Complementary Fitness 27 Jan news

I read a recent fitness article in Dr Mercola’s website about the benefits of yoga on brain health saying that “yoga — which is suitable for most people, regardless of age or fitness level — has been shown to support healthy brain function and stave off neurological decline. 

Through modern imaging technology, researchers have been able to objectively confirm that yoga impacts the brain in beneficial ways that translate into improved attention, mental processing speed, executive function and emotional regulation.

Regular yoga practice has also been shown to lower stress, reduce body image dissatisfaction and anxiety and appears to negate the otherwise normal decline in total grey matter volume that occurs with age.  It appears to be the unique combination of physical movement, breath work and meditation that confers these beneficial brain benefits”.

Did you know that..

exercise is now being recommended as a great way of improving wellbeing, as well as treatment for a range of mental health conditions, including depression.  Even 25 minutes a day of moderate-vigorous exercise (150 minutes a week) can cut your risk of depression by 22%, according to a new international study, while scientists in Australia also revealed that ditching your weekly exercise regime leaves you at a greater risk of depressive symptoms, especially if you’re a woman.  Another recent article I read says that working out in a group could reduce stress by 26% which is great to know as we exercise together in our classes.

We’re also encouraged to get out, go for a walk every day coz you’re getting exercise – and sunlight which are both important to our emotional wellbeing.

It’s been a while since I added a new article on the Fitness > Articles page of my website but there’s a new one about ‘5 ways to boost your immune health’ and how to fend off colds and flu which will hopefully help you over the winter and virus season.

You can read more about each tip on the Articles page but we’re advised to:

  1. Stay on top of our vitamin D levels as vit D not only strengthens bones and dampens inflammation but also slays colds
  2. Strengthen your gut: The microbes in your gut not only help your body to digest food, but they also help to regulate your metabolism and immune system.
  3. Eat an inflammatory diet based on whole foods and load up on antioxidant-rich vegetables and fruit to boost your overall health and help protect you from other viruses and infections.
  4. Sleep more: Getting enough sleep is crucial for a cold-free winter and vital for a speedy recovery if you have one
  5. Reach for zinc and vitamin C when you start feeling run down: While vitamin C should be part of your winter regimen, research has shown that zinc (found in fish, poultry, legumes, nuts and seeds) can also help shorten the duration of a cold by a few days.

Have a look at this and other articles at www.complementaryfitness.co.uk/articles

Q: Have you ever wondered why we do so many squats in our classes? 

A: squats are a very functional exercise in every day life eg when we want to get up from sitting in a chair, when we’re gardening or doing housework or picking up the kids/grandkids from the floor. 

Q: So what is a squat?  A: Technically, it’s a vertical displacement of the hips so from a standing position, you’d flex (bend) at hip, knee and ankle joints as if you’re sitting down in an imaginary chair behind you and then return back up to standing.  So that’s the squat where we’re working and strengthen through our lower body and there’s more range of motion and mobility required in those joints in order to be able to perform the squat.

In our Wednesday 9.30am general fitness/resistance training class, when we squat, we can also use different pieces of equipment to add more resistance/weight or we can play around with different speeds of squats or travel (in any plane) with our squat patterns.  We may use hand weights, kettlebells or resistance bands to vary our squats in different planes of motion (front/back, side-side and rotationally).

We can add some explosiveness to our squats too where we’d squat down and instead of standing back up, we could jump back up (feet off the floor) then return to squat and repeat.  More strength can be gained in the legs by performing pulse squats – ie squat down and hold down, pulse down/up in a small range of motion for a count of say 3, 5, 7 etc and return back to stand.

We also perform pause squats in our classes where we can try and get a bit more depth out of our squats and we can do this by squatting down for 2 and up for 2 so pausing ½ way on the way down and up.  This can also be done by squatting down in 3 stages and 1 all the way up – just for variation.

We’ve been doing something different fitness-wise and have started boxing fitness and so far, have been to 3 classes now and both really enjoying it.  We bought boxing gloves and wraps (the Velcro tape that you wrap round your wrists to protect them).  We do a short warm up (mostly jogging on the spot, high knees, kicking up heels behind etc) then go into pairs and do some sparring, then go into groups of 3s and 4s and practice different punches (jabs, crosses, hooks, upper cuts – similar to what we do on a Wed morning but with gloves on!) then split up into 2 teams and while 1 team does a circuit of 12 exercises (using a step, resistance band, press up or tricep dip or go into the boxing ring, use a kettlebell, sit ups etc) the other team work in pairs on the punchbags then the 2 teams change over.  After an hour or so, we all work on the floor doing sit ups and planks.  It’s different and hard work but we love it.  Oh and btw, Norman and I are the oldest there (as you’d imagine) – it’s a mix of 50/50 men and women (aka teenagers) and age average is somewhere around 20-35. 

Are you doing anything different this year on top of your Complementary Fitness classes?  Are you training for a 5 or 10k? or training for the Edinburgh Marathon which is in May?

If so, let me know and “well done”, “keep going, keep on track, stick with it”.

Take care and I look forward to seeing you and catching up with you this week

Susan x

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