November 2013 Archives

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Yoga For Computer Users: Releases Lower Back Pain

Twenty percent of all those who undergo surgery for lower back pain will get no relief. The remaining 80 percent will have problems ranging from mild to severe. All will have trouble with spinal flexion.
Yoga does not offer cures. It simply promises that if you faithfully practice these asanas every day, there will be no pain and you will build up a strong and supple spine, restructuring posture and body image. Once you have back problems you must remain conscious all through the day of how you stand, sit and lie down. Here are a few guidelines:
Always sleep on a firm (not necessarily hard) bed, with a flat pillow under your head and a thicker one under your knees. This will help the spine to reposition and adjust itself.
Do not wear high heels as this promotes lumbar lordosis and throws the spine out of balance.
Do not go in for break-dancing, strenuous aerobics, jogging, running or anything where you need to bounce or jiggle. Guarded activity is the key here.
For lower back pain, sitting is the most painful. Sit on a firm seat, not squashy cushions, and sit on your buttock bones. Do not loll back on the tailbone or lower spine. Wedge a rolled towel or small cushion behind your back to keep you upright. Sit as often as possible in The Diamond Posture (Figure 1) in order to benefit the sciatic nerve and to cure a convex or a lateral curvature of the spine.
When the pain is acute and you can neither sit nor stand in comfort, rest in bed, take whatever anti-inflammatory or analgesic medications your physician prescribes, and wait until the pain is milder before starting on these postures.
All these asanas have healing and curative properties. They will act as a form of mild traction, gently stretching the spinal muscles in safe extension postures. Strength will be gradually built up in the paraspinal muscles and buttocks, abdominal organs will be toned and strengthened, and pressure points all along the spine will be stimulated. Practice each asana to the point where mild pain is felt.

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Basic Sitting Postures With Benefits

JANU SIRSASANA: Correct foot placement

Sit up straight with legs evenly extended in front. Bend the right leg at the knee and place the foot so that the heel is in the right groin and the front of the foot touches the left thigh. Turn the foot so that the bottom of the foot is facing upward and press the knee back to form an obtuse angle with the body. This position will be difficult at first; don’t force it. Put a folded blanket under the knee and also under the hips. Gradually the knee will move farther back. Just keep the foot correctly positioned.


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JANU SIRSASANA: Correct, perfect posture

Having positioned the foot and knee correctly, stretch the left leg out, keeping the leg firmly on the mat. Settle the heel firmly and stretch the toes up. (The heel should pull gently away from the ankle.) Now inhale and bend forward over the straight leg, catching the foot with both hands if possible. Beginners should bend only as far as they can without rounding the back. When this posture is done correctly and completely, the body will roll forward over the extended leg, absolutely flat from the tail bone to the head. Stay there breathing normally for as long as you can. Inhale, release the handhold, come up smoothly, straighten the bent leg and relax. Repeat on other side.

JANU SIRSASANA: Wrong posture

The heel is not positioned against its own thigh. The knee has not been pushed back as far as possible to form an obtuse angle. The back is humped and curved because the pelvis is jammed and unable to lift properly. Instead of a smooth, complete stretching of the spine, the lumbar is over-stretched and the rest of the spine constricted. The left leg is not flat on the floor.

TRIANG MUKHAIPADA PASCHIMOTTANASANA: Sitting, forward-bending pose over one leg

This posture generally follows the previous one. Sit with your legs stretched in front. Bend the right leg so that the right foot is near the right hip. The toes should point back. The right calf presses against the right thigh. The body will tilt in this position so put a small folded towel under the left buttock to keep the hips level and the forward stretch even and extended. Hold the left foot with both hands, inhale and bend forward, keeping both knees together as you stretch forward over the straight leg. Many students will find it difficult in this position to even take hold of the foot of the outstretched leg. Do not despair. Just hold the knee, shin or ankle, and sit, breathing deeply, in whichever position represents your best extension. If the back is tight and the spine inflexible, this will take time. Release the hold and straighten the bent leg. Repeat on the other side.

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Yoga For Modern City Life: Most Urbanites Start With A Class

The best place to start is with a class, where a teacher can show you how to adapt poses using props and help you learn proper technique for the postures.

The good news is that yoga classes have never been more widely available. You’ll find them at small studios, health clubs and gyms. The hard part is finding a class that’s just right for you. Studios that are dedicated to yoga also foster a more dedicated practice. The same students return to class week after week, and instructors usually follow a particular discipline of yoga. Some classes are aimed at beginners.

Whether you consider a studio or health club classes, here are some tips to find qualified instructors and classes that suit your needs:


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Define your goals. Do you have chronic back pain or other physical limitations. An Iyengar-based class, with its emphasis on proper form and use of props, would be ideal. Looking to improve concentration and reduce stress. Consider a class that incorporates meditation. Seeking a challenging workout. Try an ashtanga class.

Ask about the instructor’s background. There is no national certification program for yoga yet, although some disciplines have their own rigorous teaching certification programs. You want an instructor who has been practicing and teaching for a long time.

Check out the space. Look for rooms that are spacious and well ventilated. Plenty of props sticky mats, straps, foam bricks, blankets and bolsters are a good sign, too. Ideally, yoga rooms are quiet, but that may not be the case in a gym setting where students have to contend with loud music and clanking weight machines.

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Are Martial Arts Good For Fitness?

One of the biggest challenges of finding a fitness regimen that will work for you is picking something that you can stick to. Usually, people find it easier to stick to a workout plan if they choose a physical activity that they enjoy. Martial arts can be a good choice, because they are entertaining and help you to learn a practical skill while you improve your physical fitness.

Choosing a Marital Arts School

There are many different kinds of martial arts school, from karate and taekwondo schools that are suitable for the whole family to enjoy, to Brazilian Ju Jitsu schools and boxing schools aimed at adults looking for a more serious form of self defence. Before you commit to a particular school, think about your goals. Are you hopping to simply boost your fitness levels, or do you want to learn a competitive skill. Is self defence one of your goals? What about sport? Your answers will determine the kind of school which is best for you.

Assessing A Schools’ Training

Whether you are looking for a self defence focused school, or a fitness focused school, you should assess the way that the school trains with a critical eye. The key word here is “aliveness”. The best way to improve your skills, and to get fit, is t train with intensity against a resisting opponent. If a school focuses exclusively on compliant drills, where one person stands still while the other person tests a move, you may learn a lot of different moves, in theory, but you won’t get a good workout, and you won’t learn how to do the moves under pressure. Training which is “alive” offers exercise, and helps to train your muscle memory.


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How Much Do Martial Arts Cost

Martial arts training should not cost a lot of money, at least not if you train only once a week. If you want to train more often than that, then you can expect to pay a monthly fee, which should be comparable to a gym membership. Considering that you are joining a martial arts class in order to get fit, you can probably get rid of your gym membership and put that money towards your training. If you find it hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym then it makes sense to spend that money more wisely elsewhere.

Taking up a martial art, or any other sport, is a great investment. Not only will you make new friends and learn new skills, you will improve your fitness at the same time. Studying a martial art gives you a goal to work towards in the form of belts, cords, or whatever grading system your new art uses. Having a goal to aim for helps you to stay motivated, and gives you something to focus on when times get tough. If you are lucky enough to have a talent for your new art, you may even be able to compete in it and earn trophies too.

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Fitness: Steps To Running Miles

A healthy body is a very important thing to maintain, especially as we get older. But sadly the state of the world just doesn’t show that as a priority. So many of us just sit around on our couches and waste away into blobs of nothingness in front of our TV sets our or computers. Sometimes we don’t move more than a handful of yards on our days off and we seem to think it’s okay. But the truth is that it’s terrible for us, and our bodies know it. They moan and groan with pain, stressing under the weight of our bodies as we get more and more out of shape.

But the good news is, that no matter how overweight or out of shape you may be, it is never too late to start a quality fitness routine and start working towards the healthy body that you know you deserve to have! “But internet!” You may shout “Running is hard, I can’t just get up and do it!”

Well, you’re right. If you’re out of shape, the last thing you should do is step outside your door and start running a marathon. This will overstress your body and your heart, and could even lead to serious health complications or death. What you should do, however, is get up off the couch and start working towards making the change that will allow you to run miles in no time at all.


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Tip: Grow your own garden. People are shocked at how much work gardening really is.

The first step is quite literally getting off your couch. Baby steps are still steps, and they should be taken with pride. Start off with the little things that you can change in your every day life. Instead of bringing your food to the table all on one plate, put smaller portions on smaller plates, and carry them back and forth one at a time. The effect isn’t huge, but it will get you more used to moving around more often. Not to mention, with smaller plates and portions, you will allow yourself to eat a little less and perhaps even a little healthier.

If you have a job where you sit around all day, get up and move around every time you can. Walk around your desk a few times, and try taking the stairs instead of the elevator. If you work on a high floor, ride the elevator up two floors below yours and walk the rest of the way.

Eventually, your body will start to feel a little better, and you can move on to walking around the block. After a few weeks, you can change it to a slow jog. From there on out you pretty much get the idea.

The journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step after all, and that one step is right in front of you now. Stand up, shut off the TV, and start doing something to conquer the fitness world and become the healthy you that you know your body deserves to have.

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Fitness And Diet Tips

Using these simple fitness and diet tips will help you to not only lose weight and look terrific but your energy levels will soar . . .

” Need sugar? – Some people do get late night sugar cravings, its how they deal with those cravings which matter the most. Instead of reaching for the chocolate think “fruit” – fruit is packed with sugar and can satisfy even the sweetest tooth. Sliced apple with nut butter is a much better option than a chunk of chocolate cake and its guilt free.

” Fitness buddies – help you to keep motivated and make fitness fun. You’ve got to choose your fitness buddy carefully, it must be someone who will encourage and inspire you rather than nip off at the earliest opportunity. That special someone must be of a similar fitness level to you, be available to meet up regularly for your exercise sessions and be supportive. Does it sound like anyone you know?


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Tip: Get toned triceps by performing modified push-ups. Rather than doing regular push-ups, you can spot-tone the triceps by rotating your hands inward 45 degrees; your fingertips should be facing those of the opposite hand.

” If you’ve put yourself through a particularly grueling exercise session you may be in need of a cold bath – seriously! Many top flight athletes use this trick as a method of reducing their soreness after a vigorous training session. Alternatively you could opt for a nice soothing massage which probably sounds more appealing.

” Wear comfortable shoes – your sneakers should be comfortable from the very moment you slip them on your feet. It’s always the best idea to buy sneakers and shoes in the evenings because feet do swell during the day so it’s important to buy them when you’re feet are at their maximum. Make sure that there’s plenty of room for toe wiggling.

” Music is a great stimulator so make sure that you’ve got some inspirational tunes on your iPod next time you hit the gym or go for a run. Some people like to choose “pumping” music to really get them going, others prefer to work out to more relaxing symphony style music when they are chasing their fitness goals.

Tip: If so, consider another option. Biking is another alternative you can try.

” Don’t skip breakfast – this is a big mistake which many people make who are trying to lose weight and improve their fitness levels. You must eat a healthy breakfast to give you energy for the rest of the day and to kick start your metabolism.

” Make sure that you’re well hydrated at all times – both before, during and after your fitness sessions. Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

” Have fun with your food. Healthy eating plays an important part of your fitness program but that doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Boring food gets boring and increases the chances of giving in to temptation. Add plenty of fresh herbs, spices and lemons to your cooking for lots of fat free, guilt free flavor.

Tip: Goals are very important when you are developing a strength training routine. If you want your muscles to look bigger, you should schedule less strength training reps.

” Be realistic with your goals. If you start from scratch and vow to run 10K by the following weekend you’re doomed to fail and nothing puts you off faster than failure. Small, achievable goals are the way to go and reach your fitness goals.

Follow these diet and fitness tips and you’ll soon be feeling healthy, fit and energized.

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