Tag - Wellness

Fitness Classes are Key

Fitness Classes are Key

Whether you have been working out consistently for many years or want to start a new physical exercise routine, fitness classes are a great way to mix up your routine or get excited about starting some new habits.

If you have never been in a fitness class and all you have seen is what is featured on movies and television shows – let me dispel some rumors.

First, you will not have a ‘Richard Simmons-like’ instructor who is decked out in bright colored gear making awkward facial expressions. People won’t stare at you if you do a move wrong or talk about you if you are out of shape. You aren’t required to do the entire class at the speed of the instructor – you can go at your own pace and stop when you need. You are allowed to ask questions and alter movements to fit your experience level or fitness level. The classes aren’t filled with professional body builders and models – so, unless you are a professional body builder or model (that’s cool, too) you will be surrounded by people just like you!

With all those out of the way, let’s look at what fitness classes are and why you should seriously consider them.

First, there are many different types of fitness classes. There are dance-style classes such as Zumba and Hip Hop, which do not require you to be a good dancer. These can be very fun and can maybe improve your dance skills, even if just a little. There are also cycling and spin classes that take place on a bicycle, which is mounted into a stand that allow you to pedal in place. Also, there are classes such as yoga, Pilates and Bodypump that use different types of exercise techniques to achieve results in flexibility, strength and quickness.

This is just a small sample of fitness classes offered through gyms or local community centers. There are so many styles of fitness classes to fit a wide range of interests and preferences. Not to mention, if you don’t like a class, you don’t have to attend and can try something else. Maybe you will find two or three classes that you like to attend on a monthly or weekly basis? Additionally, group classes are usually included in your gym fees, which means there is no excuse about an extra charge to participate.

One of the biggest bonuses about fitness classes versus individual workout routines in the team atmosphere and accountability they provide. After a while, you may find that there are a core group of people attending the class daily or weekly, which helps to develop new friendships and people who have similar goals for fitness and wellness as you. They can encourage you to keep working hard for your goals and you can do the same for them.

 

Why else do you think fitness classes are a good option for exercise?

want to be healthy

Want to be healthy? Get your Z’s

If you work long hours or take a Red Eye to save precious work time, you probably look forward to catching up on your sleep over the weekend.

Research increasingly re-confirms that sleep, once lost, is very hard, if not impossible to make up for.

In a recent Penn State study, 30 healthy men and women aged 18 to 34 spent 13 nights in a sleep lab. After 4 nights of a full eight hours, they spent the next 6 nights sleeping only 6 hours. The last 3 nights were 10-hour sleep nights.

The participant’s brain function dropped after the nights of sleep deprivation and did not return to normal until after the third day of 10 hours of sleep, even though they said they felt refreshed after the first night of extra sleep. If you are counting on weekends to catch up on sleep, you are fooling yourself; you are just getting started!

Next time you have the choice to travel early to that meeting or take a Red-Eye, go early and get your sleep. Negative effects of sleep deprivation include decreased problem solving skills, innovative thinking, and alertness. Additionally subjects exhibited inappropriate responses, difficulty controlling their temper, and even showed un-ethical behavior that they normally would not have exhibited. Taking a Red-Eye can easily defeat the trip’s purpose.

Additionally, studies increasingly link chronic sleep deprivation with weight gain as well as an increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. Need more reasons? A recent study in Sweden found that subjects who did not get a full night’s sleep were consistently perceived as less attractive as when they had slept soundly through the night.

To look your best, feel your best, and perform your best, get your sleep.

Gratitude: A Path to Happiness

What is the one quality you wish you had in more abundance? Do you strive to be attractive? Successful? Talented? Famous? Influential? Wealthy? Popular? And no matter what, we want HAPPINESS.

Right? But things and qualities that we achieve (for example wealth or fame) don’t make us happy, at least not for long. Soon after we achieve the goal, get the thing, we want more. It’s never enough. It is a seductive viscous circle: we feel happy…fleetingly…then the next thing comes along. And we want it. Don’t believe it? Take a look at entire multi-billion dollar business: marketing. In 2015 advertisers will spend nearly $600 BILLION dollars worldwide*; dollars spent to make us want stuff; which by the way, undermines happiness, even if you have the means to buy those enticing things.

The single most desirable quality that is the basis for both goodness and happiness is gratitude. Gratitude is the quality of being thankful; ones readiness to show appreciation for and return kindness. Cicero, the Roman philosopher declared that gratitude was the mother of all virtues: it was the indispensible quality that allowed other virtues to be.

Do we need science to confirm the benefits of gratitude? Apparently so, since recently the scientific community has been putting gratitude to the test. The University of California at Berkeley recently announced a $3.1 million research study on the power of gratitude, on the heels of many other recent studies. The USC Brain and Creativity Institute which partners with the USC Shoah Foundation have done extensive studies. Lead researcher Glenn R Fox, PhD found that “when the brain feel gratitude, it activates areas responsible for feelings of reward, moral cognition, subjective value judgments, fairness, economic decision-making and self-reference.”

The collective findings? The practice of gratitude is a mindful practice that forces us to be in the present moment. It improves psychological, emotional, and physical well-being. Practicing gratitude strengthens relationships and makes people have a consciousness of what is going on around them, which in turn increases genuine empathy, kindness, caring, and by being mindful, reduces the tendency to take things for granted.

Practicing gratitude is just that: a practice. It is a habit and as such, when practiced with consistency, becomes a virtue. Once the habit of gratitude is established, the other virtues of happiness and goodness become firmly rooted. The purest virtues of love, kindness, goodness, joy spring from the heart, rather than the temporary happiness that a thing, a situation, or a person can provide.

7 ways to practice gratitude at home

  • Practice gratitude habits. For children to learn to be grateful, they need to see the habit of gratitude practiced by the adults around them.
  • Encourage imagination. Go deeper into the moment. Try new paths, places, foods. This kind of safe adventurism brings wonder and newness to the day.
  • Look at your friends, your children, your co-workers with new eyes. Children change every day; appreciate the wonder of growth and change. Friends and co-workers have events in their lives that impact their day. Walking in someone else’s shoes increases gratitude.
  • Find things to be grateful for. Sometimes things just aren’t all that awesome…and finding a way to flip it so that you can find the good, the thing to be grateful for, can be hard. But it can change everything.
  • You are not going to learn anything by talking about what you already know. Pay attention to those around you. Listen to children. What are the feelings that they are expressing to you: are they happy, sad, frightened, lonely, excited?
  • Express how people make you feel in the moment. Tell children how they make you feel now, rather than what you see that they can achieve in the future; this helps them learn gratitude and mindfulness.
  • To get in the habit of practicing gratitude, try a daily journal. Writing down what we are grateful for forces us to stop, to think, and sometimes to think hard if it means changing perspective.

On the selfish side, here are some things that practicing gratitude can do for you.

  • It makes you proactive. People who are grateful tend to be more proactive about their health, including exercise: they are more consistent.
  • Which not only makes you more aware of your health, but when you are happier, you have a better immune system.
  • You will sleep better. Those who practice gratitude fall asleep faster, and sleep longer.
  • Practicing gratitude helps diminish stress and aggression.
  • Practicing gratitude also helps you deal with traumatic events, emotions become steadier.
  • Practicing gratitude improves relationships. It builds friendships and makes you a better partner. Additionally, it improves social relationships in the community.
  • Gratitude boosts self-esteem. It reduces social comparisons and allows people to appreciate the achievements of others as well as themselves.
  • Practicing gratitude on the job will make you a better manager, improves networking, aids in achieving goals and productivity. It improves your personality overall, which is critical in business and the corporate world.
  • The practice of gratitude makes you smarter. In one study on high school kids, the authors found that “gratitude, controlling for materialism, uniquely predicts all outcomes considered: higher grade point average, life satisfaction, social integration, and absorption, as well as lower envy and depression.”
  • Gratitude is the basis for Goodness and Happiness, making you a better person and a happier person.
  • Gratitude can lengthen your life. Those who are optimistic and happy tend to live longer than those who are not.