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Getting Started With Yoga


 Are you looking to add something new to your exercise routine? Are you growing tired of your current fitness classes? Do you work out consistently, but have reached a plateau in your weight loss progress? Would you like to try yoga but are unsure which class to take?

Yoga is a form of exercise based on Eastern philosophy. The word “yoga” loosely translated means “to yoke”, or “to join”. Yoga aims to join the body and the mind through movement and breathing. There are many styles of yoga practiced by people of all ages all over the world. Some popular styles are listed below.

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga is a dynamic style of yoga that develops muscle strength, endurance and flexibility. Deep, rhythmic breathing is used throughout the practice to energize the body. A typical Ashtanga class lasts between 60 and 90 minutes. This style is recommended for reasonably fit individuals.

Hot Yoga

Known by various names in different areas, hot yoga is a series of yoga postures performed in a heated room, typically 92 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat warms the muscles, helping them to stretch. The body releases toxins out through the skin as sweat. This style is recommended for reasonably fit individuals and usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes.

 Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a less dynamic style. Yin yoga positions are deep muscle stretches that lengthen connective tissues and increase flexibility. Most postures are seated postures, performed from a sitting position on your mat. These postures are held for 3 to 5 minutes. This gives the muscles ample time for a complete stretch. Yin yoga is appropriate for all fitness levels. Classes are typically 60 to 90 minutes long.

 Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga moves through a series of postures designed to develop muscular strength and create a sense of well being. An emphasis is placed on breathing deeply into each posture to move oxygen efficiently throughout the body. A hatha yoga class can run anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. It is considered appropriate for all fitness levels.

Yoga is a wonderful way to stay active. There are a variety of styles to suit different tastes and fitness levels. Recently hybrid classes have become available in many areas. Hybrid classes blend yoga with more familiar forms of exercise such as pilates, ballet, cardiovascular training, weight training and dance. Try a yoga class and discover which style works for you!





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5 Practices that Promote Happiness

Happiness is elusive and difficult to define. Most people think that they know it when they see it. What many don’t know is how to achieve happiness – both how to find it and how to hold on to it. We tend to assume that happiness is like the weather – which can change beyond our control.

Yet throughout human history, certain practices have been effective in producing feelings of happiness. Some of these techniques are associated with the major world religions, but religion does not have a monopoly on happiness. Here are five pursuits that have helped many people to experience happiness on a consistent basis.

  1. Doing good for others. This consistently shows up in lists of tips and techniques for achieving happiness. People who focus on the needs of others experience proportionately less anxiety about their own circumstances. In addition, doing good deeds leads to an improved self-image and increased self-confidence.
  1. Meditating. Meditation can occur in a religious framework or in a secular context. It involves resting the rational mind and focusing for a prolonged period on a still point in the universe. Meditation has the effect of allowing the mind to reset, which releases frustration and anxiety and restores a sense of balance. It is this sense of balance or equilibrium that translates into happiness.
  1. Setting objectives and pursuing plans. There is nothing more depressing than having no goals and no plans! Pursuing an objective through carefully planned steps – whether or not the objective is ultimately achieved – results in feelings of well-being and satisfaction.
  1. Striving for artistic beauty. Though it’s not completely clear how art relates to happiness, people who cultivate an artistic pursuit – painting, sculpture, music, or writing – find that seeking artistic excellence produces feelings of happiness and joy. It doesn’t matter whether or not others are inspired by their artistic creations (if others enjoy the creations, that’s a bonus). What matters is the single-minded focus on creating something that is beautiful in itself.
  1. Treating yourself well. People tend to believe that their happiness depends mainly upon the way they’re treated by others – forgetting that each person also has a relationship with himself or herself! Treating yourself well involves patience, forbearance and forgiveness, and it is the best recipe for long-term emotional health.

While these activities have helped many individuals to achieve happiness, there is certainly no one-size-fits-all. Nevertheless, it is clear that certain techniques can produce consistently positive feelings and dramatically improve a person’s outlook on life.

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Night Running


Young woman jogging outside in the city
Woman jogging at night in the city

People like to sleep in longer, and appear fresh for the day, so it’s no wonder that saving your run for just before bed is becoming increasingly popular.  Night running can offer better conditions for exercise, and it’s the time your body is most receptive to exertion. Here are some convincing reasons to make it part of your training.

You’ll Feel Fresher at Work

One of people’s biggest concerns with morning exercise is the possibility of burning out before the day has really begun. Nobody wants to walk into work already exhausted from early exertion, or spend their meetings stifling yawns. But it can be wonderfully cathartic to finish the day with intense exercise. You’ll release any stress that accumulated over the day, and pushing yourself harder is much easier when you get to go to bed afterwards, instead of a desk.

Your Muscles Are Primed and Ready 

Regardless of distance or speed, a great run will always be one where you feel strong and alive. Running first thing can frustrate these sensations because your body isn’t ready yet. Not only will you still be brushing the sleep from your eyes, you’ll be running on muscles that aren’t loosened up yet. Waiting until evening means your body will have benefited from a whole day of warming up, and you won’t even have had to think about it.

You Won’t Overheat

Your muscles might be warmer, but outside it’ s cooler, and that’s always a blessing – especially if you’re planning to go fast or hit some interval training. Exercising in the glare and heat of the sun can transform a relaxing run into a sweaty ordeal, which can truly affect your performance. And it’s not just the sun you’ll avoid: airborne allergens such as pollen are much less concentrated in the evening.

You’ll Avoid the Traffic

Drivers can make running extremely unpleasant; it’s not often a car will slow down for you, and you’re often left jogging on the spot next to the traffic lights. No runner needs that! At worst, of course, cars can cause injuries. Running at night goes a long way towards eliminating these problems. They’ll be fewer vehicles on the road, and since you’re not interrupting rush hour, they won’t be in such a hurry. Drivers will also have their lights on, so they’ll be easier to spot. Invest in a hi-visible vest or armband so the same can be said for you!




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6 Habits of People Who Stay Healthy and Fit


Becoming fit and healthy does not happen overnight. It takes discipline and self-control. It is important that you look at becoming and staying healthy and fit as a lifestyle rather than a seasonal fad. Below are six habits of people who make health and fitness apart of their everyday lifestyle. Embodying these six habits will help put you on the right path towards achieving a healthier and fit way of life.

  1. Finding time to exercise on a daily basis

It may seem impossible to squeeze exercise time between your job, commute, and family time, but you can’t use this as an excuse. You need to make the time in your busy schedule to go to a gym or health club. You can also opt to exercise at home if you don’t want to join a gym. You do not need to purchase expensive home gym equipment to achieve a healthy body. A workout can be as simple as doing crunches, push-ups, and sit-ups. Also you can check online fitness sites for types of exercise routines to do at home.

  1. Focusing on how you want to feel

Focusing only on how you want to look after exercising can have a negative impact if you are the impatient kind. Instead, try to focus on how good you will feel after working out. Exercising may be arduous while you are doing it, but the increased energy that you get afterwards will be worth it. Use this “good feeling” as your motivation to keep working out while you wait for more visible and tangible results.

  1. Don’t wait for an occasion

People usually head for the gym in preparation for summer break or to look great for a special occasion. They usually decide to lose weight four to five weeks before the special date, setting unreasonable goals and ultimately end up going back to a sedative life in the process. The nice thing about choosing a health and fitness lifestyle, you never have to wait for a special occasion to get fit because you are always in shape and feeling great!

  1. Change workout routines 

Doing the same workout on a daily basis can get old fast. You can end up getting bored and this might cause you to stop working out altogether. A little variety can do wonders and will make your journey to health and fitness a much better experience. An example of a variety of workouts could include circuit training, yoga, running, weight training, biking and/or swimming.

  1. Eat in moderation

Having to give up your favorite foods is probably the most difficult part of dieting. Rather than giving them up totally, learn to eat foods you like in moderation. Don’t deprive yourself of certain foods you enjoy eating, just learn to portion them and not binge eat.

  1. Getting enough sleep

Sleep is essential for your ability to maintain a fit and healthy lifestyle. You can’t expect to have a productive workout on a couple of hours of sleep the night. Being constantly tired can also make for an easy excuse not to exercise at all.  Therefore, it is important that you make sure to have a good balance between a highly productive day and a restful night of sleep.




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Exercise Leads to Better Sleep


Millions of Americans are affected by sleeping disorders, but adding a workout to your routine might help alleviate your nighttime woes. According to a recent survey by the National Sleep Foundation, people who reported participating in regular exercise also reported having the highest quality sleep.

Nearly fifty percent of respondents who reported no physical activity also answered that they have very bad or fairly bad sleep quality. By adding light exercise–as little as a ten minute walk per day–the amount of people reporting poor sleep was cut in half, to just over twenty percent. People who participated in vigorous exercise every day had the lowest occurrence of poor sleep. It was also shown that those who did not exercise were more prone to daytime sleepiness while driving, eating, or participating in social functions.

The poll also asked its respondents how many hours per day were spent sitting. Unsurprisingly, those who spent the most time sitting also had the worst quality sleep at night. It is clear that there is a direct correlation between the amounts of exercise you do and the quality of sleep you experience. Adding physical activity, even just a small amount, can help you get that “shut eye” you most desperately need.





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Keep To The Code When Spring Skiing!


One of the great sports of the winter season is downhill skiing (alpine skiing). Many people who do not ski often sight the main reason they don’t ski is their fear of getting hurt. In reality, downhill skiing can be very safe and enjoyable if you abide by the Skier’s Responsibility Code. For those of you that are downhill skiers know that by following these rules, you can ski safely and significantly reduce your chance of injury.

The Professional Ski Instructors Association, The National Ski Areas Associate and The National Ski Patrol all officially endorse the Skier Responsibility Code. The Responsibility Code is the universal guide for ensuring that you and those around you remain safe while on the slopes. Although snow skiing involves many different types of equipment and different types of skiers, both beginners and experts are all on the same mountain skiing. This is why it is of great importance that you are aware of your surroundings at all times. These important reminders highlight the most relevant parts of the code that skiers should be aware of before hitting the slopes this winter:

  1. You must always be able to stop and avoid skiers that are in front of you. This means that you must always ski in control. This is especially true for those novice skiers that try to ski beyond their beginners level and ski fast down the hill while being out of control!
  1. If some one is skiing ahead of you, they have the right of way. Just because you are skiing faster than them, does not mean they have to yield to you and move over to the side of the hill. You have the responsibility to either slow down to avoid hitting them or ski around them at a safe distance.
  1. Keep off of closed trails and other out-of-bound ski areas on the mountain. These areas are often closed due to unsafe ski terrain. Individuals at any skiing proficiency level can quickly find themselves in trouble attempting to ski in these closed areas. Also, it is very important to keep in mind, that if something were to happen to you while skiing in these closed areas, having someone find you can be difficult!




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Tips for Staying in Shape This Winter


Unfortunately, winter is always a problematic time of year, for people not living in a warm climate, to stay in shape. The extra pounds from the holiday season, cold temperatures and shorter days can keep you from working out. Here are some tips on ways to stay in shape this winter.

Join a gym

If you’re favorite running or biking route is under snow, joining a gym could be just the answer. You will get a climate-controlled cardio workout and also allow you access to other fitness option such as exercise classes and weight circuit equipment.

Take up a winter sport

Although a gym can be a nice and cozy winter place to workout, some people still like being out in the winter elements. Winter sports such as skiing, skating or snowshoeing can be just the answer! These sports can provide you with a great cardio workout. It is important to remember that you should properly dress in layers when participating in winter sport activities.

Eat well

As cold weather forces us to be inside more often, it can also lead to binge type eating usually due to inactivity. Therefore, you need to watch your sugar and carb intake. Try to increase your fruits, vegetable and whole grain in your diet. Also, drinking more water can help curb cravings, improves digestion and is a great replacement for high-calorie drinks like soda. Keep in mind that it is just as important to stay hydrated in the winter as the summer. In the summer, it is easy to remember to drink due to the heat. In the winter, the dry air can cause dehydration too but we often do not properly respond by hydrating ourselves.



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Why Your Gym Workouts May Not Be Working


Why Your Gym Workouts May Not Be Working

It is not uncommon for people to become frustrated when they do not see better fitness results from their workouts. The reason is simply they do not get the most out of the time they spend working out. Listed below are 4 important reasons why your workouts aren’t working.

  1. Focusing on the Wrong Lifts

Individuals who want to get muscular or toned often spend too much time doing bicep curls and crunches. The fact is that the most effective resistance workouts are full-body movements such as squats, dead lifts and bench presses.

  1. Too Much Cardio

People who “OD” (overdose) on cardio can find that they develop muscle loss instead of building muscle.  It is important to add weights or strength training to balance your cardio training. This will provide you with a well rounded fitness regimen and get you into overall better shape than just doing cardio alone.

  1. Bad Diet

All the exercise in the world will not do much for you if your diet is not also regimented.  It is important to get enough protein and healthy unsaturated fats while reducing the amount of simple carbohydrates you get from processed, sugary foods.

  1. Not Enough Intensity

No matter if you are lifting weights or doing cardio you need to continue to push yourself. Although there are times that a lighter workout is warranted, you still want to be able to break a sweat and get your heart rate up.