Monthly Archives: November 2014

What Is Zumba Anyway?

Everywhere you go, you hear people talking about Zumba. And who can blame them? Zumba is fun, burns fat and helps you get in shape. But what is it? And is it right for me?

It is a fitness program similar to aerobics but it involves more dancing, comparatively speaking. The movements are a combination of Latin American dance steps to the tune of upbeat zumba-funny-workout-300x210international music. How cool is that? And being among those who rave about it, I can tell you right now that it is fun, fun, fun!

Why am I telling you about it?

I know that not everybody finds working out to be exciting. It can even be boring to some extent. But what I do know is that everybody knows how important exercising is. Therefore, if you want an exercise program that is not boring, that is exciting and is always fun then Zumba it is!

People who are now enjoying this thrilling form of exercise have Colombian dancer/aerobics class teacher, Alberto Perez, to thank. He is responsible in revolutionizing choreographed dance exercise. Today, it has grown so popular that there are over 12 million people all over the world who now view exercise in a whole new light enjoying each step to fitness.

Imagine belly dancing, soca, cumbia, samba, mambo, flamenco, salsa, hip-hop, cha-cha and many other dances combined in a body training program and what would you expect? Endless hours of fun exercise! No wonder it has gone viral.

The Benefits of Zumba

• It is an exciting way to change your body from plump to fit, letting go of your inhibitions while giving you a mind that is sharp and abs that are taut.
• You become well-coordinated and balanced, the new dance steps introduced regularly that you need to learn give you mental exercises too.
• As you dance away, you do your heart a favor because the exercise is also a cardio workout helping you improve your blood pressure. And as you burn calories, you also increase your stamina and bone density.
• Lastly, and this is why I like it so much, it is safe for practically all ages. The dance steps can be modified easily and according to a person’s fitness level.

So if you are not yet into Zumba, what are you waiting for? Here is a great video to get you started on this exciting workout that everyone is crazy about. All you need is a good pair of dancing, I mean, training shoes and you can join the fitness party to dance yourself to fitness.

Can Yoga Help Me Lose Weight?

Have you asked why yoga seems like something of a wonder drug that can make you feel not only rejuvenated but sexy and fit too? That being said, does it mean that yoga can help one lose weight?

I have always found yoga to be an effective workout that addresses many toning concerns for both mind and body including dysmenorrhea issues. But on top of that, I also discovered a study conducted on a group of people from 45 to 55 years old over a period of 4 years. Those who did yoga shed more than 2 kilos while those who did not gained an additional 7 kilos. The positive effect may seem subtle but let me just add that those involved in the study only yoga-pants-funny-picturesdid a 30-minute yoga per week. An expert expressed the relationship between mind and body and this is what may have influenced the food eating habits of those who did yoga and therefore had a positive effect on their weight.

More Weight Loss with Power Yoga

The positive effects of yoga on weight loss could have prompted the creation of a more intense style known as the power yoga. Like an aerobic workout, it offers fat-burning benefits too. I enjoy the conditioning a more subtle yoga gives me but when I would like something that is both meditative and intense in movements, I go for power yoga. Believe me but it will leave you breathing faster as you burn calories!

Make it work for you too by doing the following:

1. Once introduced to power yoga, fall into the habit of practicing in mirror-less room to help you focus internally than being conscious about your outer appearance. You will enjoy each movement better as you feel the sensation working through your body.

2. Keep yourself open to un-overpowering challenges that can help you reach your most advantageous level but know when to rest. This will be your best route to becoming more positive in many aspects of your fitness path.

3. See that you never miss a session by setting a specific schedule that you can diligently follow. After all, you are working to benefit your body and mind and that this will lead to a more disciplined you.

4. Work out with someone who can inspire you to push on so that you too in turn can become an inspiration to others who could be your loved ones or somebody close to you.

I agree that there are some yoga exercises that may not be as intense where calorie burn is concerned. All the same, this less-strain, work-at-your-own-intensity training can help you lose weight and that is a proven fact.

Below is a free yoga workout!  For more yoga workouts, go to:  http://workoutsondemand.com/workouts_yoga.htm

Should I Exercise When I’m Sick?

Most of the time, I actually enjoy exercise.  It may not always be a all-out, hard workout – but I like the fact that I am healthy enough to move! It is something I look forward to, knowing that I am on my sure way to becoming healthier, fitter and better able to enjoy life, my friends and 80364f0ffc15375e0f455274107aa7c6my loved ones. But what happens when suddenly that comforting routine is intercepted by cough & cold or flu? Is it okay to continue exercising then?

Personally, I carry on if I don’t feel too sick and it’s just a minor sniffle that I am dealing with. But I am not saying you do the same without…

• Determining what is making you feel unwell.
• Assessing how badly you feel; is it too much that you really don’t feel like doing it. What does you energy level tell you?
• Checking if you are running a fever. Is it high grade or low grade?

You can give working out a try if what you feel is something that is not so worrisome to keep you from doing so. May I suggest though that you adjust the intensity, duration and load of your training? But in the presence of a fever that is over 100°F, please refrain from exercising because your body temperature may only go higher and that could be bad.

More suggestions:

1. Check where your body aches. If the signs of being sick are limited from your neck up, then it is okay to do some exercises. However, if the indication of being sick involves the whole body, rest is a better option.

2. If you really must work out given that you are able to assess your limit, try walking instead of running just for the time being. You can also opt to do low-impact exercises like yoga or Pilates.

3. If exercising in a gym and you are with a cold, make sure you practice enough care and concern so that it does not spread to others present in the area.

I can understand the tendency to feel bad when you can’t exercise for whatever reason. It is common among athletes and gym buffs. And while it’s true that regular exercise can help boost our immune system so that we don’t get sick but hey, we’re only human. I, too, get sick once in a while and when it happens, I do what I can and simply don’t when I cannot.

Eating For Energy

What do you think, could I drive my car, at least out the driveway, with an empty tank of gas? How far will my car go without gas? Do I hear you say, “Uh-uh, not possible!” Well I’d say it’s the same when you feel too tired to exercise, when you don’t have enough fuel in you to feel energized and stay on the track for your regular workout sessions. You need fuel to exercise, just like you need fuel to drive your car.

You see, what you eat is key in a good day. Food is energy, and choosing the best foods is the easiest way you can get more out of your day. Your dietskinny-ted is an important part that can help keep you on your toes whether you are simply going for a short walk, a quick run or doing household chores.
So, how do you eat for energy?

Go for the basics of energizing diet.

Vitamins and minerals are good as they convert nutrients to energy-boosting fuel but not enough to keep you energized. I advise you learn the art of mixing carbohydrates and proteins with healthy fats but still, just the right amount. Too much will only make you lethargic. An energizing diet consists of ideal amount of healthy fats, complex carbohydrates and protein – the basics of healthy diet.

Eat small frequent meals and energy-providing foods.

I feel way better when I eat small but healthful meals than letting myself starve and eat a large meal. The benefit of it is that I am more energized from morning to night and still wake up the next morning with much vigor. Try it and see the difference. On top of that, include the following in the list of your energy-providing foods. They are rich in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, complex carbohydrates, protein and more: tomatoes, spinach, beans, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, whole grains, nuts, oatmeal, soy, salmon, mango, strawberries, blueberries, low-fat dairy and drink your fair share of tea regularly.

Don’t skip meals but time them right.

Just because you know that eating the right kind of food will give you energy means you can eat at any given time of the day. While you are not supposed to go on an empty tank, you still have to time your food intake right. Maintain a regular eating time even if that is small frequent meals to let your body adjust and know when to expect the next meal. I couldn’t reiterate enough how crucial that is in weight loss where muscle tissue maintenance while burning calories is important.

In whatever we do, food and water help fuel our efforts thus I take food as part of my workout equipment and you should too. Stay energized with the right kind of food and I am sure to see you all at the finish line looking gorgeously fit and healthy.

Managing Your Weight During the Holidays

There is something about the holidays that I feel so glad about. It is as if I am back to being a child enjoying the different colored lights, the chill in the air, the shop-till-you-drop mode that everybody seems to be into and oh the food, glorious food! Don’t get me wrong. I am not Unknown22saying you can cheat on your fitness journey and simply let the unwanted pounds set in just because it is the holidays.

So what I am really saying? That with careful planning and enough discipline, you can welcome December with so much gusto and not necessarily spend January regretting it all. Here’s how you can manage it:

  1. Stay active

I should tell you now that you are not to entirely blame the food. The holidays can keep you really busy that you tend to neglect your regular workout routine. So by all means, stay active, not necessarily in the gym. For instance, use the stairs to go from floor to floor while shopping in the mall.

  1. Stick to your healthy diet

Yes the holidays would mean a lot of food but I’m sure there is always a healthier option offered. Shy away as much as you can from foods that are too sweet or laden with so much fat. You may sample a small amount but be sure to fill up with more fruits and vegetables so that you are not tempted to try more of the unhealthy offer.

  1. Attend parties but come half-full

This was one of the smartest things I have proven to work when I can’t say no to a party invitation. I never attend on an empty stomach therefore I am able to stay in control of what I consume.

  1. Drink right

If you think that it is only the food you need to watch, I must remind you that even a tumbler of gourmet coffee topped with high-calorie whipped cream could be detrimental to weight control. What I’m saying is avoid liquid calories ladies.

  1. Do your best to exercise despite the frenzy

As long as you can exercise even in small bursts will contribute in keeping the pounds away. If a straight 30-minute workout is not possible, try a short 15-minute exercise in the morning upon rising and another 15-minute routine in the afternoon or between breaks. Whatever it takes just so you can squeeze it in.

6.  Be realistic…and cut yourself some slack!

Lastly, it’s ok to enjoy yourself over the holidays, to indulge on some of your favorite foods, and even to miss a few workouts.  Other times, you can modify your workout, and simply do a short ab workout, or a walk around the block, or maybe a short pilates exercise video.  Just stay active, and choose your desserts and treats wisely.  Below is a free Pilates workout, and it’s only ten minutes long…you can do that!  For more workout videos like this, go to: http://workoutsondemand.com

Exercise For Seniors

If I get to live up to 80 years, I probably would still be doing exercises. At least the ones that I still can because I would like to stay healthy, active and independent and I am sure you feel the same. Old age may mean depending on others as one becomes frail but hey, I would want to continue doing basic activities such as walking, eating, bathing, getting in and out of bed, etc. on my own. Wouldn’t it be nice if we can do all these independently?

With structured exercise program, it is possible for older folks to engage in physical exercises. It would certainly make a big difference in the quality of their life and the time to get started is as young as possible but don’t start giving me a frown if you believe you are way past the age.
You are never too old to start so long as you are physically and mentally able. Taking up age-appropriate workouts offers the following according to the type of exercise:

  1. Increased breathing and heart rate – for folks who are still fit enough to do endurance exercises like brisk walking and biking.
  1. Stronger muscles – strength exercises are the best source such as resistance bands or lifting suitable weights.
  1. Stability – balancing exercises will help prevent falls that could result to bone damages.
  1. Flexibility – stretching the muscles will help make you more flexible and give you more agility.

Below are some light exercises I can recommend to myself when I get to that certain age and I believe you can benefit from them too.

Walking – an endurance exercise that is ideal for all ages. Easy on the joints and yes, on the pockets too because all that you will need is practically a good pair of walking shoes and you’re good to go.

Pilates or Yoga…or Both!  Besides the fact that Pilates and Yoga strengthens and stretches the muscles, they also enhance balance, peace of mind and a sense of well being.

Swimming – even when I was a little girl and to this day, I find this very relaxing and I can just imagine how it can make those tight joints cooperate better as your whole body is conditioned by the water. It also makes a good routine against bone loss for post-menopausal women.

While into this activity, you might want to take it a notch higher by doing some water aerobics, a good cardiovascular and full body workout.

Lightweight lifting – who says that when you’re old you can no longer build your muscles? Try this and see how it can make you feel better that you would certainly feel more confident about increasing the weight slowly in time.

Gardening – I love seeing grandpa and grandma tend the garden together because not only do they make a sight to behold with lovely blooms around them, I know they are doing their body a great tuning up. Give it a try and soon you’ll be happily reciting Mistress Mary quite contrary…

Other fun activities that the senior citizens can enjoy doing include yoga, tai chi and golf. These are also relaxing and allow them the chance to socialize with people their age. You see aging is something we might as well do with such grace and better health. Don’t you think?