Weight Loss Panic

Weight LossWhenever the weather gets warmer, the idea of putting on summer clothes generates a ton of weight loss panic! I get a lot of panicky emails asking about quick weight loss. Here are a couple of familiar ones.

Weight Loss Panic Solutions

Q: I need to lose 20 pounds. I am doing aerobics three times a week and watching my calories but I am losing so slowly, I was wondering if there is any other type of exercise that could help me lose weight faster? I am really getting frustrated and I am almost ready to just give up.

Frustrated

A. Try adding 2-3 days of weight training to the mix.

weight lossStudies show the winning formula is a combination of aerobic and weight training exercise. Moderate aerobic exercise burns calories while you are doing it and for a short time afterwards. Weight training burns calories too but it also increases your lean muscle mass. So as you add more muscle, you’ll burn more calories all day long. Research from Tufts University found that after 12 weeks of weight training, total calorie burning increased by about 15 percent which for an average adult, could amount to an extra 240 to 400 calories a day.

Q: I’m carrying about 10 extra pounds around my middle. I’ve got 12 weeks to get into my dress for my daughter’s wedding. I would hate to have to go out and buy a bigger size. Is there anything I can do to get rid of this belly by then?

A: As we get older, particularly after menopause, women tend to carry extra weight around the middle. This change in body shape puts you at higher risk for heart disease and cancer. So, it’s even more crucial to do something about it.

weight lossFortunately, it’s not as difficult as you think.

If you lose a pound a week, you’ll still have 2 weeks to spare, just in case you get a little hungry.

So, here’s a formula for losing the weight and toning up at the same time.

One pound = 3500 calories. So to lose one pound a week eliminate 500 calories each day (500 X 7 days = 3500 calories)

Eat 300 calories less, and do one half hour to one hour of aerobic exercise, like brisk walking, to burn the other 200. You might want to write down everything you eat for the next 3 days or so to help you figure out what you can do without. Or, simply cut your portions in half.

As for aerobic exercise, you don’t have to do the whole workout at once. Three 10-minute walks are just as effective as one half hour walk.

CRUNCH-banner-at-72-copy

You should also do some abdominal exercises about 20 a day to help tone up that belly as you lose weight. And, exercise actually picks up your metabolic rate so you burn more calories even after you’ve finished exercising.

Now, just try not to trip on your way up the aisle!

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Clicking Joints: Should I Worry?

Clicking JointsClicking Joints: Should I worry? What are those clicking, popping and crackling sounds in my joints? Is it Arthritis? Have I overdosed on breakfast cereal? No, it’s probably Crepitus. Sounds like a precursor to decrepitude, but it’s not. Crepitus is just the word used to describe the clicking sounds.

In fact, in most cases, if there’s no pain associated with those sounds, it’s nothing to worry about. Many people live their whole lives with some clicking joints and popping without any ill effects.

 Clicking Joints?

Clicking Joints have closed bags of synovial fluid, called bursa, between them. They cushion joint movement so we can walk and work painlessly. That fluid has a little bit of air or gas dissolved in it. Through our daily movement, that gas can form a bubble or cavity in the bag. The fancy term is Cavitation.

When you move your knee, elbow or shoulder, the bubble bursts and makes a click or popping sound. Cracking your knuckles is a good example of breaking those bubbles on purpose. So, the rule of thumb is: no pain, no problem.

Snapping however is another story. That rubber band-like sound is often accompanied by pain. It’s a sign you have an injury, or that some muscle, nerve or connective tissue is out of place.

In this case you should see your doctor. A good way to promote healthy joints in general is to strengthen the muscles around them. Regular strength training can make a difference at any age. If you haven’t been exercising in a while, start slowly and build up. Last thing you want to do is hurt the joints you’re trying to strengthen.

So, what’s the takeaway here? Well, next time your friends have clicks and pops in their joints, you can tell them they probably have Crepitus!

TAKE CHARGE OF THEIR HEALTH NOW!

by Mirabai Holland MFA Certified Health Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist.

EASE IN, BECOME MOBILE, GET STRONG, LIVE LONG!

For more health and fitness info, Health coaching  and in home exercise club and videos please visit www.mirabaiholland.com  

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Stretching Routines: Gogi Tendon Organs ?

Stretching Routines: What Do Your Gogi Tendon Organs Have to do with it?

Stretching RoutinesStretching: What Do Your Gogi Tendon Organs Have To Do With It?  
Here’s a little video with the answer.
Have you tried to pick a coin up off the ground lately? How about tying your shoes? Have you switched to slip-ons? What about reaching over the coffee table to scoop some dip on the other side? Remember when you didn’t think twice about those maneuvers?
Sounds like decrepitude is setting in. Or maybe you’ve just lost some Flexibility.Flexibility is range of motion around your joints.
There are two types. Static flexibility – how far you can stretch and hold a body part, and dynamic flexibility – how much range of motion you have when you move.
Both are important. In fact I consider Flexibility one of the 3 main components of fitness, along with Aerobic Capacity and Muscle Strength.
I recommend a flexibility program that incorporates slow dynamic movements like Tai Chi, as well as static stretches like Yoga.But in my experience, Flexibility is the most ignored component of fitness. We do our Cardio and our Strength training but, unless we’re regular Yoga or Tai Chi, practitioners, Flexibility is not on the menu.
Why not? I think there are a couple of reasons. First, I think we don’t get it.It doesn’t make our muscles stronger or our figures shapelier. We don’t realize how valuable flexibility is until we try to do something we used to take for granted, like reach around to the back seat to get our sunglasses. Even then we toss it off with, “Well, I guess I’m getting older”. We somehow don’t connect with the thought, ” If I’d been doing a little stretching all these years, it wouldn’t have felt like I was going to rip something just then”.Secondly, there’s been lots of press about conflicting studies on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of stretching.
Some studies say stretching improves athletic performance. Others say they’ve proved the exact opposite. Some studies say stretching helps prevent injury. Others say it has no effect on injury prevention. There’s enough conflicting buzz to make you not want to bother.That’s too bad because all that buzz masks the fact we do know stretching does help you gain and maintaining flexibility.
Does stretching help prevent injury or aid athletic performance? I DON’T CARE.
I want to stay flexible as I age. I want to be able to pick up coins, tie my shoes and grab my sunglasses. Give me my dose of flexibility training!Even if we were flexible as kids, as we get older, connective tissues, our tendons and ligaments, tend to lose water, shorten, and become stiffer. So we get less flexible. But it’s not too late.Even if you’re not interested in the fine practice of Yoga or Tai Chi, barring some medical issue, there’s a simple way to help hang on to the flexibility you have, and work on getting some of that youthful flexibility back. A few easy stretching exercises may be the difference between living tight and living flexible.I stretch every day. Easy for me to say, I teach a stretch class. But just a few minutes, three times a week, can make a real difference. I’ve seen students of mine go from really stiff to pretty darn flexible in a few months, without trying hard.

Stretching, when done right, feels delicious while you’re doing it, and even better when you’re done. The kind of stretching I do is relaxing and meditative. I find it melts my stress and energizes me while keeping me flexible. I’ve developed a stretch exercise technique I call Moving Free. It’s evolved some over the 30 years I’ve been teaching it. I use a fusion of modified static stretches from Dance, Yoga and classic fitness as well as dynamic movements adapted from Dance and Tai Chi and Kinesiology.

Here’s a video with some lower body stretches you can try at home.

As if that weren’t enough, There’s more to stretching than just flexibility. I think stretching is a form of meditation that creates a sense of well-being and promotes peace of mind. When I finish my stretching routine I have a more positive outlook as well as the feeling that my body is more alive, more accessible to me. Try it and see.

Chances are that pretty soon you’ll be able to find your shoes simply by looking down.

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Osteoporosis: What Does Buying A Purse Have To Do With It?

We all have a lot to lose if we take a serious fall. Assuming we survive, the effects can be life altering. And if you have osteoporosis, what would have been a minor slip and fall for others, could have devastating consequences for you. Here’s a fall prevention video that should be of interest to anyone interested in staying upright.

Osteoporosis Fall Prevention Video

There’s a story that prompted me to post this video and write this article. Here it is.

OsteoporosisI have a friend who had been eyeballing this cute little red purse for a couple of months.  She didn’t need it but she wanted it and sort of became obsessed with it.

She’d visit it online and wave to it in the store. But, there’s no way she was going to buy that purse because wanting it that bad made her feel a little stupid.

Well, the darn thing went on sale the other day at 40-percent off and another 10-percent off with her store card. Now, of course, she had to have that red bag.

Apparently, so did every other woman in the United States. Because, she had it in her online shopping cart and by the time she got her credit card out, it was no longer available. It had been snatched right out of her cart.

She was furious. She felt violated. “How dare they sell MY red purse?”

She called the company.  They apologized and looked for one in their inventory anywhere. They gave her stores and a warehouse to call and reserve it before the last one could be sold. She called around for over an hour and finally got to someone who found one in California and ordered it for her.

As she was patting herself on the back for her investigative skills and persistence my friend had an aha! moment. She had recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her doctor had given her a list of endocrinologists he’d be comfortable recommending but she hadn’t even looked at it, let alone researched it.

“I had been meaning to but I had been putting it off for no good reason. I thought why on earth don’t I apply that same purse passion to taking charge of my own health care?”

She thought about it for a minute and the answer she came up with unnerved her a little. “Health care is not sexy,”  Purses are sexy! Purses are sexier than being healthier and maybe living longer? Eek!

But health is sexy! Quality of life is sexy!

As she started to Google the doctors on the list, she began to sing a parody to that old rock song.
“I’m too sexy for my purse, too sexy for my mouse pad, but not too sexy for my doctor’s office. Maybe a little bit too sexy, but I’m goin’ anyway.”

I think perhaps my friend has touched a nerve in many of us. Would we really rather look good than to feel good?

Sure seems like it. I think it’s that very premise that prompted an ad agency to come up with a TV commercial for a dietary supplement featuring a sexy dancing X-ray skeleton of a baby boomer model that’s protecting her looks by protecting her bones.

It got my attention. If you can’t get them to do it for health, get them to do it for beauty. Twistedly brilliant!

So I guess, if beauty is your motivation, go for it; especially when the health comes with it.
But what do you do if you already have osteoporosis like my friend, or have low bone mass, or you just have the good sense to want to take of your bones?

Osteoporosis And Calcium

“Getting enough calcium in our diet is really important. The NOF recommends
an intake of 1,000 miligrams for adult women from age 50 or younger, and age 51 and older — 1,200 milligrams a day for adult women. If a woman isn’t paying enough attention to calcium in her diet she puts herself at risk. But more is not necessarily better when it comes to calcium. Neither women nor men should get more than about 2,000 milligrams a day.”

 Weight Bearing Exercise

Weight bearing exercise actually builds bone in youth and will help maintain bone.”As we get older the type of exercise changes a little bit. We still have to do some impact work but it has to be safe to avoid injury and falls so you want to add balance training, flexibility training, and safe movement to make sure the individual is able to stay active and healthy.”

So what’s the takeaway here? My takeaway is if you like standing on your own two feet, taking care of your bones is about as sexy as it gets.

by Mirabai Holland MFA Certified Health Coach, Certified Exercise Physiologist.

EASE IN, BECOME MOBILE, GET STRONG, LIVE LONG!

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New Year New You: Top Ten Fitness Tips

New Year, New You; right? Well it is January again, and are you wondering if you can really stick with your New Year’s fitness resolutions? If getting in shape, and staying in shape is one of yours, it’s probably not the first time you’ve tried it. I’ve spent a lot of my career studying why fitness programs succeed or fail and developing methods to help people succeed. So, Happy New Year, here are my Top 10 Tips to help you ward off decrepitude.

New Year New You Top Ten Tips

•  Start slowly and go at your own pace. Staying in your comfort zone separates the pain from the gain. You’ll get the most benefit with the lowest risk of injury, especially if you’ve been inactive for some time.

•   Find the right kind of exercise for you. Choose activities you like or at least don’t hate. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as taking a brisk walk.

•   Pick a time of the day that is most convenient for you to exercise.  Try to stick with that schedule. Studies show that people who exercise at the same time every day are more likely to stick with it.

•  Before getting out of bed each day, take a moment to visualize yourself fit. Thinking of yourself as a fit person will help make it happen. Professional athletes do this daily.

•  Keep an exercise log. You’ll get a feeling of accomplishment when you stick to your program and will be able to chart your progress.

  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes with good support. Cotton is a breathable classic. But check out the super lightweight fabrics like cool-max that wick the sweat from your skin. When buying shoes, don’t feel weird about actually exercising in them in the store before plunking down the big bucks. I can’t tell you how many pairs of sneakers I have thrown against the wall before I learned this.

•   Exercise with a friend or family member. Supporting each other’s efforts helps keep you on track. One of my students loves to go mall walking with her friend in the early morning at speed and then coming back later for some retail therapy.

•   Music is a powerful motivator. Pick music you love that makes you want to move. There are fitness music companies that sell CDs and downloads with popular tunes played at specific beats per minute. They’ll tell you what speed works for particular types of exercise.

•   Consider professional guidance, especially if you’ve been inactive.  If you don’t want to join a gym or can’t afford a trainer, consider a beginner-level exercise video by a certified teacher so you’ll see the exercises demonstrated properly.

•   Set short-term, easily attainable goals, such as doing some form of exercise two or three days a week to start.  Change your goal when it becomes too easy.

It’s rare when anyone succeeds at anything right out of the gate. That’s why “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” is a classic proverb. So if you fall off the wagon one day, just climb back on board the next. And remember you’re not a failure, you’re a success story in progress.

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TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH! GET STRONG, LIVE LONG! For more info on health and wellness programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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For more information about Health & Wellness coaching contact askmirabai@movingfree.com

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH! GET STRONG, LIVE LONG! For more info on health and wellness programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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Relieve Holiday Stress

Relieve holiday stressRelieve holiday Stress

When I think of the holiday season as joyous as it is, I can’t help thinking about stress.

Feeling the stress of the season? Me too!

Stress has been around since the beginning of time.

It started as the flight-or-fight reflex when early humans confronted a life-threatening situation, and now, stress itself has become a life-threatening situation.

Well, if we can’t eliminate all causes of stress, which is the way to go if you can do it, but good luck with that, what CAN we do about it?

Relieve holiday stress starting with my personal favorite.

 Relieve holiday stress

 

Snuggle

with a dog or cuddle with a cat

 

 

or cats!

 

 

 

 

Relax. No really, conscious relaxation is a form of Yoga or Meditation. Sometimes you only need a few seconds and you feel a lot better.

Try this at home or at work:

Sit down and close your eyes (if you’re on the street, duck into a doorway and keep your eyes open and one hand on your purse)

Let your muscles relax

Concentrate on your breathing

Breathe in and hold your breath for 1 second – 1 one hundred thousand, Breathe out

Breathe in again a little deeper and hold for 2 seconds – 1 one hundred thousand, 2 one hundred thousand – Breathe out

Breathe in deeper and hold for three, then four, then 5 seconds

When you get to around 3 seconds of breath holding your stress level should start to drop and your mind should to clear itself for thoughts.

After 5, you should feel pretty good. This actually works and can relieve holiday stress.

Eat better. Substituting good food like fruit for sugary snacks and drinking less caffeine and less alcohol can make a big difference

At home, put on some music and dance around for a song or two.

If you have the time, keep going, After a few minutes, as your heart rate goes up your mood will improve. This is because you’re now doing aerobic exercise, a great mood elevator, after about 20 minutes you’ll feel even better because the endorphins, your body’s natural anti-depressant drugs will kick in and all will be right with the world for a while.

By the way a half hour brisk walk or putting on an aerobics video also works great to relieve holiday stress.

Another great way to relieve holiday stress is to get a massage. Professional massage therapists are great, but for just plain stress, getting your significant other or a close friend to give you a massage works just as well, maybe better. Be sure to return the favor.

Hope you’ll try these and relieve holiday stress. Happier Holidays!

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For more health and fitness info and in home exercise videos please visit www.mirabaiholland.com  

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH!

EASE IN, BECOME MOBILE, GET STRONG, LIVE LONG!

 

For more info on health and wellness programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com Follow Mirabai Holland, Certified Health Coach & Certified Exercise Physiologist:

 

 

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Exercise Can Help Relieve Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainAlthough specialists once thought that resting was the best prescription for a bad back, it is now shown that exercise relieves back pain. And carefully designed exercises may be even more effective in reducing back pain. A sedentary lifestyle and unnatural alignment of the spine have a lot to do with back pain, a condition that affects 31 million Americans at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association. One study found that half of all working Americans report back pain symptoms whether they are seated or standing on the job.

Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainIf you spend most of your time sitting at a desk, it’s easy to hunch your shoulders and neck forward to look at a computer screen without even noticing. And if you hold that position for hours at a time, especially with your legs crossed at the knees, your spine can really suffer. For women, wearing high-heeled shoes can add to spine stress.
By the time we reach our fifties, many Baby Boomers have created bad habits and bad backs.

 

What Makes Your Back Especially Sensitive to Pain?

The back is a complicated structure of nerves, bones, joints, ligaments and muscles. The sensitive triangular area of the lower back, between the hips and above the tailbone, is called the sacrum. From the sacrum up through your neck, your spine is linked to a large portion of your nervous system, which controls and coordinates every function of your body. rehab-back-row.jpgSpinal nerves are routed from the vertebrae in your spine and connect with various parts of your body, including your internal organs. Exercise helps to keep your back healthy and avoid injuries or accidents that may occur even from simple movements like bending over to pick up something that dropped on the floor. It also prevents the back pain that can result from conditions like arthritis, obesity and psychological stress.

*Vallfors B. Acute, Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain: Clinical Symptoms, Absenteeism and Working Environment. Scan J Rehab Med Suppl 1985; 11: 1-98.

Luckily, it’s possible to change your posture for the better, standing or sitting, and relieve that chronic pain – as well as the restricted breathing, digestion and circulation that holding an unhealthy posture may cause.

The most effective way to improve your posture is by stretching your spine and strengthening your back and abdominal muscles so that your whole core area gets stronger. Exercise also works to remedy sudden injury to back tissue and muscles.

One of the most effective ways to relieve back pain is back extension. Back extension helps to reset your vertebrae into proper alignment and to relieve nerve pressure. You can do it standing, sitting or lying face down (yoga cobra pose).

Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainHere’s the standing version:

Stand feet comfortable apart. Place your two hands behind you at the lumbar area. Gently arch your back and look upward without stretching the neck too far back. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Try this anytime your back feels fatigued. You’ll be surprised at how much relief it gives you. But don’t do it if you are in severe back pain. In that case it’s time to call your doctor.

It can make a big difference to keep your immune system strong. If you need some help, I have your back! Here’s a short video about my Health Coaching Technique how I have helped my clients achieve a balanced and Healthy Life. If you are ready to break the cycle of failed diets, exercise programs with no results or have low energy, high stress or persistent health issues, YOU HAVE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE!


GET 50% OFF YOUR FIRST HEALTH COACHING SESSION.  CLICK HERE   

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Walking Workout In September

Walking Workout MOUNTAIN-WALK-WEB-054Starting a walking workout in September is a special experience. September is the perfect time to walk, and a walking workout is about as perfect a human exercise as we’ve got. It’s a great combination. Beginning your walking workout in September is good because it’s not too hot, not too cold, and there’s lots to look at. And, doctors always want us to walk when they tell us to get some exercise. I wonder if they walk themselves. So your doctor should be very pleased when you call and say “I’m starting a walking workout program, what do you think”? Do check with your doctor to make sure you don’t have any issues that will keep you from brisk walking, and then if all’s good, get to it.

Besides getting a great cardiovascular workout you’ll strengthen and sculpt your legs and butt. If you swing your arms you’ll get some shoulder action too; all this while nature watching, or people watching if you’re in the city. Start slowly and build up. American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of walking per week

Vary Your Walking Workout

Try interval walking. Walk for 3 minutes at a moderate pace. Then walk faster for 1 minute.

Walking Workout Develops Core Strength

There’s been plenty of buzz lately about core exercise and how a strong core, the abs, back, butt and upper thigh muscles, can keep you mobile into old age. There’s a lot of truth to that. The core muscles hold you torso erect and promote good posture and general body strength. If you do it right, walking can strengthen your core and improve the way you walk at the same time.

A weak core makes you slouch and walking slouched messes up your gait and can even give you back injuries. Start by standing tall with your head over your shoulders, shoulders over your hips, hips over the feet, abs pulled in. If you’re not used to it, it’ll feel like work at first. But, try keeping that posture while you walk, even for 5 minutes at a time. It will become more and more comfortable. You’ll start to realize it’s the natural way for humans to stand and walk. Your gait will improve, your core will get stronger, you’ll be less fatigued and you’ll enjoy your walking workout in September more. And won’t you look cool and snappy out there with that perfect gait.

In these times of social distancing and sheltering in place is a perfect time to focus on your health and well-being. It can make a big difference to keep your immune system strong. If you need some help, I have your back! Here’s a short video about my Health Coaching Technique how I have helped my clients achieve a balanced and Healthy Life. If you are ready to break the cycle of failed diets, exercise programs with no results or have low energy, high stress or persistent health issues, YOU HAVE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE!


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Water Ballet Exercise

Water Ballet ExerciserWater Ballet Exercise!

We are filming for several hours a day starting at the crack of dawn. The weather is cooler but not for long. My only relief has been to strip off my workout clothes, which are almost pasted to my body, jump into a swimsuit and plunge into the pool. After about 45 minutes of laps back and forth I get an idea. What if I try some exercises in the water, holding on to the side of the pool? Doing some Water Ballet Exercise in the water, while cooling off is not such a bad idea I’m thinking. So I try one of my on land favorites for my legs and butt. I like it! I can really feel it working. It may be even more effective with the water for added resistance. This Aqua Ballet Workout not only tones your lower body but it also helps to elongate your muscles while you are doing it. And because you are in the water, you are adding resistance to strengthen your legs and butt while at the same time using your core muscles to help keep your body upright and balanced.

Try this Water Ballet Exercise to Tone Up Your Legs and Butt

Stand facing front, heels together, feet turned out. Hold on to the edge of the pool with your right hand. Slowly bend left knee, bringing foot up to right knee forming a triangle. Slowly stretch leg in front of body. Then bring foot back to the knee of the standing leg and return to the starting position. Repeat 4 times to the Front, Side, and Back.

Water Ballet ExerciseWater Ballet ExerciseWater Ballet ExerciseWater Ballet ExerciseWater Ballet Exercise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn around and repeat exercise on the other leg holding on with your left hand. Enjoy this Water Ballet Exercise.

For more health and fitness information and at home exercise programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

EASE IN, BECOME MOBILE, GET STRONG, LIVE LONG!  

In these times of social distancing and sheltering in place is a perfect time to focus on your health and well-being. It can make a big difference to keep your immune system strong. If you need some help, I have your back! Here’s a short video about my Health Coaching Technique how I have helped my clients achieve a balanced and Healthy Life. https://www.mirabaiholland.com/health-coaching-one-session/

50% OFF TOTAL MEMBERSHIP ONLINE WORKOUT CLUB Code: FAB CLICK HERE

TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH!

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EASE IN, BECOME MOBILE, GET STRONG, LIVE LONG!  LIVE LONG! For more info on health and wellness programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

 Follow Mirabai Holland, Certified Health Coach & Certified Exercise Physiologist:

 

For more health and fitness information and at home exercise programs please visit www.mirabaiholland.com

 

 

 

 

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Aqua Exercise: A Splash of Fabulous!

Aqua ExerciseAqua Exercise: A Splash of Fabulous!

Water babies, that’s us. We’re at home in liquid from pre-birth and we seem to naturally gravitate to it. We love the ocean, the lake the pool, the hot tub, and the bathtub.

What is it about water that means so much to us? It surrounds us, it cradles us, and it supports us. We’re nearly weightless in water. The largest of us can glide with ease and grace, feeling minimal resistance. And, I think it’s those endearing properties of water that make aqua exercise pleasant and effective.

Fitness
Swimming is the most common form of Aqua Exercise. It’s good for all ages. It uses all your major muscle groups, strengthens, tones, and helps build aerobic capacity. There’s almost no impact, so it’s kind to your joints while it gets you in shape.

I swim laps for 30 to 40 minutes four or five times per week. I find it relaxing and stimulating at the same time. Some days it melts my stress and puts me in a meditative state. Other days I do some of my best thinking during my swim workout. In any case, I always get out of the water with that energized good-tired feeling. Mornings are my favorite time to swim. But I’ll take a swim any time I can fit it in. I mostly swim outside so, as pretty as dusk is; I’m usually done before that, because mosquitoes love me.

If you’re a beginner, start slowly with a few minutes a day. Stay in your comfort zone and build up. I can swim for an hour or so now, when my body’s in the mood. But it took me over a year to get that conditioned, and I had a head start as a fitness professional. Take your time and keep it fun.

Aqua Exercise

Can’t swim? No worries. There are classes at the local rec. centers everywhere. There’s aqua cardio, aqua strength, aqua stretch, just about aqua everything. It’s done in about four feet of water so there’s no need to swim. You can get a great workout. It’s no-to-low impact, so it’s easy on your joints. And, if you have access to a pool or calm water, now you can stream a workout on to your tablet, prop it on a chair and exercise your brains out.

There’s some cool equipment to use in the water, too; aqua dumbbells, paddle gloves, jogging vests. Obviously if you’re going deep water running you’ll need one of those deep water jogging vests. But otherwise, you don’t need that stuff to get started. Many aqua cardio classes don’t use any equipment.

Here is an Aqua exercise you might try for cardio:

And, you can do Aqua Strength exercises using aqua dumbbells or a couple of empty plastic water bottles filled with air for resistance. Here’s a video with a few Aqua Strength exercises:

PT and Rehab
Immersion in water was used for healing by ancient civilizations more than 3,000 years ago.

They were on to something, though they probably didn’t know quite what. Immersion in water provides a supportive, low impact, low resistance environment for modern, medically based, physical therapy and injury rehab. A doctor usually prescribes this type of exercise.

Aging Fit
Someone really smart, and probably pretty old, once said: “Aging is not for the faint of heart.” Can I say I can relate to that without giving away my age? Guess not.

Luckily water is also a great medium for vintage bodies that simply can’t take the impact of other types of exercise, at least not every day.

Even if you’re pretty active getting older can make it hard to do land-based exercise on a regular basis. And water is fun. You don’t know you’re exercising until you get out and your body tells you “Oh, that was a workout.”

As our health-conscious population lives longer and longer, I think aqua, with it’s ability to surround and support our aging bodies while we keep them operational, is the wave of the future. Get those creaky bodies in the water. Try it, you’ll like it.

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