Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Do You Sit Too Much?

New research results keep confirming what we have suspected all along – sitting is bad for us. But just how bad?

Even if you regularly exercise when not sitting behind your desk, the amount of sitting most of us do still significantly raises your risk for diabetes, heart disease (including strokes and heart attacks), obesity and even certain types of cancer. For every two hours of sitting, you raise your risk of colon cancer by 8 percent, endometrial cancer by 10 percent, and lung cancer by 6 percent.

Diabetes

English: idealized curves of human blood gluco...
Idealized curves of human blood glucose and insulin concentrations during the course of a day containing three meals. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Mayo Clinic did a study of how sitting affects blood sugar spiking and what they found was amazing. If the study participants went back to sitting after a meal, or ate while sitting at their desk, their blood sugar peaked and stayed there for two hours. However, if the same participants took a 15-minute walk at just 1 mph after eating, their blood sugar peaks were cut in half. Of course your risk for developing diabetes increases if you consistently have high blood sugar.

Heart Disease

When we sit, we are not burning as many calories as we would if we were up and moving around. So it takes longer for our bodies to burn off the calories we ate at lunch. This keeps the blood sugar higher for a longer period of time. And high blood sugar in effect causes tiny tears on the inside of veins and arteries – prime places for plaque to start accumulating and eventually cause heart disease. In the American Heart Journal article Circulation: Heart Failure, it documented men who sat for more than 5 hours per day increased their risk of heart disease by 34% verses men who only sat 2 hours per day.

Obesity

It is a well-documented fact that if you consume more calories than you burn, you will gain weight as the body stores the extra calories it doesn’t need at the time. It is a natural defense mechanism so that we have fat stores to draw upon in case of lean times.

By sitting, we are not burning off the calories we had for lunch and any snacks eaten during the day. The extra calories increase your weight which starts to cause other health problems, including diabetes. In a way it becomes the “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” dilemma. Did diabetes cause your obesity or did your obesity cause diabetes?

Standing treadmill desk.
How To Reduce Your Risk

There are several things you can do to lessen your risk of health issues due to sitting. First, get up and move around - as much as possible. That can mean walking over to a colleague’s desk instead of sending an email. Frequently get up and get a glass of water from the water cooler or a cup of coffee from the break room or cafeteria. Do a short series of stretches or yoga poses in your cubicle every hour or so.

Next, take a short 15-minute walk outside after lunch. Not only will it lower your blood sugar, but it will clear your head and reduce stress.

Finally get at least 2 ½ hours of moderate to high-intensity cardio exercise per week (preferably in short 20-30 minute segments) along with muscle-strengthening workouts twice per week. (We post a short workout video every week, so be sure to check back here each Thursday for a new, fun weekly workout!) While exercise won’t completely offset the effects of prolonged sitting, it will help.

Lastly, if you have a say in your office d├ęcor, consider getting a standing desk. Your body will thank you for it.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Video: 10-Minute Office Yoga Routine

This short sequence of yoga stretches is great to do during a break in your workday, to help relieve stress and tension, loosen tight muscles, and increase flexibility in your back, shoulders, and hips - all areas that can tend to get tight during long hours sitting at a desk.

The only equipment you will need is a chair, and it only takes 10 minutes. If you don't have that long, do it in 5 minute segments a couple of times during the day to feel great and help you stay stress (and pain) free.



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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Benefits of Yoga for Businesses & Professionals

Yoga has long been regarded as one of the best forms of relaxation, and many more people are realizing the benefits of regular yoga sessions to reduce stress levels in their lives.

Some businesses have even included yoga as a benefit to their employees, as they have seen increased productivity and more contentment within the workforce as a result. Many employers have become aware of the fact that in addition to reducing stress, regular practice of yoga can also improve the healthy of their employees, and reduce sick time.

Cardiac yoga sample exercise
Yoga stretch. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Overall, it can be a good business decision to encourage yoga in the workplace, as it pays dividends in the long term.

Yoga has increased in popularity as well among business professionals who lead a fast-paced and stressful life, as many have found that regular sessions of yoga help to reduce their stress considerably, and make them more productive.

Yoga is also a very convenient form of exercise and relaxation as it can be performed almost anywhere without the need for special equipment.

A suitable chair in a carpeted office offers a business person may need to improve their health and mind at any time during the day when the opportunity arises.There are few forms of exercise and relaxation that offer such convenient benefits.

Yoga can also help to relieve the aches and pains that can accompany hours of sitting at a desk and working on a computer.

Neck and back pain are common with office workers, as well factory workers who perform repetitive work throughout the day, and research has found that short breaks during the day where basic yoga exercises are performed, can relieve pain, reduce fatigue and increase safety in the workplace due to the improvements in these areas.

Yoga is beneficial to people of all ages and all levels of fitness. Even people who have never exercised before are able to start yoga and see results very quickly. It's a great way to help you stay healthy and fit, no matter where you work.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Video: Beginner Yoga: 10-Minute Basic Breathing Routine

This is a really nice, relaxing, short yoga session that is great for beginners, or just those who need to relieve stress and gain more relaxation. It's also a great little routine to do right before bed to help you relax and prepare for sleep.

Grab a mat and get ready to stretch, relax, and gently tone your body as you flow with the breath through this simple yoga routine.

Basic Breathing | Beginner Yoga With Tara Stiles
Follow us on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=livestrongwoman Here's a basic routine to help focus on breathing, which is a vital...


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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Simple Yoga Breathing Exercise

Regular practice of yoga can help you to approach life in a less stressed manner, and in doing so, you will get more out of life. You may find you are able to achieve more each day and still feel more energized at the end of the day.

One of the most important things that you will learn from yoga is the correct manner of breathing. Most of us breathe too shallowly, and this can lead to stress and tension. It is only with correct breathing that you will teach your mind and your body to gravitate towards a more natural state of relaxation.

You will be able to bring about a peaceful and relaxed state more easily and that in turn will help you to cope with stressful situations.

The deep breathing techniques that are taught in yoga can lower stress and bring more calm in your life, while at the same time energizing you. Many people feel that they need some form of stimulation to get energized, but yoga will show them that this can be far from the truth. Yoga gives you long-lasting energy that is not influenced by hyper activity or nervousness.

You can practice the basic yoga breathing techniques wherever you like - even while sitting at your office desk.

Just follow this simple technique to quickly lower your stress levels and feel calmer and more relaxed:

1. Sit up straight in your chair with your feet flat on the floor. Rest your hands on top of your thighs and begin to relax, slowly closing your eyes.

2. Now begin to think about the various parts of your body, starting with your feet and working your way up. Relax each part one at a time as you feel your muscles become soft and relaxed, releasing all the tension that is being held there.

3. Feel your lungs filling with breath, expanding and contracting in a relaxed manner. Allow your breath to go deep into your belly, expanding your diaphram naturally. Don't 'push' your breathing. Just maintain a relaxed breath in and out. With each outwards breath expel the tension that is being held in your body. Set it free and breathe in the next breath of relaxed energy.

This will come more naturally the more often you do it, and you will find that you can get into a relaxed state faster each time. It used to take me several minutes to relax when I started a yoga session, but now I can relax within seconds of starting the yoga breath technique. The energy that you get from this exercise will carry over further into each day of your life, until you find it easier to be relaxed in nearly all situations.

Try it now and see how you feel, and then make this a regular practice in your daily life to reap the benefits of yoga just by breathing!


Thursday, March 12, 2015

Video: 30-Minute Beginners Yoga for Relaxation & Stress Relief

This relaxing yoga session helps balance your energy and relieve anxiety, stress, and insomnia, and is great to do before bed or at the end of a long day.

Whether you have a stressful daily life (and really, who doesn't?) or you have trouble sleeping, or you just want to relax or relieve anxiety before an important event, this 30-minute yoga sequence will help you breathe more deeply, sleep better, and bring relaxation your body and mind.

These gentle stretches also improve flexibility, and are great for those who may be new to yoga, as well as those who simply need to relax after a busy day.

All you need is a yoga mat, and perhaps a towel or small folded blanket.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Breathing & Relaxation Helps Athletes & Public Speakers

One of the benefits that most people find when they begin doing yoga is they learn to breathe correctly in a manner that can bring about a calmness and total relaxation almost instantly. I know this is a benefit that I have found that I was not expecting! Learning to breathe took a while, but it is an amazing benefit that most people don't think about when they begin a yoga practice.

The more yoga you do, provided you are getting good instruction, the better you will become at this and it will help you to remain calm in situations where you would have previously felt stressed.

Public speaking is one of the greatest fears that most people have and many public speaking courses combine relaxation methods into their training as this helps to eliminate or at least control the fear that can overcome people when expected to speak in front of strangers. By remaining calm and in control, the fear of speaking will generally subside and the reality of the situation will be a lot easier to accept and control.

Simply breathing correctly will induce a feeling of calm that will often be sufficient to help a person through a public speaking engagement with ease.

It has been noted that those people who perform yoga exercises on a regular basis are calmer and can control explosive or unsettling situations better than those who have not used any form of relaxation or stress relieving techniques.

Yoga has also helped many professional athletes to perform at their best by eliminating the tension and anxiety that they feel before sporting events. In all sports, optimum performance requires that you remain as relaxed as possible at all times, and yoga is just the ticket for helping you to achieve that state of mind and body.

Click Here for More Information on Yoga for Athletes...

Once again correct breathing techniques will help to calm the mind and the body and help the sportsperson to focus on their event in a relaxed manner and achieve optimum results.

The additional benefit of a more strong and supple body also goes a long way in the prevention of injuries for athletes.


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Video: 30-Minute Vinyasa Flow Yoga Workout

This is a beginner/intermediate yoga workout which will introduce you to the aspects of Vinyasa - or flow - yoga. Vinyasa yoga focuses more on flowing movements and breathing, and less on static poses than traditional Hatha yoga.

This workout will get you breathing and moving through a 30-minute series of flowing poses, while stretching and strengthening your entire body. You will not need any equipment except for a folded blanket or yoga mat.

This workout already includes a gentle warm up, so let's just grab a mat and flow!

Total Body Yoga Workout With Tim Senesi
Total Body Yoga Workout Vinyasa Flow I wanted to introduce you to a fellow yoga teacher Tim Senesi.



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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

What Are the Different Types of Yoga?

When getting started with yoga, it's a good idea to explore the different types, and what they can do for you. There are several different types of yoga and you really need to choose the one that you believe will give you the most benefits for what you are trying to achieve.

However, don't worry too much about picking the "right" type, as all forms of yoga will add benefit no matter which one you choose because the various types of yoga will always focus on creating calm and balance in the mind and body, while helping to increase strength, flexibility and overall fitness at the same time.

A yoga class.
A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
What many people regard as the most extreme form of yoga is Bikram yoga (sometimes known as "hot yoga) where the routines are performed in heated rooms where the temperature is set at 95 degrees or more. However, for some people this can add stress to their exercises and for that reason there are some people who believe that performing under those conditions is detrimental to your health.

People who use the Bikram yoga on a regular basis believe that the increased temperatures help to relax and cleanse your body and in doing so give you more benefits over the standard forms of yoga.

The more common form of yoga that you will find in most fitness centers throughout the country is Hatha Yoga. This is probably the best form of yoga for you to choose if you haven't done any form of this exercise in the past as it will teach you all the basic types of poses that will also be applicable to various other forms of yoga if you intend to move into those other areas at a later date.

Hatha yoga is excellent for people who haven't done much exercise previously and for elderly people as all the movements are slow and relaxing and will assist in helping you to gain more flexibility without too much concern of injury.

One step up from Hatha Yoga is Vinyasa yoga which is performed at a faster pace and focuses a lot on breathing during the movements. The stretches that are involved in Vinyasa yoga are more advanced than those in Hatha and are possibly not quite as suitable for a beginner.

There are many other variations of yoga apart from these that I just mentioned but they all have the same philosophy of getting the mind and body to work as one to bring about balance in your life. We will explore some of these, as well as tips for getting the most out of your yoga practice, in the next few weeks, so be sure to stay tuned!