If you’re looking for a fresh, effective way to help your group participants move better, why not include foam rolling in your next class? Chances are some of your attendees are curious and could use some guided instruction.
This simple foam roller warm-up uses self-myofascial-release (SMR) techniques to warm up the fascia, allowing tissues to move more freely. Trauma, irritation, repetitive use and a sedentary lifestyle create stiffness and can shorten the muscles and/or fascia. A few minutes of SMR offers many benefits.
Pilates offers more than good exercise for the body; consistent practice leads to real improvements in life quality, notably better depth and quality of sleep, says recent research. A preliminary study with 30 young adults showed that participating in two 1-hour Pilates mat classes per week for 12 weeks improved both sleep quality and life quality. Subjects were healthy, inactive adults aged 20–24, who provided self-reports on how the Pilates tice affected these factors.
Among the various mind-body approaches out there, yoga and meditation-based therapies show the most promise for helping people to quit smoking, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine’s NCCAM Clinical Digest in January 2014. While more studies are needed, a research review of 14 clinical trials by investigators from Oregon Health & Science University in Portland found positive results from the practices of yoga, meditation and breathing exercises for people wanting to kick the smoking habit.
Ai chi, a form of water exercise developed by Jun Konno and inspired by tai chi, qigong and Watsu®, may benefit people with multiple sclerosis, according to preliminary research published in NeuroRehabilitation (2013; 33, 431–37).
Heart disease patients improve their odds. With growing research supporting the long-term health benefits of meditation, doctors may soon be prescribing the practice as a means of stress reduction for patients with heart disease.
Meditation may be as effective as drug therapy for people with mild symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a comprehensive review of studies that together included 3,515 participants. The review was published in JAMA Internal Medicine (2013; doi: 10.1001/jamaintern med.2013.13018).
Does tai chi practice offer adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) an effective way of improving exercise capacity and overall quality of life? A special report published in Expert Reviews (2013; 7 : 587–92) addresses this question.
Scientists are beginning to identify the physical changes—on a molecular level—that result from mindful meditation practice and, in so doing, are enhancing our understanding of how a consistent meditation practice benefits health.
“To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression . . . associated with mindfulness meditation practice,” said study author Richard J. Davidson, PhD, founder of the Center for Investigating Healthy Minds at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in a University
of Wisconsin news release.