Be fit and in shape with great workouts, fitness tips, and yoga!

Five Amazing, Non-Physical Ways Kids Benefit from Dance

Is there anything more freeing than dancing? Throwing your head back and letting loose as your favorite tunes play, grooving to the beat, and leaving your inhibitions at the wayside feels great at any age, but kids are some of dance's greatest enthusiasm. They're quick to get up and shake their booty to the radio or their musical toys, and the older they get, the more that natural fondness is likely to be channeled into productive benefits.   The time has come to celebrate both the beauty and benefits of dance, as 29 April marks both the birthday of modern ballet creator Jean-Georges Noverre and the International Theatre Institute's International Dance Day. Now in its 39th year, the annual festival would typically be marked with a high-class gala featuring speakers and dance performances, but due to pandemic restrictions, this year's performances will stream online.   Ready to learn more about the surprising non-physical ways kids benefit from dance?   Dance can increase self-discipline: One assessment of teen and young adult women attending dance education regularly revealed that 92% of participants felt that their attendance had led to an improvement in their self-discipline. [1] Dance can alleviate anxiety: In a review of 14 controlled studies on dance as a recreational activity for children and young adults, it was determined that dancing has the ability to mitigate feelings of anxiety and contribute to a greater sense of psychosocial wellness. [2] Dance can improve behavior in preschoolers: An assessment of preschool-aged participants in an eight-week dance and creative movement education program determined that children who participated showed noteworthy behavioral improvements compared to those who did not participate. [3] Dance can encourage cognitive development: One meta-analysis reviewing research and studies performed on the therapeutic applications of dance determined that participating in dance within school curriculum is capable of facilitating cognitive development for children. [4] Dance can improve standardized test scores: When the extracurricular behavior of a large, ethnically diverse cluster of students was tracked from their preschool years until eighth grade, higher standardized test scores were noted in those who had participated in dance education opportunities during their middle school years. [5]   To watch this year's International Dance Day speakers and performers, head over to the ITI website. If you happen to miss the festivities, they'll be posted on the website after the fact, so it won't be too late to have a watch.

2021-07-09T17:18:07-07:00By |

4 Proven Practices to Give You a Perky Butt

As we get older, it seems body parts start to change location a bit. What once was tight and toned is now sagging down into another zip code. I say with no shame that my perky butt was once one of my best aspects (of course, my brain and my personality are up there as well ). However, I noticed a few years back that my bum was sort of melting down into the top of my legs. Well, I refused to go out like that and began my quest to put things back to where they once belonged. I hope these tips will give you back your perky butt like it did with me!   Donkey Kicks             While training your legs does improve your butt, there are several exercises that are specifically meant to focus on your backside. Donkey kicks is one of these exercises! Kneel down to all fours and alternately kick out your legs up and behind you. It trains your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus; the three muscles that make up your buttocks. The first couple of times you perform donkey kicks, you are going to be sore the next day. I’m just warning you now. But this is good news as you are training muscles that have not been worked for quite some time. Your butt is making a comeback!   Glute Bridge             I’ve seen men perform these in the gym and always felt a bit uncomfortable. But once I realized they were training their backside, I got on the floor and joined them. A glute bridge appears almost like a pelvic thrust. You lay down with your back on the floor and your legs bent and then thrust your hips upward and then back down to the floor. Hold the pose at the top of the rep for a few seconds and you will get better results. Repeat it for a few sets and you will get back that butt you had as a teenager.   Kang Squat             You may have never heard of this exercise or even seen it since it is not the most common one. The kang squat is a bodyweight squat with a couple extras thrown into it to give you a better butt. This is a go-to move though for those in the know about how to get their butt looking tight.   Planks             Planks are known for being an exercise that trains your core, but it also works your glutes. If you doubt this, simply watch someone hold the plank for a minute or two. You will be able to see their butt physically tighten up as the time goes on.   No Need for a Special Trip to the Gym             All four of these exercises can be performed in the [...]

2021-05-26T13:18:01-07:00By |

Is Walking All the Exercise You Need?

With all the fitness apps out there currently tracking how many steps you walk every day; this leads to an interesting question. While walking is a good low-intensity cardio exercise, is it all the exercise you truly need? I guess it depends on your own personal fitness goals. Most of us start slowly getting back into exercising after a lay off with walking. I was no different. After spending a few years busier with work and Netflix than exercise, I decided to get off the couch and get back into action. I was a walking machine. But I noticed there were a few things missing from my workouts.   Not a Full Body Workout             I was losing weight by walking and watching my diet, but it definitely was gradual. Plus, walking is low-intensity cardio that only really incorporates lower body movement. Sure, you can pump your arms and keep them bent at 90-degree angles as they recommend, but there was no true full-body workout happening through walking. I did end up with some nice and toned legs, but I wanted more.   Walking Is Not a True Strength Training Exercise             As we age, our muscle mass starts to decrease. On average, it shrinks 3 to 8 percent every decade after the age of 30. For many people, it seems to decrease a lot more. Nowadays, people seem to be getting older before their time. It probably has something to do with at least 40 percent of the adult population being clinically obese.   In any case, if you are solely walking, you are not going to retain much of your muscle mass. However, if you include strength training into your exercise routine, you can keep those muscles right where they are. Why is that a good thing? Muscle burns calories even while resting. Furthermore, it keeps your back from showing poor posture, keeps shoulders from sagging, and generally just enables you to lead a higher quality of life.   But, on the Other Hand, Walking Is…             Make no mistake, I am not downplaying what a perfect exercise walking is for most people. After all, it is a way to lose weight without needing much more than a pair of shoes. There is very little chance of getting injured from walking as it is low intensity. Walking also improves a person’s mood and can help with digestion (I sometimes still go for a walk after a meal). And it is a great way to catch up with a friend either on the phone or walking with them in person and burn calories at the same time.   Look at the Goals You Want to Accomplish             It all comes down to what your goals are on whether or not walking is going to be all the exercise you need. If you are interested [...]

2021-05-27T16:05:30-07:00By |

Walking vs. Running: Which Is Better for You?

I must admit, I was never much of a dedicated runner up until a few years back. Even now, I would classify myself as more of a jogger than a full marathon running competitor. Still, I have been on both sides of the fence throughout the years. Is walking better for you than running or does the intensity of running trounce the benefits of walking?   Both Burn Fat             Whether it is running or walking, both will burn calories and fat in the process. Plus, you don’t need anything special for either exercise. Just a pair of running shoes and you are out the door.   Both Produce Healthier Hearts and Stronger Bones             Exercise produces stronger bones and we all definitely need this as we age. Our bone density decreases as we get older and exercise will help prevent this. So, the next time you fall and are able to bounce back up without injury, you can thank your exercise routine.   As far as healthier hearts, a 2013 study that consisted of nearly 50,000 people showed that runners had a 4.5 percent lower chance of having cardiovascular disease than those who did not exercise regularly. However, the walkers in the study who used the same amount of energy daily and burned the same number of calories as the runners had an even lower chance (9 percent less) of having cardiovascular disease than those who were inactive.   Running Burns More Calories             If you are looking for the most bang for your buck, running will have you burning more calories than if you were walking for that same amount of time. The movement and intensity are just higher with running and produce better fat-burning effects. In fact, you will probably burn twice as many calories running for half an hour as you will with walking for half an hour. Still, if you are concerned about burning calories, you can always walk twice as long and balance it all out.   Though Sometimes Low Intensity Is Exactly What You Need             Walking is great for those interested in easing their way back into exercising. Plus, for those that are entering their golden years and have limited mobility, walking is much safer than trying to run down the street or on a bumpy sidewalk.   It is well known that running produces more injuries than walking and this happens for a variety of reasons. Your muscles and tendons could be getting strained, muscle pulls happen more frequently, and it just is more physically demanding so knees and hips can become extra inflamed and sore.   The Bottom Line Is Both Are Benefiting You               Whether you are walking or running for exercise, there are only winners and no losers. The important thing is you are up and moving [...]

2021-05-27T16:16:31-07:00By |

4 Great Benefits to Weekend Workouts

Many people tend to use the excuse that they can’t find time to work out during the week because of a busy work schedule. In addition, some say the need for family time makes it impossible to get away an hour here or there a couple of nights a week. We all get it. We all live busy lives and our most precious commodity many times are the waking hours during the day. However, with obesity rates spiraling out of control for adults with nearly 40 percent of the population in the United States being clinically obese, we all need to find some time somewhere to exercise. Heart disease is the number one killer around the globe, and it is brought on most frequently from overeating and a lack of exercise. If you don’t start making time now to work out consistently, you are possibly robbing yourself of years from your life in the long run. I started noticing that I was putting on a few extra pounds back in the day. But I did what others do. I ignored it at first. A few pounds are not much. Still, after I put on a few more pounds on top of this, I knew I had to get back into shape. My weekdays and nights were pretty jam-packed, but I was able to make time on the weekends to get my workouts completed. Before long, I was back on track!   Same Health Benefits While Only Working Out Two Days a Week             The weekend is usually when we have a little extra time on our hands. Fitness experts state that a person needs 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of high-intensity exercise during the week to achieve the health benefits all of us would like. If you are solely a weekend warrior that can exercise only on the weekends, you can get this workout time completed by splitting it up into half on Saturday and half on Sunday.   Do Two Full-Body Workouts             Full-body workouts enable the person to train all the major muscle groups in the body during one exercise session. Chest, legs, arms, core, and everything in between can be trained appropriately. By doing one of these workouts on Saturday and one on Sunday, you are still able to maximize each training session.   Can Get Others Involved             Most people’s schedules are flexible at least a bit during the weekend. Rather than tackle these workouts on your own, make it a social thing and include your friends and family. With a little bit of planning, everyone can figure out a time to take part in the workouts.   Make It a Whole Day Activity Session           Rather than spend time in a gym for your workout, go out and hike for the day. Perhaps you have been wanting to [...]

2021-05-25T16:53:35-07:00By |

8 Amazing Benefits of Using an Under Desk Exercise Bike

Most of us are always running a tight schedule which means it is tough to assort time for exercise. This doesn’t mean that exercising isn’t that important it is but we have to find some other convenient way to include the workout in our hectic schedule. This is where the under desk exercise bike finds its purpose. This little piece of equipment has been around us for quite some time, however many of us are still oblivious when it comes to its usefulness. It’s time to shed some light on this workout equipment hence we have compiled a list of 8 amazing benefits of using an under desk exercise bike. There are as follows:   1. Doesn’t compromise your schedule.  Suppose you are in the office working and you decide to work out without hindering your work. In such situations having an under the desk, the bike comes in handy. So all you are required to do is find the best under desk bike and have it set-up under your desk.   2. Assist you in losing that extra weight.  This depends on your workout intensity (and your bodyweight). Based on one estimate you can burn more than 600 calories an hour with the help of a stationary bike. All you need to remember is that you need to burn more calories than you gain on a daily basis.   3. Boosts cardio fitness.  One of the best ways to get your heart going is through cycling. Be it any aerobic (cardiovascular) workouts like cycling, for instance, it strengthens your cardiac muscles, lungs, and muscles by improving the blood and oxygen circulation in the body. Some noted benefits include: Normalizes the blood pressure level. Promotes sleep. Enhances your immune system. Decreases your stress levels.   4. Toughens your lower limb muscles. If you want to make your lower body strong then you have to ride a stationary bike. This pedaling action strengthens your hamstrings, quadriceps, and calves. Besides pedaling can also work on your core, back, and buttock muscles. Your under-desk bike lacks handles, which means only your lower body will get worked out.   5. Eliminates body fat.  A study conducted in 2010 found that a combination of indoor cycling and a low-calorie diet was very effective in losing body weight and body fat. Along with this, it was also effective in reducing cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Note: The participants of that study cycled 45 minutes for 3 times a week while their diet included 1200 calories/day for 12 week.   6. Offers a low-impact workout. One of the sure advantages of using a stationary bike like this is that you don’t have to exert too much pressure. So by using smooth movements you can strengthen your joints and bones with complete ease. Making it ideal for those folks who have joint issues or suffering from injuries of sorts. The thing is when you are running, jogging, or doing other high-impact aerobic workouts your knees, hips, [...]

2021-03-22T15:24:06-07:00By |

Does Medicare Cover Gym Memberships?

Original Medicare covers inpatient and outpatient medical care, as well as some preventive care services. However, gym memberships and fitness programs aren’t part of that coverage. Optional Medicare plans like Medicare Advantage and Medigap, on the other hand, may offer coverage for fitness services. Let’s take a look at how to get your fitness costs covered under these plans, as well as the healthy lifestyle benefits that original Medicare will cover.   Will Medicare pay for my gym membership? Original Medicare is made up of two parts: Part A covers inpatient hospital services and Part B covers outpatient medical care and some preventive services. While it might seem like fitness programs could fall under preventive care, Part B coverage is limited to programs that support physical health for medical conditions. These programs include: occupational therapy physical therapy speech therapy cardiac rehabilitation chiropractic care durable medical equipment Without a medical diagnosis that requires some type of physical therapy or rehabilitation, you’ll need to pay the full cost of fitness center or gym memberships out of pocket if you have only original Medicare. You can opt into optional Medicare plans, such as Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) or Medicare supplement insurance (Medigap). These plans may cover fitness center and gym fees. Coverage varies by plan type, location, and how much you’re willing to pay for your plan.   How do I get a gym membership through my Medicare Advantage plan? Medicare Advantage (Part C) is a type of optional plan offered by private insurance companies. These plans are required to cover at least as much as original Medicare covers in terms of inpatient, outpatient, and preventive care services. Most plans also offer additional services beyond original Medicare. The extra benefits each plan offers depends on: the insurance provider your location the services you choose to include in your plan how much you can pay for coverage   What is SilverSneakers? SilverSneakers is a fitness program designed for adults ages 65 and older. While this program isn’t covered under original Medicare, many Medicare Advantage plans include SilverSneakers or other fitness programs in their coverage. The SilverSneakers program offers more than just gym memberships. There are a number of in-person programs across the country, as well as online programs and services. These benefits include: Wide availability. With this program, you can use more than 17,000 participating fitness centers across the country. Find out what facilities in your area participate by clicking here. Tailored fitness classes. Classes are specifically designed for older adults and tailored for every fitness level. They include chair exercises, water exercise, yoga, tai chi, circuit training, and weight training. SilverSneakers FLEX classes. These classes offer fitness programs outside of the traditional gym. SilverSneakers supports physical health through alternative methods like walking programs, community center classes, park programs, and more. Learn about the FLEX program by clicking here. Online resources. Members have access to an online library of fitness resources, nutrition information, and on-demand classes and workout videos. For a more interactive experience from home, SilverSneakers also offers live online classes. SilverSneakers app. An [...]

2021-03-18T14:53:13-07:00By |

4 Anti-Aging Benefits that Come with Strength Training

There are many ways to slow down the aging process. Many choose to go the “easy” route with expensive plastic surgeries, cosmetic procedures, and fad diets. However, establishing a strength training routine into your daily life will not only have you looking younger, but feeling younger as well. Here are four benefits to strength training that should open your eyes and have you feeling like heading back to the gym soon!   Keep Muscle Mass             Muscle is tough to come by. It does not just happen overnight. And the muscle mass you currently have developed over the years will gradually go away as you age unless you do something about it. I made a commitment to strength training a few years back as I noticed how older people will lose their size and actually appear to shrivel up as they age. I don’t want that. I want to retain my quality of life up until my number is called! In addition, research has shown that not only will strength training keep you physically active, but will improve your cognitive abilities as well!   Avoid Injuries             As we enter our golden years, injuries can tend to pile up. A small tumble outside could lead to several months on the shelf or worse. People just become more fragile as we age. However, with strength training, we can avoid these injuries. Hitting the weights, either through dumbbells, barbells, or cable machines, can help you avoid osteoporosis and other ailments. Strength training will keep the bone density you currently have or make it stronger, so injuries do not have to be part of your life as you age.   Improve Your Appearance       Here is the great thing about those interested in improving their body as they age: Muscle burns fat even while resting. Those extra pounds that seem to accumulate in certain parts of our body as we age do not have to be accepted. By sticking to a strength training routine, your body can look better at 50 or 60 than it did at 40 years of age. Many people spend a lot of money on clothes that they believe make them appear in shape, but hitting the gym and getting the real thing instead is priceless.   Better Cardiovascular Health               Heart disease is the number one killer around the globe. It does not care about your age, race, or sex. It is devastating and can strike instantly. Because of this, it makes sense that you should want to improve your cardiovascular health if you want to live longer. Strength training can improve your good cholesterol, reduce your bad cholesterol, and according to recent studies, is even better for your heart than a cardio workout. You want a strong heart? Get strong muscles!   Don’t Go Overboard             Strength training does [...]

2021-05-26T13:09:17-07:00By |

5 Proven Practices to Give You Firm Legs

There are four problem areas that most women have trouble with, and I am no different. These areas of the body are the back of the arms (triceps), the tummy, the butt, and the legs. Other than that, aren’t we all perfect??   I noticed my legs were not looking their best about ten years ago. When we were young, everything came so easy physically. But now, not only do we have to work hard to keep ourselves in good shape, but we have to work smart. I asked a few certified fitness trainers about things I could do to strengthen my legs and definitely make them more tone. I came away with five great answers and have been doing these things consistently for the last six years. And when summer comes around, because of my commitment, I can feel proud in my shorts (smile).   Can’t Out-Train a Bad Diet             Health and fitness is 80 percent of what you eat and 20 percent of your daily physical exercise. If your diet is not on point, don’t expect to be able to magically shrink your legs and have them appear slimmer or firmer. If you have tried every diet under the sun and still have weight to lose, say goodbye to diets and go with a lifestyle change instead. Intermittent fasting, refraining from eating for periods of 12 to 16 hours a day, will not only have you lose weight, fat, and inches, but it is good for your cognitive abilities and for a healthy heart.   Bodyweight Squats                 If you want your legs to appear firm, but not thick enough to make it seem like you can walk with a pickup truck on your back, do bodyweight squats. Your body weight is enough to give your legs a great workout. Plus, bodyweight squats can be performed at home, in the gym, or even while you are taking your lunch break. No special equipment is needed!   Lunges             Just like with squats, lunges are a full leg workout. And again, no special equipment is needed. Simply find the biggest room in your house and see how many times you can walk back and forth while doing lunges. Once you establish a number, try beating that number every day. You will get firmer legs and you will be burning serious calories.   Calf Raises                 Calf raises will not just make your calves more noticeable, but they will give you stronger ankles in the long run. You can do these easily on your steps outside your house once a day and should see the difference in a couple of weeks!   Tan Your Legs           Another secret to make legs look great, if you plan on showcasing them, is to use a bronzer or “fake [...]

2021-05-26T17:37:39-07:00By |

5 Great Health Reasons Why You Should Use a Sauna

There was a time when saunas were only found in the fanciest of gyms and health clubs. But now, they are more prevalent in other businesses as well such as the spa, anti-aging clinics, and salons. In fact, it is not uncommon at all to see private residents have their own sauna nowadays in their homes.   There are two main types of saunas to choose from. Infrared saunas are more home-friendly than dry heat saunas, but on the other hand, dry heat saunas can usually get up to a much higher temperature. It all depends on your preference. In an infrared sauna, the body is warmed up by electromagnetic radiation. Dry saunas raise the temperature through a heavy-duty heater. Adding a dry sauna to your home could cost about $5,000. An infrared sauna can be purchased for around $1,000.   We had our own infrared sauna built into the house about a year ago, but there are portable models you can add to your extra bedroom that don’t require any venting and simply plug right into a normal outlet without any special wiring needed! I have used my infrared sauna consistently three or four times a week ever since I got it because of the benefits associated with using an infrared sauna listed below.   Release Stress and Lift Mood             There is nothing better than getting my sauna up to about 120 to 140 degrees and relaxing in there for 20 minutes. All the stresses of the day melt away as I read my book or lay down and listen to music. Sauna use also helps with depression because it massively improves mood. If you ever have insomnia, use the sauna right before going to bed and you will sleep like a baby.   Clearer and Younger Looking Skin           Dermatologists know how well a sauna can improve the appearance of your skin. Once the temperature gets hot enough, the pores open up and the sweating detoxifies the skin by removing the impurities. This will restore the glow to your skin and reduce future breakouts. Plus, the extra circulation as your blood starts to pump away will make your skin look much younger and healthier as the nutrients are being delivered more efficiently.   Reduce Inflammation             Inflammation in the body can bring on serious soreness and pain. There have been studies conducted on both animals and humans that show both types of saunas can reduce inflammation and restore mobility to those suffering from occasional pain to even chronic pain like arthritis. There is a reason why professional athletes will sweat away in a sauna after a tough workout. It relieves the soreness associated with hard work. Being able to combat pain without the use of medication is definitely a positive.   Lose Weight             There is a differing of opinions when you read [...]

2021-06-07T12:51:35-07:00By |

5 Proven Practices to Give You a Flat Tummy

It happens as we age. Back when we were teenagers, we could eat whatever we wanted and still have a flat tummy. This may stay true even into our twenties for many. But then cruel, cruel fate has its way to catch up to us. All of a sudden, those cookies we eat before bed or the chips that we sometimes munch on while watching tv start affecting our waistline seemingly overnight. It’s like a switch has been flipped and our metabolism isn’t what it used to be.   But that is alright. Because we can either change with the times and still keep our flat tummy or admit defeat and wear sweatpants for the rest of our lives. And while sweatpants come in all types of styles and colors nowadays, I didn’t want them to be 90 percent of my wardrobe. I decided to look into what could give me that slim stomach that I have always desired. I made these changes and am more than pleased with the results. I hope they help you as well!   Water, Water, and More Water             I know it is generic as it focuses on a one-size-fits-all model, but for women, our daily caloric intake should be no more than 2,000 calories. For men, it is closer to 2,500 calories a day. This does not take height into account so be sure to adjust accordingly when figuring out how many calories you can take in a day and still have a flat stomach. In any case, switching over to drinking water with all of my meals made a huge difference in my body fat percentage. Too many people drink sodas and other high calories drinks every day. This is just one of the main reasons why nearly 40 percent of people are obese in this country. Water has zero calories and will keep you feeling full longer, so you do not have to eat as much. So, drink up and include several glasses of water with all of your meals!   Exercise Consistently             While it is true that abs are made in the kitchen, exercising does not hurt either. Exercise burns calories and fat. Besides regular cardio exercises like walking and running, there are also numerous great core exercises you can choose from and do on a consistent basis without the need for any special equipment. For instance, planking and leg raises will strengthen your abs and obliques so once you get your body fat percentage down low enough, you will be the envy of all of your friends with your chiseled tummy.   Commit to Intermittent Fasting             Intermittent fasting is not to be confused with a diet as you can still eat your normal foods. It is a lifestyle change. With intermittent fasting, you refrain from eating and drinking (most beverages) usually anywhere from 12 to 20 hours [...]

2021-05-26T17:04:41-07:00By |

How to Finally Become a Runner

I remember the day very well. The truth is I always had thought about becoming a runner, but just never made the commitment to it through high school, college, or even my twenties. However, I knew once I had committed to purchasing my first real pair of running shoes that I was going to give this a go.   Why the Need to Become a Runner I always admired runners as they challenged themselves physically and mentally to go that extra mile. Plus, being able to get a good workout while clearing your mind and running out in the country is something that really appealed to me.   Plan Ahead of Time             The great thing about becoming a runner is that it really does not cost anything except your time. I spent $50 on running shoes and have enough fitness clothes to run in so I definitely didn’t need to go out and get more. I also use my phone to supply the tunes as I sweat on down the road and have an assortment of headphones to choose from. When I started running, I did a couple of miles twice a week only on sunny days. Now I try to run every other day, regardless of rain or shine, for a few miles each time. And it may sound silly, but I actually get excited about planning the course that I am running each time out. It is like a little private adventure as I explore side roads that I have never been on before.   The Benefits Associated with Running               I had noticed that I had a few extra pounds accumulating in areas of my body that I was not happy about. Why is it that the extra weight always goes to the wrong places? Anyway, the American Council on Exercise has created a chart on how many calories different exercises burn, and at the top of the list of most effective calorie-burning exercises is running. It will definitely get you the most bang for your buck! Heart disease is the number one killer across the globe. Running can decrease blood pressure and reduce bad cholesterol as well. Looking good on the outside as well as the inside is something to strive for. Bone density also decreases as we get older. This makes us more susceptible to injury. As an example, my great aunt is getting up there in age and she took a slight fall a couple of months ago. It didn’t look serious, but she broke a bone. Running can build stronger bones so when you get to the age of my aunt, a little tumble will not have you on the shelf for months. Exercise, in general, will improve your mood. But there is something about being outside in nature and working up a sweat while running that seems to be the best therapy one can experience. [...]

2021-05-27T15:52:26-07:00By |

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