From Eva Gonzalez
I am sure you are getting used to hear about Core in all sorts of exercise you are reading or carrying out. Why is it so important ‐ and what is it?
Our core has deeper muscles that include waist muscles, the transverse and rectus abdomens, and are those muscles that run from just below your sternum to your waist: many of these muscles are hidden beneath the exterior musculature people typically train. They make it possible for you to perform every day activities which can be anything such as housework, to daily carry your baby and to sports by helping support your back when you bend over and stand up. They work with other muscles to assist your posture. Core work is therefore incorporated in almost every movement of the human body.
When you feel a strong lower back pain it is the lack of core muscles you feel. With Pilates you work your muscles from the inner side to out and you therefore build your base up this way. Once these muscles are stronger you can move over to more specific exercises for your needs.
There are a few very easy exercises you can start with if you would like to build up your core.
Exercise 1, the plank. If you have not than the plank for a long time, start with 20 seconds per day and build it up until you feel comfortable staying in the correct position the whole time. It can be useful to look at a picture of the position before you get started.
Exercise 2. Lay on your back with your legs straight up. Lift bum and legs straight up towards the roof and do 20 repetitions of this.
By doing these exercises daily you’re kicking off a change towards a stronger core very efficiently.
So, is our Core still going to be the center of our attention? Oh yes.
From Ellen Kocher
Scared of the Scales? No Weigh!
With the warmer weather and bathing suit season lurking, many women are scared to step on the scales. Though Scales are an easy, safe, inexpensive means to measure progress, they can be very motivating for some people but can trigger emotions in others. Let’s ask ourselves some questions and consider some of the pros and cons for using the scales to find out if it’s right for you…
Consider this…the scale can be a trigger….For many, when the number isn’t what they want to see, anger, self-doubt, or judgment sets in, which can lead to giving up on healthy goals, surrendering to emotional eating, and getting stuck.
Ask: Do I associate the number on the scale with my mood, confidence or self-esteem? Does weighing myself make me feel good? Bad? Other? Do I really need a scale to know if I’m on track?
Consider this… the scale does not necessarily tell the true story…When you are eating right and moving your body, it can change the way your clothes fit, body shape, skin quality, energy levels and endurance. The scale may not show those changes. When you weigh in, you’re measuring everything that has weight, including not just body fat, muscle, and bone tissue, but also water from normal weight fluctuations.
Ask: How is my energy? How is my endurance? How do I feel? How do my clothes fit?
Consider this… the same weight can look completely different on each individual …Different people of the same height and weight can each wear different sizes, have different body shapes and have a different body fat percentage. While many people claim that “that muscle weighs more than fat” (a kilo of muscle and a kilo of fat both weigh a kilo), getting rid of a kilo of fat and gaining a kilo of muscle can have a huge impact on how your body looks due to the volume that kilo represents.
Ask: Why do I target a certain weight in the first place? Am I big-boned or small-boned? Do I feel and look toned? How do I feel? When do I feel my best?
Consider 9 other measuring sticks… Remember, the solution to well-being and health lies in raising awareness, taking action and in progress and NOT in obsessing over a number!
- Tight or form fitting clothes. Ask: How do they fit and feel?
- A tape measure since your goal is not necessarily to lose weight but to reduce body fat or change body shape. Ask: What measurements are important to me and why?
- Waist to hip ratio which can indicate susceptibility to a number of health issues.
Ask: What is my ratio calculation? For men, a ratio of .90 or less is usually considered safe while for women, a ratio of .80 or less is considered safe.
- Skin Calliperfor measuring body fat since the higher body fat, the higher the risk of suffering from obesity-related conditions. Ask: Where do I lie on the body fat risk scale?
- Compliments from others. Ask: What have others said recently?
- Other positive changes as a result of a healthier lifestyle such as energy levels, sleep, mood or appetite. Ask: How do I feel? Sleep? Move?
- Doctor’s measures. Ask: How is my blood pressure? Cholesterol? Heart rate?
- Who you see in the mirror. Ask: Who do I really see in that mirror: spirit, soul, body?
- Emotions like self-esteem, confidence and happiness. Ask: How do I feel emotionally? Am I building a positive vocabulary to stay motivated? Am I setting a good example for my family? Am I inspiring Healthy Living?
Finally, if your main goal is weight loss, various research and my personal experience have shown that self-monitoring with a scale (whether daily, weekly or at your own personal pace) can spur people to reach their goals and keep behaviour in check. I usually recommend weekly weigh-ins, but you need to find your rhythm. Recognize how the scale makes you feel and only use it if you’re the kind of person that can handle the ups and downs. I would suggest not getting caught up on the actual number but focusing more on the incremental change in that number and understanding your body. Don’t think of the scale as anything other than a compass, something we use when losing weight to keep us going in the right direction. It’s just a tool, no more and no less.
However, different people are motivated by different things and a one-size fits all solution may not be effective. I suggest that if you do not like the scale, remove it from your world! Don’t give up out of frustration since all healthy behaviours are worth the effort! Start listening to the signs your body gives you and trust that your efforts are paying off. Focus on the journey instead of the result…it’s never too early to start being happy!
From Ellen Kocher
IT’S NOT ABOUT THE BURN, BUT THE BEAUTY!
Why do you think you should be more physically active? Many people think we should “move more to burn more” and this is not always a great motivator for just doing it. Did you ever consider the beauty benefits of stepping up your activity? Check out these 10 …
When we exercise, our heart rate and blood flow increase pushing vitamins, minerals, and oxygen to our skin. The oxygen delivers nutrients that repair damage from the sun and environmental pollutants and revs up collagen production to prevent wrinkles giving us that healthy, youthful glow we desire.
The increased circulation and blood flow we obtain through activity stimulates hair follicles and promotes growth and strength.
Sweating is one of the primary ways our body eliminates toxins. A good sweat session is like a steam clean for our pores from the inside out. It’s our skin’s way of detoxing naturally. Exercise also improves our immune system by increasing white blood cell production meaning fewer bacteria and viruses can invade.
Regular exercise creates healing endorphins that can effectively counteract the harmful effects of cortisol – the stress hormone known to accelerate the aging process.
Nothing is more attractive than the self-assurance that comes from feeling good in our own skin! People who exercise generally feel better about their self-worth, their physical condition and their overall health and show that INNER BEAUTY!
Activities that stretch and strengthen muscles, like Yoga or Pilates, can correct imperfect posture and add height. As our posture improves we tends to look leaner, fitter and more confident.
Anxiety, fearfulness and uncertainty all drain our vitality and dampen our mood, which tends to show on our face and in the way we carry ourselves. Exercise has been shown to alleviate most mild to moderate cases of anxiety, and can very quickly improve mood.
Sleeping well leaves us looking fresher, more vibrant and healthier. Exercise sharpens the body’s sensitivity to the stress hormone cortisol, which can enhance and improve sleep.
Regular exercise trains the body to burn fat more efficiently. It is especially the loss of excess visceral fat – the fat deep inside the body – that boosts our overall vitality and looks.
- BODY SHAPE
A toned, fit body looks smoother, leaner, younger and stands taller…not to mention the potential weight management benefits!
So now what do you think? Does boosting your movement sound “worth it”? The bottom line…physical activity benefits virtually every system in our bodies – it’s not just about the burn – and it all adds up to a more radiant, beautiful YOU and YOU’RE WORTH IT!