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Archive for ‘Fitness’

Yoga Boom!

Yoga Boom!

Whoever isn’t focused on capturing Baby Boomers over the next two decades isn’t focused well on the future.

In the coming 20 years, boomers will inherit estates worth over 10 trillion dollars—that’s more than the value of the entire New York Stock Exchange today. And every year, 4 million Boomers turn 50 and 4 million turn 60.

So what does this huge, affluent, aging population need? And why are private yoga sessions the best solution for meeting its needs and multiplying your program profits?

Targeting Boomers’ Needs

Most maturing Baby Boomers share three priorities:

1. quality of life—the ability to pursue an active lifestyle as they age

2. freedom from the limits of health concerns and physical problems—in order to enjoy leisure time for travel and family activities that they have earned the resources to pursue

3. stress management—in “A Study of Consumer Attitudes …

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Silver Age Yoga 2

Silver Age Yoga 2

Silver Age Yoga is a unique yoga discipline designed for seniors that combines hatha yoga and principles of gerontology. The program was developed by seasoned yoga instructors in cooperation with scientists—many of them yoga practitioners—from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD); the Stein Institute for Research on Aging, a department of UCSD; and physicians affiliated with Scripps Health San Diego.

Founded in 2003, the nationally recognized program is designed to empower seniors to take charge of their own health by addressing typical age-related health issues, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, diabetes and depression. Meditation is used to address stress, while postures address flexibility, balance, strength and joint mobility.

Fitness professionals who want to work with this population need to understand the needs of seniors. While every discipline of yoga is based on the traditional hatha postures, the application and teaching of the postures vary from …

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10 Tips To Flexibility and Fitness

When it comes to the Big Three of exercise–cardiovascular, strength and flexibility training–it’s pretty clear which one can get overlooked. After all, while we prize cardiovascular and strength training for their role in helping us lose weight, build muscle and get fit, the benefits of flexibility training are less immediately alluring.

However, as the population ages, more of us are learning to appreciate the rewards of stretching. Staying limber can offset age-related stiffness, improve athletic performance and optimize functional movement in daily life. Research shows that flexibility training can develop and maintain range of motion and may help prevent and treat injury. In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine has added flexibility training to its general exercise recommendations, advising that stretching exercises for the major muscle groups be performed two to three days per week.

How can you include an effective flexibility workout in your fitness program? Here are …

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Inactive Kids More Likely To Face Heart Disease

Inactive Kids More Likely To Face Heart Disease

The dangers of inactivity in children just became more grave. A study published in Dynamic Medicine (2008; 7 [5]) has found that sedentary kids, compared with their active counterparts, are five times more likely to develop metabolic syndrome by their teenage years. For kids with “low aerobic fitness,” the risk is six times as high.

The authors analyzed data collected from 389 North Carolina adolescents aged 7–10 years. Qualified professionals measured the subjects’ body mass index, percent body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol. Levels of physical activity were either self-reported or estimated through use of a “multistage” submaximal cycle ergometry test. The researchers then followed up with participants 7 years after the initial results were gathered. Eighteen from the original group presented with at least three characteristics of metabolic syndrome; these teenagers reported higher body fat, body mass, cholesterol and systolic blood …

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A Ball For All

A Ball For All

Core: Offer students options as they progress in their core strength.

The stability ball has been used by physical therapists for years, and the fitness industry has fully embraced this tool for group exercise and private training. The stability ball creates an unstable surface and can be used for strength, balance, coordination, agility, core work and flexibility. Some of my favorite exercises challenge both balance and core strength.

For review purposes, keep the following in mind:

Beginner: Isometric Squeeze 

Great for beginners, this exercise teaches them how to use abdominal bracing to help train the core without lifting the head and stressing the cervical spine. Start supine on the floor, knees bent. Place the ball on the knees and lift the feet off the floor so the knees are at 90 degrees (ball will be resting on torso). Both arms are straight and pressing against the …

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Flex and Relax

Ebb: A mind-body cool-down perfectly caps almost any class.

Are you interested in exploring moves but not ready to teach an entire class of them? Cool-downs are a great opportunity to introduce mindful exercises to students. The following movements will increase flexibility and help students feel relaxed as they head back into the “real world” outside the group exercise room.

Connection Transition

The cool-down slowly brings heart rates down to preclass resting rates as participants make the transition from the class’s core (the most intense work, whether it be cardiovascular or strength) to its finish. Aim to link breath with movement, making a true mind-body connection.

Mountain Pose. Stand with big toes together, heels slightly apart.

Transition: Step out to plié squat.

Sun God. At top of plié squat, move arms up, palms touching, and look up.

Moon God. While still in plié, pull arms down, elbows bent, and squeeze …

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Pilates and the Science of Human Movement

Pilates and the Science of Human Movement

Inner IDEA: Top-notch professionals speak candidly about anatomy.

The anatomy of human movement and its importance to the Pilates Method is a provocative and complex topic. Many Pilates professionals have convergent views on the issue, while others have different perspectives and approaches. Rael Isacowitz, MA, founder and director of Body Arts and Science International® (BASI Pilates®), and Karen Clippinger, MSPE, a professor at California State University, Long Beach, are tackling this stimulating subject in a new book called Pilates Anatomy, scheduled for release spring 2011 (Human Kinetics).

IDEA Fitness Journal (IFJ) recently interviewed Isacowitz and two other leading Pilates professionals, John Garey, MS, STOTT PILATES® master trainer and owner of John Garey Pilates in Long Beach, and Sherri Betz, PT, Polestar Pilates™ principal educator/examiner and owner of TheraPilates® in Santa Cruz, California. IFJ presented these three outstanding teachers with a series of questions …

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A Call For Role Models

A Call For Role Models

Three instructors talk about experiencing the industry in a larger body.

Since the days of leg warmers and LPs, group fitness instructors have lived with a stereotype that hasn’t always been easy to measure up to. In all kinds of settings, from sitcoms to television advertisements to movies, the typical instructor has been portrayed as lean, mean and regimented to the point of caricature.

Does this image reflect reality? If an instructor is a few pounds overweight, for example, is she less effective? Is he not as professional? Or what if an instructor simply doesn’t fit the ideal representation put forth by society at large? We asked IDEA members to share their personal experiences.

Opening Doors

Over 7 years I went from being a size 4, 128 pounds (5´6˝), with a VO2 capacity of 55.5 millimeters, to a size 14, 165 pounds, with a VO2 …

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Yoga Vs. Running

Yoga Vs. Running

Yoga is a physical activity that differs from conventional exercise in that it offers mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions. This is not to say that conventional exercise lacks these qualities, but rather that these dimensions are not integral to practicing fitness activities in the way that they are to practicing yoga. Growing research evidence shows that yoga practice impacts the sympathetic nervous system and benefits both physical and mental health.

Researchers at the School of Nursing, University of Maryland, Baltimore, analyzed 12 studies that compared the effects of yoga and exercise on several health outcomes. Yoga interventions appeared to be equal or superior to conventional exercise in almost all outcomes measured, except those involving physical fitness. For example, yoga participants consistently experienced more stress reduction; higher levels of antioxidants; less inflammation; more decline in fasting blood glucose, blood lipids and salivary cortisol levels; and better remission of …

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Midlife Weight Gain and the Benefits of Yoga

Midlife Weight Gain and the Benefits of Yoga

People in midlife who regularly practice yoga are less likely to gain weight than those who do not practice yoga, according to a study published in the July–August issue of Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine (2005; 11 [4], 28–33).

Researchers from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle studied 15,550 adults ages 53–57 years from 2000 to 2002. The investigators found that both overweight and normal-weight adults who practiced yoga regularly for at least 4 years were less likely to gain weight than nonpractitioners of the same age. Researchers based findings on self-reports from participants regarding diet, health and weight at recruitment and at ages 30 and 45.

Since these data were from observation only, the researchers could not explain why patterns differed between the two groups. It had nothing to do with burning calories, said Alan Kristal, co-author of …

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