Benefits of exercise and meditation include reduced blood pressure and heart rate, decreased risk for diabetes and obesity, improved circulation and balancing.  There are four popular forms of fitness: yoga, Pilates®, aerobic and anaerobic activity that can rescue you from health risks and improve you mental well being. We have all the details listed below for each fitness activity:

Yoga

Mental, physical and spiritual, Yoga employs mindful exercise that includes postures referred to as asanas.  This ancient practice originated in ancient India and has been around over 5,000 years.    It is one of the six orthodox schools of philosophical traditions

Yoga includes deep breathing, stretching and mediation.  In additions to burning calories and toning muscle; yoga is known to help with conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and Parkinson's disease.  There are over 100 different forms of Yoga which may make it difficult to decide where to begin.  The good news is that yoga is a low impact series of movements that is ideal for those with arthritis or have other restrictions that limit mobility.

Yoga is not an aerobic activity, but various forms may cause you to sweat.  It will strengthen core, legs, arms, back and glutes with routine and regular practice.  Some of the most common poses and movements include: downward facing dog, warrior pose, child's pose and yoga squats and bridges.  Instructors recommend 30-90 minute sessions, 3-5 times per week to achieve the best results. 

Common forms of Yoga

Hatha - combines basic movements with breathing 

Vinyasa - a series of movements that flow into each other

Power - a faster, high intensity form that is meant to build muscle

Hot Yoga or Bikram - yoga made up of 26 difficult poses performed in a hot and humid environment to induce profuse sweating

Ashtanga - a series of poses combined with special breathing techniques

Iyengar - use of blocks, straps and chairs to properly align and manipulate your body into proper alignment

Pilates

Pilates® is a physical workout system designed in the early 20th century by Joseph Pilates.  It was originally called Contrology® but was later named Pilates® after it's originator.  It is practiced worldwide and specifically popular in western countries.  They include the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.  As of 2005 there were over 11 million people practicing and 14,000 instructors.

This practice is especially good to boost flexibility and improve joint mobility.  It is also known to improve posture and strengthen core, arms, legs and back.  It is a low-impact work-out system that has a recommended class time of 30-45 minute per session, 3x's a week to get the best results.  Since it is a non-aerobic activity, it is best to continue cardio exercise in addition to a work-out like Pilates®. 

It can be done at the gym or at home.  While some gyms provide a Pilates® machine called the reformer, the only necessary equipment for basic Pilates® is a mat.  The system is designed to meet the needs from beginners to the more advanced.  Common stretching exercise movements includes the 100, crisscross, elephant and the swan.

Aerobic Activity

Aerobic refers to the need for oxygen to meet energy demands while exercising by way of aerobic metabolism.  In-other-words, your doing an exercise that has you warm, breaking a sweat and slightly out of breath.  It is sometimes referred to as "cardio".  You should be able to carry on a conversation, but your heart will be pumping faster and your breathing will be more rapid.  It is the primary fat burning activity and an excellent way to improve circulation and maintain cardiovascular health.

Common forms of activity to induce aerobic benefits are walking, swimming, dancing, Zumba®, jogging, rowing and biking.  It is recommended healthy adults do 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobics over a 3-5 day time period or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity over a 3 day time period.

Anaerobic Activity

Anaerobic activity is the absence of or going without oxygen.  The exercise usually is an intense, short lasting activity that demands more oxygen and therefor relies on energy from muscle stores, such as phosphocreatine and glycogen.   This results in lactic acid fermentation.   Unlike aerobic activity, anaerobic activity does not use oxygen to produce energy.  It is best to add anaerobic activity after you have already been participating in a cardiovascular workout.

Anaerobic activity such as weight training, sprinting, interval training or jumping rope is meant to build muscle and endurance, instead of burn fat as in aerobic activity. Interval training incorporates both aerobic and anaerobic activity together and is a very common workout to add high-intensity muscle building activities to your current cardio routine.  It is recommended based on your goals and workout level to do 1-4 days of interval training per week.  Other anaerobic activity such as body building should be done approximately 2-3 days per week based on your goals and level.  

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