Battling another cough or cold? Feeling tired all the time? You may feel better if you take a daily walk or follow a simple exercise routine a few times a week. Just like any time of year, exercise is a great way to keep your body strong, but it’s extra important if you want to take advantage of what your immune system is capable of. The physical movement will increase your blood circulation and oxygen, as well as eliminate metabolic wastes.
Fitness is one of the largest growing industries today. When choosing which program best fits your life and your desired outcome, it is important to look at these four aspects of a fitness routine.
Endurance – These activities are designed to increase your heart rate and breathing for extended periods. Gradually build up endurance exercises over a period of time, initially starting out with as little as 5 minutes. Examples of endurance exercises include briskly walking, cycling, long-distance running, aerobics, and may even include mopping or scrubbing a floor, mowing or raking the lawn.
Strength training – Increasing your strength can improve and maintain your mobility, control your weight and sculpt a muscular body. Lifting weights is one of the easiest and fastest ways of building muscle. Martial arts are another form of strength training exercises.
Flexibility – Increasing your flexibility will help “loosen” you up and allow you to move more freely. One great way to prevent injury and aid performance is to do these exercises before and after endurance and strength training. Yoga or gentle stretching fall within this category.
Balance – More and more, people are seeking balance exercises to reduce stress and harmonize body, mind, and spirit. Tai Chi, Qi Gong and certain forms of yoga are exercises to balance these aspects while cultivating Qi energy that can keep you strong and healthy.
Talk to a qualified professional before you start an exercise routine in order to best determine what will fit into your desired outcome of a healthy, balanced body. Consider acupuncture for performance enhancement; identifying the underlying conditions that may predispose an individual to injuries and for treating sport-related injuries effectively. Remember, acupuncture can be introduced at any phase of a treatment regimen for an injury. It is safe, effective and natural.
Yoga, Yoga Everywhere
There are over 40 different styles of yoga taught in the United States. All types of yoga overlap and have a common goal – the union of mind, body, and spirit. Each style of yoga is distinguished by particular practices.
Some types of yoga are quite physical, building strength and flexibility, while others are restorative and meditative. Below is a shortlist of a few styles of yoga. Read them and determine which one is right for you!
Ashtanga yoga – Developed in 1937 by Sri K. Pattabhi Jois. This style of yoga focuses on building strength and heat in the body. It provides a fast-paced, and sometimes intense, workout through a series of challenging poses that are taught in sequential order.
Bikram (hot) yoga – Be prepared to sweat. Bikram is performed in a room heated to about 100 degrees. This yoga consists of 26 poses that are repeated twice in the same order. The intense workout warms the body and muscles and increases flexibility. Bring plenty of water, a towel and possibly a change of clothes.
Iyengar Yoga – B.K.S. Iyengar developed this style of yoga in 1937. It is focused upon the correct alignment of the body in all poses which may be held for up to five minutes or more, in order to correct alignment and posture. Iyengar will build strength, endurance, and flexibility. The classes may also use props, such as straps, blocks, and blankets to get the body into the perfect pose.
Kundalini Yoga – This ancient style of yoga has been practiced in India for centuries. It came to the United States in 1969 by Yogi Bhajan. Kundalini yoga incorporates breathing exercises, chanting, meditation and yoga poses designed to stimulate the nervous system and meridian organ systems in order to free up blocked energy.
Acu yoga – Acu-Yoga is a practical yoga method that can release blocked Qi energy by applying acupressure to specific points upon the body. Acu-Yoga increases the circulation of Qi flowing throughout the body in order to balance and strengthen the overall health. This style of yoga incorporates yoga poses, breathing techniques, meditation, and acupressure.