Escape into Nature with a Day Trip
To many, hiking means long-distance treks through forests or backpacking remote terrain. “In reality, it’s more about getting out into green areas close to home,” says Wesley Trimble, of the American Hiking Society. “It’s about immersion in nature.” (read more…)
The Fast Path to Flushing Toxins
Doctors, health experts and fitness gurus tell us that we should break a sweat every day—and for good reason. Sweat not only activates a host of benefits tied to health-boosting exercise, perspiring itself is curative. Whether sitting in a sauna, walking on a warm day or working out, sweating is a necessary bodily function with powerful healing effects. (read more…)
Racquets and Paddles Get a Sporting Makeover
Two fun ways to use tennis courts for fitness are showing big increases in popularity.
Meet the New “Pickleball”
You may not have heard of it yet, but pickleball is a mixture of tennis, squash and table tennis, and it’s one of the fastest-growing sports in the country. The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) at usapa.org estimates that 2.5 million players are active now, with the number expected to multiply to 8 million by next year. (read more…)
Staying Aware Avoids Problems
“I began my personal training in the Non-Violent System (NVS) of self-defense with Grandmaster Verkerke in 1996,” says Eddie Rose, senior instructor of NVS Peace in the Midst of Non-Violence at Shangri-La Springs, in Bonita Springs, Florida. This aspect of the martial art form seicho jutsu was created by Canadian Daniel Verkerke, Ph.D., as a simple self-defense system to teach and perpetuate nonviolence; he continues to share it with the public, law enforcement, corporations and private security firms in the U.S. and internationally. (read more…)
Races Beckon Beginners
“I’ve run in cities, rural areas and suburbs. I’ve run while deployed to military bases in the Middle East, in cities on four continents, in blazing heat and winter snowstorms,” says Maria Cicio, a licensed professional counselor candidate and marathoner in Grove, Oklahoma. “I’ve been running regularly for 25 years, mostly injury-free, and have found what works best for me.” (read more…)
Workouts Use Natural Body Patterns
“Imagine an exercise system that strengthens the body enough to be used in training world-class athletes, stretches more safely than any form of yoga and expands the core training concepts of Pilates into natural full-body movements like those used in everyday reaching and walking, along with jumping and swimming. This is the Gyrotonic system,” says Angela Crowley, a Gyrotonic master teacher, trainer and exercise spa owner in Coral Gables, Florida. (read more…)
How to Stay Healthy, Flexible and Strong
“When thinking about the best forms of exercise as we enter midlife and beyond, we should first clarify some myths and preconceptions,” says Michael Spitzer, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, biochemist, fitness expert and author of Fitness at 40, 50, 60 and Beyond. “In our society, there’s a mindset that once we pass our 40th year, it’s all downhill from there. Our metabolism slows and we gain weight, lose mobility and flexibility, deal with more aches and pains, experience shortness of breath and the list goes on.” (read more…)
“Kettlebells can replace almost all other exercise equipment in providing an all-in-one workout, combining strength and cardio benefits,” explains Shelly Bumpus, an Athletics and Fitness Association of America-certified personal trainer and owner of the Studio Women’s Fitness Center, in Scott, Louisiana. Bumpus often uses kettlebells in strength and conditioning exercise classes to afford a balanced full-body workout that’s fun and engaging. (read more…)
New Year’s Resolutions that Stick
Every January, we rally our hopes, vowing that this time our New Year’s resolutions will finally stick. However, “If you don’t have a plan, plan to fail,” says Kansas City, Missouri, personal trainer Jake Albracht. We can make our health and fitness goals for 2017 a reality instead of just wishful thinking.
Find a good trainer. “A personal trainer provides a helpful base of knowledge because the hardest part for most people is a lack of planning and diligence in following up. Trainers can step in to help a client achieve their goals,” says Albracht. (read more…)
New Fusions with Yoga, Dance and Boxing
With 11,000 studios across the U.S., “Pilates continues to grow because an increasingly wide spectrum of people are discovering how it can benefit them,” says Elizabeth Anderson, executive director of the Pilates Method Alliance, in Miami.
Pilates instructor Amanda January, who works at The Carriage Club, in Kansas City, eventually became an instructor because, “I love the challenge of it. I had always been a dancer, and found Pilates provides the movement therapy that my dance classes lack.” (read more…)
The Calming and Centering Effects of Labyrinths
While many of us like to meditate, some can’t sit still. Walking a labyrinth provides an enticing alternative.
An archetypal labyrinth gently leads us in a circular path inward toward a center and then back out again. Found in ancient cultures from African, Celtic and Greek to Native American, they became especially popular fixtures in Medieval European churches; one of the most renowned is in France’s Chartres Cathedral. (read more…)
Restorative Yoga Poses Foster Healing
In classical yoga, teachers often sequence instruction toward reaching a pinnacle pose such as an inversion or arm balance. In restorative yoga, the peak pose is savasana—in which the practitioner fully relaxes while resting flat on their back. Leeann Carey, author of Restorative Yoga Therapy: The Yapana Way to Self-Care and Well-Being, explains, “This passive asana practice turns down the branch of the nervous system that keeps us in fight-or-flight mode and turns up the system allowing us to rest and digest. It feels like a massage for the nervous system and encourages self-inquiry, reflection and change, rather than perfection.” (read more…)
22 Minutes a Day Boosts Well-Being
Even mainstream media have picked up on the many physical and mental benefits of walking, including weight loss, reduced stress, increased energy and better sleep, and that’s only the beginning. These additional compelling effects may well catalyze us to consistently step out for a daily walk, understanding that cumulative steps count, too. For more inspiration, check out this month’s race walking at the Summer Olympics. (read more…)
Master the Mind to Master the Game
“I remember the moment I had what I call my ‘golf game epiphany,’” recalls Steve Hughes, a passionate golfer from Richmond, Missouri. “I realized that my main obstacles were in my head, and from that day on, my golf game changed.”
In any athletic or fitness endeavor, the pursuit of excellence unfolds an array of challenges. While golf presents some of the toughest hurdles to improvement, any links enthusiast can better their game by acquiring a champion’s mindset. Applying a few Zen techniques and disciplines adapted from the Buddhist tradition of mindful awareness—which teaches that the mind is everything—can work wonders.
Zen Golf master and performance psychologist Joe Parent, Ph.D., of Ojai, California, advises: “The key is finding a way to let the ‘thinking’ mind do all the preliminaries to physical performance—selecting a target, judging the lie, gauging weather influences, etc.—and then letting our ‘intuitive’ mind take over, enabling our body to make a swing that’s free from second-guessing ourselves.” He calls the optimal playing mentality, “Not too tight, not too loose.” It’s the sweet spot that allows us to perform via our best self. Some key techniques prepare us to find and reside in this just-right Goldilocks place of being not too hot and not too cold. (read more…)
Bodybuilders Turn to Yoga
We don’t typically envision iron-pumping bodybuilders also flowing and breathing through yoga postures, yet many are combining these complementary disciplines to realize huge benefits.
Nicolina Sandstedt, a yoga teacher trainer and anatomy expert with the Yandara Yoga Institute, in Baja, Mexico, observes, “The body awareness and alignment focus that the practice of yoga asanas [positions] offers helps bodybuilders find correct posture. Yoga also teaches elegance in transitions that improve competitive posing.” (read more…)
Exercises to Tone Your Face and Neck
Gravity takes its toll as years pass, and many women find themselves bemoaning crow’s feet, frown lines and turkey necks that make them look older than they feel. Experts point to the loss of “fat pads” in the cheeks, bone loss around the eye sockets and cheekbones and overall weak muscles as potential contributors to facial aging. Natural exercise programs designed to reverse these unpleasant signs of aging comprise a new fitness-for-beauty trend.
“Face and neck muscles somehow have been left out of mainstream fitness programs,” observes Denver esthetician and massage therapist Grace Mosgeller, who addresses this void with her series of eight FaceFitnez audio and video exercises. “If you tone the muscles of your face and neck, the skin attached to those muscles firms and tones as well, creating a natural youthful look.” (read more…)