By The FIRM Master Instructor Stephanie Huckabee
Many of us keep a list of things we’d like to do before we reach a certain milestone. With my 40th birthday looming, I spent some time evaluating what I would like to include on my own so-called “bucket list” as I move forward in life. My list consisted of things like traveling to specific places, learning to cook my grandmother’s dressing and actually reading many of the classic literature titles currently gathering dust on my book shelf.
But what about a bucket list for exercise? Have you ever thought about keeping a running list of your dreams for fitness? Making a list of your long-term goals along with some smaller ones along the way could be just what you need to keep you motivated for years to come!
I have found that in times of stress, physical exertion is one of the most effective and important steps to take — and it can actually help us through hard times!
Numerous studies have confirmed the fact that the right amount of exercise relieves stress and boosts the immune system. It releases feel-good hormones — such as endorphins and adrenaline — and reduces levels of stress hormones.
Yet our natural reaction to stress is usually to take things out of our day that seem superfluous and time-consuming. Often that includes the time we spend on our own health. We sacrifice that time — and ourselves — to other more “important” causes at hand, even when the cause of our stress is something we don’t have control over anyway.
I’d like to point out three other important benefits of exercise that are less often highlighted — but equally great reasons to find time every day to just move.
A “routine” is a sequence of actions that are regularly followed — in other words, a fixed program. I love a good routine. In my head, I call them rituals, because it makes it seem more special. For example, every morning I have my coffee-making ritual. I’ve got my special glass where I heat the milk (via microwave), and I use this really cool milk frother immediately after. It adds an extra “wow!” to my morning drink. Right off the bat, it puts me in a great mood and is an awesome start to my day.
by The FIRM Master Instructor Jennifer Ray
I think we can all agree on one thing: Life is busy. With that said, who has time to exercise?
I’m not here to scold, because we are all guilty of making excuses as to why we don’t have time to exercise. And I’m not saying these excuses aren’t often legitimate either — sometimes there really aren’t enough hours in the day! What I am here to do is offer easy solutions to a problem that faces us all.
Peep into any of the thousands of yoga classes across the globe and you will find that students are donning more than just yoga outfits. In addition to the latest leggings and tank tops by Zobha, Gaiam and Alo, you’ll also find students of every age, both male and female, sporting a different kind of accessory. These, however, are not made from lycra, mala beads or precious metals, but rather from an overzealous nervous system.
Glance around the room after the teacher calls out “Twisted Half Moon” (Pavritta Ardha Chandrasana) and you’ll see students with arms akimbo, clenched toes, fingers curled and faces contorted beyond recognition. These students are “accessorizing” their poses with parts of their body that don’t actually need to be involved.
Most of us pursue fitness in order to look good. In this quest, we run an extra mile to lose five pounds or pick up a heavier weight to trim our arms. A balanced fitness program and sensible eating habits are powerful tools for weight loss. However, the same tools we use to look our best and lose weight are also powerful tools in maintaining the quality of our lives and our health.
What is physical fitness? Physical fitness includes five health-related components: muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility and body composition. The FIRM workouts are designed with these components in mind. Once you’ve begun to see results on the scale, in your jeans and with your tape measure, what are the benefits you don’t see?
If you’re trying to add more activity and movement to your life, one place to look for inspiration is your children. When we were kids, we never said, “I have to go exercise.” We just wanted to play and move. Here are four things about being active and healthy that you can learn from kids:
Have you ever exercised a bit harder because you had ice cream the night before? Ever justified making a poor dietary decision (dessert/second helping/third cocktail) by thinking, “I’ll work out twice tomorrow,” or “It’s OK, I ran 10 miles today”?