Entries by bodywise

The Six Essential Pilates Principles

For many, these six principles are the foundation of the Pilates approach to exercise. Their application to the Pilates method of exercise is part of what makes it unique in the fitness world. Joseph Pilates originally called his work “contrology.” He considered this to be a body/mind/spirit approach to movement founded on the integrative effect of principles such as centering, concentration, control, precision, breath, and flow. Whether one is working out on a mat or using Pilates equipment, like the reformer or cadillac, these basic principles infuse each exercise with intention and fullness of expression.

Sitting is Bad for Your Brain — Not Just Your Metabolism or Heart

Sitting too much is linked to changes in a section of the brain that is critical for memory, according to a preliminary study by UCLA researchers of middle-aged and older adults.

Studies show that too much sitting, like smoking, increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and premature death. Researchers at UCLA wanted to see how sedentary behavior influences brain health, especially regions of the brain that are critical to memory formation.

How Busy Working Parents Can Make Time for Mindfulness

It seems everywhere you look these days someone is touting the benefits of mindfulness — a practice that Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, describes simply as “paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.” Research shows that people who practice mindfulness are less stressed, more focused and better able to regulate their emotions.

But, if you’re a busy working parent, how do you build mindfulness into an already-packed day? Those of us with kids and jobs often feel tired and rushed. We’re constantly multi-tasking, juggling personal and professional responsibilities, and feeling stressed about all we can’t get done. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, 56 percent of working parents say they find it difficult to balance their time between work and family. Though I now counsel others on how to break this cycle, I can certainly relate to it.

5 Ways Pilates Can Help Your Brain

If you think of Pilates as exercise for your physical core — that prime stretch of real estate between your rib cage and your pelvis — you are not wrong. But there are reasons to think these popular workouts might do some good for your mental core, as well.

For the uninitiated, Pilates is a fitness program intended to build strength and flexibility, using a set of 500 carefully controlled, precise movements first developed by Joseph Pilates nearly a century ago. The exercises can be performed on mats or specialized equipment, including the Reformer, a contraption that looks like a narrow bed equipped with springs, pulleys and a sliding base. Pilates first caught on with professional dancers but now is taught in gyms and studios for the masses.

Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle

Being a couch potato. Not exercising. A sedentary or inactive lifestyle. You have probably heard of all of these phrases, and they mean the same thing: a lifestyle with a lot of sitting and lying down, with very little to no exercise.

In the United States and around the world, people are spending more and more time doing sedentary activities. During our leisure time, we are often sitting: while using a computer or other device, watching TV, or playing video games. Many of our jobs have become more sedentary, with long days sitting at a desk. And the way most of us get around involves sitting – in cars, on buses, and on trains.

How to Choose the Best Bike for You

With the warm weather just around the corner, the urge to hop on a bike and go for a long ride can be pretty strong. “Riding a bike is fun because you can see the scenery go by,” says Alice Burron, MS, an exercise physiologist in Cheyenne, Wyo., spokeswoman for the American Council on Exercise, and author of Four Weeks to Fabulous. “You can do it with friends. You can do it alone. You can ride in the mountains. You can ride in the city. It’s very versatile and it’s a great exercise for a change of pace.”

Biking is great for calorie burn. You can burn roughly 200 calories an hour on a leisurely bike ride; 450 to 600 calories if you’re biking at a good clip. “The harder you pedal, the steeper the hills, the more calories you’ll burn,” Burron says. “I love biking because not only is it a great aerobic exercise, it’s very easy on the joints. It’s one of my favorite activities for people with knee injuries.”

But wait! Before you can go, you need to invest in a good bike. Here’s how.

The Brain Has A Negativity Bias. Here’s How To Be Happy Anyway

Let’s conduct an experiment: Take a moment to think back over your day; which experiences stand out for you?

For most of us, it’s the negative ones. Enjoyable, useful experiences—like smiling at a friend, finishing a task, or learning something new—typically happen many times a day, but they usually wash through the brain like water through a sieve, barely leaving a trace. Meanwhile, our stressful, often harmful experiences—like getting stuck in traffic and being late for a meeting, feeling brushed aside by a friend or misunderstood by a partner, or ruminating about worries or resentments—routinely produce lasting changes in neural structure or function.
This is your brain’s negativity bias in action, which makes it like Velcro for bad experiences and Teflon for good ones. This built-in bias is no one’s fault. It’s the result of the 600-million-year evolution of the nervous system.

A Lifetime of Regular Exercise Slows Down Aging, Study Finds

Researchers at the University of Birmingham and King’s College London have found that staying active keeps the body young and healthy.

The researchers set out to assess the health of older adults who had exercised most of their adult lives to see if this could slow down ageing.

The study recruited 125 amateur cyclists aged 55 to 79, 84 of which were male and 41 were female. The men had to be able to cycle 100 km in under 6.5 hours, while the women had to be able to cycle 60 km in 5.5 hours. Smokers, heavy drinkers and those with high blood pressure or other health conditions were excluded from the study.