The Health Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is now known across the world, mostly for the extreme health benefits that it brings to the table. It doesn’t matter what age you are or your fitness level; anyone can benefit from Pilates. It is estimated that over 20 million people around the world take a Pilates class or do Pilates exercises in some form or another. This exercise regime is said to give people many physical and mental benefits.

Get Thrive Yoga Pants
Get Thrive Yoga Pants

Makes You More Flexible

Stretching overtime and using the “Reformer” on a regular basis not only extends your range of motion, but it makes you more flexible as well. This will eventually make your body feel looser and give it the ability to do exercises and activities that you never could before. Becoming more flexible will also help you achieve other physical improvements, such as reducing back pain.

Can Improve Your Breathing

When you are in a Pilates class, careful attention is paid to your breathing patterns. Proper breathing also helps with your blood circulation, which will make you feel fresh, energized, and happy even long after the Pilates class ends.

Deep breathing gives your body a better supply of oxygen, an elemental part of almost all chemical reactions that take place in your body. Oxygen gives you energy. Exhaling rids carbon dioxide, or waste, from your body. Therefore, deep breathing is a great way to cleanse!

Helps to Improve Posture

No matter what you are doing when going about your everyday life, taking Pilates reminds you that you need to pull your stomach in, pull your shoulders back and maintain the good posture that makes it possible to be fit and live healthily.

Not only does perfecting your posture make you look better, but it can also help alleviate shoulder tension and upper back pain. The focus on posture in your Pilates class will change the way you carry yourself outside of class as well.

Ergonomic High-Back Chair
Ergonomic High-Back
Chair

Helps to Build Better Balance and Core Strength

Using a Pilates ball or a Reformer utilizes physical coordination and also helps to build balance. Balance exercises also strengthen core muscles. This is where structuring good posture comes in.

“Active awareness” of your core muscles while performing Pilates balancing exercises helps you maintain your posture. And, because the core contains and controls your diaphragm, this can also improve the deep breathing we discussed earlier.

Overall: Makes Your Body More Efficient

Pilates is the type of exercise that tones your body, improves your breathing and posture, and makes you more flexible. In other words, Pilates allows your body to be more efficient every time you take a class.

Pilates is sweeping the nation and can help you become a better you. Try a class—you’ve got everything to gain!

 

Hiking, Hello? 15 Things Good and Bad You Need to Know

Hello. Hiking is a great form of exercise for your body and mind. But, it also has its pitfalls (pun intended). Don’t be scared. You can master your workout on safe ground, no problem.  With a few tips, you can conquer your fears along with your highest peaks!

Ain’t No Mountain High Enough…

First off, as far as hiking goes, let’s agree that it doesn’t have to happen in the mountains. Hiking encompasses brisk walking and sometimes up and down hills. It usually includes a trail and it is always done outside. Hiking is a form of exercise that allows you to convene with nature and de-stress while working tons of muscles.

Let’s Exercise the Good and the Bad

1) You can maintain or lose weight. An hour-long hike, depending on your speed, the incline, and how much weight’s in your pack, you can burn between 350 and 550 calories. A hearty two-hour hike can conceivably consume half of your day’s caloric intake.

2) You can be out of shape and hike. You can start anytime. Just begin slowly and choose level paths.

3) There’s no competition; no classes are required, and it’s free. You can do it anywhere. If you’re not in a particularly scenic area, it’s suggested to imagine a beautiful place you’ve seen before or in a picture.

Keep on Hiking!

4) Hiking uses muscles in almost every part of your body. It’s especially toning for your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and core. Your calves will start shaping up quickly as will your triceps if you use trekking poles.

5) Hiking improves your cardiovascular fitness. Your heart rate rises, and you can break a good sweat. But, don’t forget your water! Bring plenty of H2O, but also bring a filter in a case you get in sticky (dry) situation.

6) Hikers have a lower risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, and high cholesterol than those who do not exercise.

7) Hiking is a weight-bearing exercise. For women, this is especially important because it maintains bone density. (Or, at least slows down the loss of mass.)

Up, Up, Up, We Go!

8) Hiking improves your core strength. This, in turn, improves your sense of balance.

9) Hiking stimulates the release of endorphins. You feel good during and after.

10) Going on a hike with a group allows for some great social time (especially if you stop for a snack in the middle.)

11) You shouldn’t go hiking alone. If you insist on going solo, make sure you tell someone exactly where you’re going. Bring regular supplies, but especially a whistle.

12) It can be too hot. You can burn or dehydrate. Choose morning hikes. Always bring a lot of water. Wear and bring sunscreen as well as a hat like Columbia Sportswear Bora Bora Booney II Sun Hats.


It can also be too cold. Wear layers of clothing. Make sure there’s good tread on your shoes in case of ice. It can also rain. Pack a poncho and prepare for slippery mud.

Keep On Climbing!

13)  If you hike in higher altitude than you’re used to, you can get sick. You may feel nauseas, lightheaded, and dehydrated. Drink water and rest.

You may feel nauseous, lightheaded, and dehydrated. Drink and rest. Drinking water— and having a hydration backpack and/or bladder will help a camel-ton.

You’re Just Near the End!!!!

14) You can slip and fall. Always be aware of your surroundings and the conditions. Carry a small first aid kit for minor injuries and also for blisters. Have a cell phone, map, and a GPS (or app.)

15) You might run into a snake, bear, mountain lion, or poison oak. Know what kind of creatures and plants are on your trail. Carry a deterrent and also learn how to discourage a real confrontation.

With that said, hopefully, you are not scared off from taking a hike. As you can see, the benefits are significantly higher. Hiking can keep the body in shape, but it can also fulfill the soul. It’s truly a light form of exercise—one that almost seems effortless! (Until you get to that big rocky hill. But don’t think about it.) Just enjoy…

The Truth Behind Why You Don’t Exercise

The truth about why you’re not sticking to your exercise program is different than what you think.

Exercise Excuses, Excuses

You made a plan to get in shape. You have a schedule and a routine set up. But, you don’t stick to it. Why not? Are you feeling tired, sick, overwhelmed? Or is the truth glaring at you, and you don’t want to admit it? That’s right. The honest reason why you’re not exercising is because you are choosing to do something else. Yep, right again.

If your Pilates class is at 6pm, but you’re forced to work late, you can’t use that as an excuse. You can exercise afterwards, instead of going home and perusing social media. Your choice. If your alarm rings at 5am so you can get to the gym and you turn it off, what gives? You miss the workout because you chose to sleep.

There is no judgment here. Your choices are your own and sometimes the best ones for your body. Missing a day of exercise is not the end of the world. Claiming that other things get in the way of your workouts may be true, but they’re not excuses. They are choices.

Getting to the Core

You’re choosing other activities—besides exercising—for particular reasons. Look within and figure out why something else on your list is trumping that walk around the lake like you planned. Does the other thing seem easier? More fun? Whatever the reason, in your mind, the other choice seems more appealing.

Take Action

You know that exercise benefits us in a multitude of ways. You’ve already made a deal with yourself to partake more often, even steadily. So now follow through and keep your promise to your body and yourself. Here are some tools you can use to get back on track…

1) Remind yourself how good you feel after a workout.

2) Set up a healthy reward for yourself after you exercise. This could be leisure time watching a show, treating yourself to a low-sugar dessert, or putting a dollar in your “workout jar” to save for a rainy-day purchase.

3) Find friends or an online group that supports you and your exercise program. Most everyone experiences the same angst, and we need the village.

4) Remind yourself that exercise is positive. Get your mindset into the groove that working out is awesome. Forget complaining. “I love to exercise” should be your mantra.

5) Hold yourself accountable. Be your own parent without rebelling. Remind yourself that you made a great deal and that sticking to it will reap great rewards!

No doubt it’s a challenge to stay on the exercise path. Sure enough, before long, your program will become a habit—and an amazingly positive one at that. Just remember, your health is really all you have, and exercising is essential to maintaining that.  Onward!

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