exercise | pg.3

Make Your Posture Perfect: Breathe Down Your Spine

Jill Miller by Jill Miller | September 13th, 2012 | 4 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: breath, breathe, breathing, chest breather, diaphragm, Dr. Kelly Starrett, erectors, exercise, intercostal muscles, Jill Miller, lower back, lungs, massage, muscles, posture, respiratory system, rhomboids, ribs, slouch, slump, spine, tension, trapezius, vertebrae, Yoga, Yoga Tune Up

Are you proud of your posture? Or do you feel a bit slumpy? Did your mom tell you to sit up straight? Does she still cajole you?

I’m on your mom’s side! Most people do not pay enough attention to their daily posture and everyday movement habits, and it can have long-term health consequences if left unimproved. I see postural issues daily in my Yoga Tune Up® classrooms. And as a self-proclaimed “posture princess,” I want to motivate you to make better choices to improve your carriage.

Should the Use of Bird Apps Outdoors Be Banned?

Candice Gaukel Andrews by Candice Gaukel Andrews | August 23rd, 2012 | 8 Comments
topic: Eco Travel, Green Living, Green Tech | tags: bird life lists, bird recordings, bird watching, birding, birds, birdsong, bison, cell phones, Eco Travel, exercise, mobile apps, nature, noise pollution, smartphone apps, travel, wellness, whales, wildlife photography, Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park

Magpie

It’s long been known that the undersea noise we create with our large machines — oil drilling equipment, ships and submarines — has a detrimental effect on whales, causing hearing damage and changes in feeding, mating and communication. And noise from snowmobiles has often been cited as the reason some species of animals in Yellowstone National Park are being stressed and pushed out of their preferred habitats, impacting their health and increasing mortality.

It turns out that our large machines, though, may not be our only cause for concern when it comes to outdoor noise pollution and its effects on the natural world. Our small, compact mobile phones — and the apps we put on them — have been shown to change the behavior of birds.

Will the noise we individuals are increasingly capable of imposing upon other species outdoors soon also have enough power to affect their ability to survive?

Top 5 Favorites: Walking Workouts

Girlfriend@Gaiam by Girlfriend@Gaiam | August 21st, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Weight Loss | tags: abs, cardio, core, Debbie Rocker, exercise, gaiam tv, GaiamTV.com, hiking, kickboxing, Leslie Sansone, lower body, lunges, nordic walking, sculpting, thighs, Tina Vindum, treadmill, walk, walking, walking poles, walking workouts, weight-loss, workout

Walking Workouts

I love walking — outside, on a treadmill, whatever — but I have a little problem commonly known as lack of motivation. On days when it’s cold outside, or drizzly, or appears to be either of the above, I am easily dissuaded from working out … and easily persuaded to sleep the extra half hour instead. But I hate the “no cookie for you today” feeling of regret that not working out brings.

Lucky for me (and you!), GaiamTV.com has a ton of great walking workout videos. They’re perfect for working out at home — no weather restrictions, no too-loud-for-the-downstairs-neighbors cardio; just fun routines for burning calories.

My favorites combine upper-body strengthening with the lower-body workout. If they have gorgeous scenery, so much the better! These videos eliminate my excuses and, in time, my jeans size. Here are my top five favorites from Gaiam TV. I’m confident you’ll find at least one in here that will tempt you to pick up the pace.

My Sculpting Workout Playlist

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | August 20th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Fitness | tags: band, exercise, Fitness, good mood, inspiration, music, music mix, nancy butts, new tunes, old tunes, play list, playlist, push muscles, sculpting, songs, the firm, tone muscles, weights, workout playlist

Sculpt Playlist

By The FIRM Master Instructor Nancy Butts

I love music and have a TON of it from all genres. I adore every song listed below and hope that you do, too. If you haven’t heard them, look them up on You Tube! I stumbled upon N.E.R.D. out of a freebie bin from an auction we had at the office. You just never know when, where or how you will find a new band you love!

The playlist below is a great mix, in my opinion, of newer and older tunes. Each song puts me in a super great mood, builds up my energy and helps me push my muscles to the absolute max. That’s what a great sculpting playlist is for, right? I’ve also included a few sample exercises for each tune for fit-spiration. Enjoy!

Take a (Yoga) Hike!

Nichole Golden by Nichole Golden | August 7th, 2012 | 4 Comments
topic: Fitness, Yoga | tags: Albert Einstein, be present, breath-work, breathing, breathing techniques, bridge pose, cooling yoga poses, exercise, Fitness, focus, hiking, Hiking Yoga, mindful, Moon Salutations, nature, outside, pranayama, presence, seasons, Seated Twists, shoulder stand, stretches, stretching, summer, the Earth, the great outdoors, trail, warm weather, yoga hike

Yoga and Hiking

It seems quite natural during the cresting wave of summer to take ourselves out of the unnatural walls of our indoor environments and into the outdoors, a place where the wild is at play. I believe that includes getting out of the yoga studio! During the warm summer months, we have the unique chance to take our practice into the living, breathing natural world where fresh air and precious stillness are abundant.

Albert Einstein urged us to “look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” The adventure of hiking and yoga is just that, the chance to explore and deepen our yoga practice against the beautiful backdrop of Earth’s endless landscapes. On the trails, nature’s rhythms bleed their way into our own and start to influence the way we move in the world — and the way we move on our yoga mats — which makes hiking and yoga a perfect summer combination.

Five Cardio Myths Exposed

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | July 25th, 2012 | 8 Comments
topic: Fitness, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | tags: aerobic, Annie Lee, burn-calories, burn-fat, cardio, cardio workout, cardiovascular, circuit training, cumulative workout, exercise, fact or fiction, fasted state, fat-burning zone, Fitness, interval training, lose-weight, Peripheral Heart Action, PHA, running, step class, strength training, sweating, walking, weight-loss, work out, workout

By The FIRM Master Instructor Annie Lee

Are you confused by all of the information out there about cardio fitness and how to do it so that you get the best results?

“Eat before your workout — No, don’t eat before your workout!”

“Running burns the most calories but walking burns more fat!”

“Work out for 30 minutes a day or don’t bother working out at all!”

It’s enough to put any girl off her workout routing. That’s why we’re getting to the truth behind some popular “cardio myths” — to help you sort out the fact from the fiction.

S-U-M-M-E-R: That’s How I Spell Fun, Fresh and Fit!

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | July 23rd, 2012 | 3 Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Personal Growth | tags: clothes, Clothing, diet, exercise, fashion, Fitness, food, fruits, health, healthy, hydrate, hydration, nutrition, relax, relaxation, SPF, stress, summer, summer produce, summer wardrobe, sun, swim, swimming, the firm, vacation, vegetables, veggies, warm weather, water, work out, workout

SummerBy The FIRM Master Instructor Robyn Smarr

I love summer! If you were listening to this post rather than reading it, you would surely hear me shouting this sentence as loudly as I possibly can.

Maybe it’s because I was born in the crazy heat of August. (I have a theory that people tend to favor the season in which they were born.) Or maybe it’s because I practically lived at the pool and the beach as a child. Or maybe it’s because I can wear flip-flops every day during the warm summer months (the best “shoe” ever invented)! Regardless of the reason, I find so much joy and rejuvenation during the summer.

Here are my favorite tricks for making the most out of your S-U-M-M-E-R:

Balancing It All: Fitness, Nutrition and Life

The FIRM Master Instructor Team by The FIRM Master Instructor Team | July 17th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness, Healthy Eating, Weight Loss | tags: balance, body log, diet, exercise, exercise journal, Fitness, food journal, healthy-eating, Kelly Branning, Libra, meditation, nutrition, parenting, self care, Stephen Covey, the firm, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, tree-pose, weight-loss, workouts, Yoga

Balanced Nutrition

By The FIRM Master Instructor Kelly Branning

I am a Libra. Although I don’t read my horoscope, I do identify with those scales that represent my sign. Balance, balance and more balance. It is a daily challenge to keep those scales from tipping over. One side seems overloaded with the things we do for others and the outside world, like family, career, social life and housework. The other side of the scale, including exercise and nutrition, usually threatens to let go at any time.

I think the absolute foundation of a balanced life is good self-care, coupled with good self-awareness. That said … how are you doing? How is your eating? Do you get everything you need from the foods you eat? Hopefully you are eating healthy, life-affirming foods every 3-4 hours. How about exercise? Are you finding a little time to work out and get stronger? If you don’t know how you are doing, let’s take some time to figure it out.

Objects on Foot Are Closer Than They Appear

Ginny Figlar Colón by Ginny Figlar Colón | July 13th, 2012 | No Comments
topic: Family Health, Fitness, Green Living, Green Tech, Health & Wellness, Personal Growth, Weight Loss | tags: car, car-free, children, community, dad, drive, driving, exercise, exerise, family, Fitness, Google Maps, health, healthy, kids, mom, neighborhood, parenting, pedestrian-friendly, running errands, stroller, take a walk, walk score, walkability, walking, walking directions, WalkScore, weight-loss

Happy family walking togetherIt usually takes me seven minutes to get to my daughter’s preschool. Today, it took 27.

That’s because, for the first time in 18 months, I strapped my 11-month-old son into the double stroller and walked there.

I like to walk. Our family of four has one car, and in the two years that we’ve owned it, we’ve only put 14,000 miles on the odometer.

I’m not alone. According to a 2011 survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors, nearly 80 percent of respondents look for homes in pedestrian-friendly areas and 59 percent would choose a smaller home if it meant less driving.

Still, I find that once I’ve gotten into the habit of driving someplace — my daughter’s preschool, the Trader Joe’s on the other side of the highway, the garden store — I tend to keep on driving there, deeming it too far to reach on foot. The funny thing is, once I decide to test walking to a destination once, I realize not only how doable it is but also how satisfying running that errand becomes.

So now I’m on a quest of sorts: to debunk the myth that certain places in my everyday life are too far to reach on foot.

Can Knitting Give You a Runner’s High?

Tamara Grand by Tamara Grand | July 9th, 2012 | 23 Comments
topic: Fitness, Health & Wellness | tags: brain health, brain structure, cognitive function, craft, crafting, crafting and exercise, crafting and fitness, depression, dopamine, endorphins, exercise, Fitness, hormones, knit, knitting, learning, meditation, memory, mind, mood, neurotransmitters, prefrontal cortex, runner’s high, running, serotonin, sleep, workout

Knitting and Exercise

At first glance, crafting and exercise would seem to have little in common. One involves moving your body to improve health and fitness, the other moving your hands to create with paper, needles, paint or yarn.

Yet both activities have important, complementary effects on mood and cognitive function.