose from, you might be wondering: "Which program or product would be most effective for me?" Often one gets to spend lots money trying out a new fitness regimen that apparently turns out to create very little results. Most of the time it's not because the program doesn't work, often its is because the program doesn't work well with person's schedule or the person might not find the program interesting enough to retain.
There are also cases wherein weight loss is achieved quickly but maintained over a limited span of time only. The moment the person stops using the product or stops going to the fitness center, then fitness is lost as well. So how does one come up with s system that can maintain health and physical fitness all throughout the year? The answer is simple: walking. Walking is the most convenient form of exercise. It is less time consuming and virtually requires no costs.
Walking is part of our daily routine. It is an activity that comes naturally. Undoubtedly, walking is the oldest form of exercise. Walking is even often pegged to be the greatest form of exercise. It allows a person to burn calories and boost metabolism. And the best part about it is that walking for exercise is not difficult.
It can actually be incorporated in our daily activities. For example, instead of taking the car to go to a place that is only a few blocks away from your house, try walking instead. It helps you burn calories and at the same time relieves stress. Walking for exercise is a healthy option. It is a tried and tested method to staying fit.

Aerobic Fitness Exercises

If you are bored with your aerobic fitness routine, or you are not seeing the changes you want from the effort you are putting into your fitness routine, maybe you need a change. No, make that "maybe you need a few changes",
You see, in order to get the most from your exercises, you have to mix them up a bit and work your body out in different ways. If you do the same old, same old every day, don't be surprised if you never see any changes in the way you look.
The idea is to incorporate two or more types of aerobic fitness into the same exercise schedule. If you have been jogging an hour every morning for the past five years, you are stuck in a rut. Cut your time down, take a short break and try adding a morning walk for 20 minutes, another short break and then some time on the row machine. You will still get your 1 hour of exercise, but the switch up in routine will work your body differently and you will see results.
Varying your aerobic fitness routine does not take any more strength than your single routine, you will just be getting more out of the same time. Obviously, if you only exercise for 40 minutes a day, just split the time between two or three aerobic routines.
Studies have shown that this type of routine, with breaks between the types of exercise for the body to recover, has a much greater impact on shaping the body. Just about any combination of aerobic fitness workout will serve the purpose. You can do your own mix and match, and suit it to your mood and the weather.
Try adding some of these new routines, if you have only been running up until now:
Rowing, stair climbing, walking, biking, swimming, fitness video, such as kick boxing or Tai Bo,
In addition to the physical benefits from this new routine, reducing the boredom in your aerobic fitness program will make it less likely that you will give it up out of boredom. And another very important benefit of mixing you aerobic moves is that you are less likely to fall victim to injuries from repetitive exercises. Bikers knee, shin splints from excessive running or rotator cuff injuries from too much rowing can be avoided when you do enough of each exercise to get the strength building properties, but avoid the repetitive strain on joints and tendons.
Changing your aerobic fitness mix changes your body because each exercise targets different muscle groups, and even similar ones such as running and walking may target the same groups in a different way or at a different angle. You may have noticed this concept if you are used to running, and think you are in great shape until you have to walk a few flights of stairs. You are challenging different parts of your body in different way. So mix it up and you'll see a big difference.
Muscle and stamina conditioning depends upon specific aerobic routines for that specific muscle and energy level that is required to accomplish visible results. Much like when you walk briskly a few miles daily but still get winded from walking up a few flights of stairs, this is because your body is trained for one type of activity and not the other, which may require different movements of another source of the same muscles. For a more effective and efficient work out program try developing a rounded aerobic fitness routine.

The Best Gift Ideas for Fitness Lovers

Finding fitness and exercise gifts for the die-hard athlete to the weekend bicyclists is not hard. Just find out what sports and fitness activities they enjoy. Once you know their fitness passions, it's just a matter of finding the right fitness gift.
Fitness Accessories
Fitness and exercise accessories are excellent holiday stocking stuffers or gifts for fitness lovers. iPod Armbands make the best fitness gift when paired with a music download gift card. Hikers love the CamelBak Stoaway, which carries 70 oz of water in an easy to use backpack container. With environmental concerns over the use of plastic water bottles, stainless steel water bottles also make the best gift for all fitness enthusiasts.
Yoga fans will love a yoga towel , skidless yoga mats or even the less expensive mat-sized yoga towels. The runners in the family will swoon over the Timex Unisex Digital Heart Rate Monitor Watch.
Wii Fitness
The best fitness exercise game products available are the Wii and Wii Fit Balance Board Kids ask to exercise with games such as tennis, Active Life, boxing and a variety of other games, which are sold with the Wii Fit Balance Board. Fitness lovers will love they way this products introduces kids to fitness and they'll find that they'll get a challenging workout out, also.
Fitness Magazines
Fitness Magazines make inexpensive fitness gift that last throughout the year. Giving magazines as a stocking stuffer or as a gift is an excellent and inexpensive way of showing you care. For men try a subscription to Muscle & Fitness, Men's Health or Men's Fitness. Most women enjoy Spa magazine or Fitness , Women's Health or Self
Stress Reduction
Stress reduction gifts are excellent ways of helping your loved one reduce stress. The Miracle Ball Method: Relieve Your Pain, Reshape Your Body, Reduce Your Stress is an excellent fitness product, which is designed to help you relax and get tone. It comes with two Miracle Balls and an instructional book. For centuries, Yoga has been shown to relieve stress and provide fitness in a gentle yet challenging manor. Introduce your fitness lover to Yoga with the exercise DVD called Yoga For Every Body .
When buying gifts for fitness lovers, remember, it doesn't' have to be expensive, they'll enjoy a monogrammed towel, a new yoga mat or a magazine subscription. Just let them know that you care.

The Exercises that Will Get You Ready

It's important for anyone to be in shape for skiing but it's especially important if you're an expert. The thing about being an expert is that your mind still remembers the marvelous things you were doing by the end of last season, the tricky twists and turns - but your muscles have forgotten. So away you go, full of confidence, and ... Bam! Wipeout!
Leo Cough, a director of the Toronto Ski Club and a ski instructor, says he can't count the number of times he's seen expert skiers clobber themselves at the beginning of each season. "They pull muscles, they break legs - it happens every day, every week, every month."
Peter Elson, a fitness consultant in Toronto (he designs training programs for executives and advises fitness clubs), says your muscles need a yearly refresher course, for safety's sake. "A fit person is aware of what his body is capable of. When a message that he's getting tired goes to his brain, he'll pay attention."
And there's a simple economic reason for getting into shape. "At close to $20 a day for lift tickets," says Elson, "you don't want to spend the first month doing warmups on the slope." If you're fit, you'll enjoy it more, too. "It's easier," says Elson, "so It's more fun. And you'll have energy left over for the apres-ski life."
He says that, ideally, your ski fitness regimen should begin at least two months before the first chair lift is running - so you'd better get started right away.
Three times a week, in the first month, you should, do between 30 and 40 minutes of general exercises such as cycling, swimming and jogging. Cycling is especially good because it exercises the same major muscles that skiing uses. (Put the bike in high gear and make yourself pedal hard.)
In the second month, step up the exercising to five times a week. Do your three general sessions, but add two that pertain particularly to skiing. The closer the exercises are to skiing, the better your performance will be on the slopes. For example, squat down into a schuss position, bounce up, and squat down again. Take your poles outside, snap on your boots, and simulate some jump turns. The weight of the boots alone helps to condition your legs. Use books to build a hurdle about six inches to a foot off the floor, and jump over it, back and forth, keeping your feet together. Do a short but intense workout on these specific exercises, between 15 and 25 minutes.
A lot of pulled muscles are due not to weakness but to lack of flexibility, so stretching exercises are just as important as the action exercises that get you into good muscular and cardiovascular shape. The forward lunge is a good stretching exercise: you extend one leg straight behind you, and the other in front, flexed at the knee. It sounds easy, but hold the position for a minute or two and the pain will tell you how much good it's doing. Then switch legs. Another good stretching exercise is to sit on the floor and place your soles together, then pull your feet in toward you, letting the knees fall, and relax.
For cross-country skiers, the stretching exercises are important, but you can skip the hurdle jumps. General exercises are enough. The cross-country skier's exercise should be continuous, whereas the downhill skier should exercise in shorter bursts.
The guideline for the cross-country skier is simple: if you want to be able to ski for one hour at the start of the season, you should be able to exercise steadily for one hour. Even brisk walking will do the trick; it's especially good if you carry a one-pound weight in each hand and swing your arms as you go. Begin with half an hour of this, and increase it by five or 10 minutes every week.
And when the ski season starts, keep on training, though you may cut your workouts to two a week.

How to Get Your Fitness Goals in Gear

Starting a new commitment is never easy. Let's face it-it means change in your everyday routine, whatever it is. It's difficult to get over the initial hump of making room for it. You are already so used to not doing it each week that merely doing it is asking a lot.
Fitness may be the best example of this scenario. It's not easy for anyone. So if you are lugging around good intentions and well thought out plans for adding exercise to your weekly life but can't seem to get them into gear, don't think you're unique.
Don't think you have some special condition about your motivation or your life that makes it harder for you than it is for those people who are actually following through with their fitness goals. You are just letting the hump hold you up. And while it's an extremely common problem, it's also very easily surmounted with a little dedication.
Oops. Did I say a bad word? No! DEDICATION is a good word. It gives way to great things like integrity, and confidence, and feeling really good about yourself. So don't let that little requirement, dedication, scare you off. It's a self-makeover in disguise.
The first thing you need to do when desiring to add fitness to your life is pick an activity. It really doesn't matter what it is, so long as it is active. You know what you are interested in and what your body is capable of. Always consult your doctor if you have any concerns about your physical abilities.
Also, know that it is ideal to do both a cardio workout and a strength training workout, like bike riding and yoga, each week. But in the beginning you want to reserve all of your motivation for simply getting started, so pick the one thing you would enjoy doing for the rest of your physically active life.
Something that, when you imagine yourself doing it routinely, makes you feel great about yourself. If you have done different activities or exercise programs before, let it really pay off, because you already know what you really enjoy. I absolutely love walking. I know I hate running, and bike riding. I hate aerobics. I love yoga and Pilates.
The things I love to do, I know I can do for life. I may not look forward to doing them every day, but I know I will enjoy them when I do them. I'm passionate about them. If you're really social and like to get involved in new groups of people, you would probably enjoy working out at a gym, which is like a club where everyone exercises while they hang out. Or take a karate or dance class. Pick what you want to do based on what you know you like, or what feels like a good fit for your personality and lifestyle and interests.

Health Benefits of Yoga

Medical professionals and celebrities alike are excited about the benefits of yoga. More and more helpful yoga products are available too, but don't mistake yoga for a new health craze. An ancient practice over 5,000 years old, yoga connects mind, body and spirit using body poses, meditation and controlled breathing techniques.
The health boosting benefits of yoga are being proven and that's why over 11 million Americans are practicing yoga. With a few simple yoga products and an investment of time, you too can experience the many benefits of yoga. Which of the many benefits of yoga are for you?
Increased Flexibility
Yoga positions can help not only maintain but increase flexibility. Yoga impacts various joints, including joints often neglected and increases lubrication of joints, ligaments and tendons. Yoga poses called asanas work to safely stretch muscles and release the lactic acid build up that causes stiffness, pain and tension, improving flexibility and range of motion as well.
Body Awareness
Many yoga users enjoy an increased sense of body awareness. Yoga loyalists report noticing changes or symptoms of diseases early, which allows them to seek out preemptive care. Getting to know your body intimately through yoga can help to begin treatment earlier for improved health.
How does yoga detoxify the body? Yoga gently stretches muscles and joints encouraging optimum blood supply. Yoga also massages internal glands and organs increasing blood supply, including organs such as the prostrate. Increased blood flow helps to flush out toxins and increase nourishment. Detoxification can contribute to benefits such as increased energy and delayed aging.
Repeated use of yoga positions can be an excellent tool for toning muscles without building bulk or using strenuous weights. You can increase strength and shed flab using yoga routines and simple yoga products such a yoga mat. No gym is required.
Reduces Stress
Yoga encourages unity of mind, body and spirit. Stress has negative impacts on physical, endocrinal and emotional systems. The practices of focus and controlled breathing in yoga can counter the negative effects of stress. While events still occur, yoga can help you maintain a calm and positive outlook.

Benefits of Yoga are Healthy

Heart Health
Obviously reducing stress is key to maintaining heart health but yoga has been determined to make positive contributions by lowering blood pressure and slowing the heart rate too. Yoga has also been associated with lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Improving strength is important, especially as we age. Unlike some forms of exercise, yoga requires a minimum of yoga products and time to improve body strength. Upper body strength is built in poses like Plank, Downward Dog and Upward Dog. The lower back is strengthened by yoga poses like Upward Do and Chair pose. Standing poses build strength in hamstrings, quadriceps and abdominals. The great news is that nearly all yoga poses build core strength in the deep abdominal muscles.
Breathing is so important and yet most of us do it all day without thought. Yoga utilizes deep and mindful breathing, which is calming but also improves lung capacity. Athletes including runners, swimmers and cyclists find yoga-breathing exercises improve performance and increase endurance. Of course, improved lung function isn't just for athletes. Yoga provides increased oxygenation without elevating respiration, which is ideal for those with issues like chronic bronchitis.
Yoga has positive short and long-term effects on posture. Yoga teaches users how to hold and control healthful body positions for improved posture to stand and sit "tall." Weight bearing exercises are also known to prevent osteoporosis so faithful yoga practicers can enjoy healthier posture now and later.
Weight Management
Yoga contributes to weight management many ways. Yoga helps balance metabolism, which can control hunger. Yoga improves sleep and studies show that not enough attributes to weight gain. Yoga also increases energy to ward off couch potato behaviors. Strengthening muscles longwise can reduce build up of cellulite too. Wow!
The benefits of yoga are far reaching. Yoga is credited for reducing pain, OCD symptoms and migraines and is hailed for improved memory, sexual experiences and overall mood. Are you ready for a yoga class, a yoga mat or a yoga DVD? What are you waiting for? The benefits of yoga are ready for you.

Yogalates Vs Yoga Vs Pilates

Classes in yoga and pilates have been extremely popular for the last decade. There are several similarities between yoga and pilates class. Both are effective ways to strengthen the core and increase flexibility. However, in yoga class, the focus is on relaxing and meditating, the strengthening and flexibility being a nice side effect. In pilates class, strengthening the core is the main objective.
Although yoga and pilates have basic fundamental differences, they tend to complement each other, which is why main people enjoy taking a yoga class once or twice a week as well as a pilates class every few days.
Given the number of people who enjoy both yoga and pilates class, it was only a matter of time before the two were combined to form the newest fitness craze: yogalates. But what distinguishes yogalates from yoga and pilates? Would it be more effective to take yoga class and pilates class separately?
The aim of yogalates is to create a middle ground between the widely differing philosophies of yoga and pilates. It infuses a spiritual aspect that is the core of yoga class but not present in pilates class. But in the meantime, yogalates concentrates on strengthening the core as in pilates class, while placing a greater emphasis on getting a workout and burning calories.
By combining these aspects of yoga and pilates, yogalaties aims to bring together the best features of yoga and pilates while resolving the common problems people find in these disciplines.
Yogalates emulates the flow of the poses and exercises in yoga class. Unlike pilates class, where students are often in constant movement, yogalates utilizes a flow remniscent of yoga class, where a pose is held for some amount of time before moving fluidly to the next pose. However, in yogalates, the student moves from pose to pose at a fast pace closer to that of a pilates class.
Although the combination of yoga and pilates into a single yogalates class can bring about great benefits, there is something to be said for taking these classes separately. The pace of a yogalates class prevents you from receiving the full spiritual benefits that come as a part of yoga class. And by moving the focus from the core to the entire body, a yogalates session doesn't come close to targeting the core muscles with the intensity of a pilates class. In the end, yogalates is a great class to try out or take on occasion, but it is not an adequate replacement for separate classes in yoga and pilates.

Stress Relief Through Fitness and Exercise

Life is stressful enough on it's own, but when you add in medical problems it just gets even more stressful. There are two very simple ways to keep yourself healthier, thus keeping yourself less stressed. If you eat right, as in a healthy diet following the USDA's MyPyramid (the cute little pyramid that tells you how much to eat of each of the five food groups) and stay fit with regular exercise (as in at least a half an hour of vigorous activity at least 3 to 5 days a week) you will feel better physical AND mentally.
Fitness is easy to get, if you think about it. Walking is fitness, so take a half hour walk 3 days a week and you've got a less stressful future on the horizon. If walking isn't your thing then jog or join a gym. Too many Americans are over weight, obese even, and it's because we don't get enough exercise. We drive our cars everywhere, or ride the bus and we spend way too much time sitting on our butts on the couch watching TV and eating junk food as our butts get bigger. But they wouldn't be getting bigger if we'd just get up and get moving.
We Americans are also getting over weight and obese because of the foods we eat. We're busy, on the go, so we swing by the closest fast food joint and get ourself an 800 calorie lunch, full of fat and grease, when we could be eating a healthy sandwich and a salad for less than half those calories. Watch what you eat, keep a food diary and pay attention to how eating certain foods makes you feel because some of the food you are eating could be causing your stress levels to rise.
And as a wise rule to follow for anyone, cut down your caffeine, salt and sugar intake as much as you possible can. They are all very tasty but also are very bad for you in any kind of excess, even minor. Don't keep yourself from ever eating the things you love again, but if the things you love are mostly bad for you try to eat them less often and less of them. You body will thank you and your mind will too!

What to expect in a Bikram Yoga Class

I arrived at the studio, checked in, and entered the hot room 20 minutes before class started. I set my matt, towel and water on the floor near the wall. As I lay on my back and began deep breathing, I looked up through a tall stained glass window into a cobalt winter sky, dotted with white cotton-ball clouds and migrating birds. I felt peaceful and very warm. Then the instructor walked into the room and the work of healing began.
Bikram Yoga is certainly different from any other exercise class I've taken. It's not a fast-paced group activity. Although it did take place in a room with other people, I didn't feel the atmosphere was competitive; to me it felt contemplative. Each person was only focused on moving correctly into the postures as they followed the directions of the instructor.
The recommended temperature for Bikram Yoga is 105 degrees and about 40% humidity. Why so hot? According to Bikram Choudhury, "Yoga changes the construction of the body from the inside out, from bones to skin and from fingertips to toes. So before you change it, you have to heat it up to soften it, because a warm body is a flexible body. Then you can reshape the body any way you want."
Each class is conducted in precisely the same way. The instructor stands at the front of the room facing the participants, and leads the class through each of 26 postures. As students face the mirrored wall of the classroom, they are encouraged to focus on their image and attain the correct form in each posture. Every class is a "beginner" class and every class is 90 minutes long.