In an era in which Americans are primarily concerned with losing weight and gaining muscle mass, it is no wonder that the slow-moving martial art of tai chi has been a bit of a hard sell.
Tai chi won’t fold under your bed for easy storage, nor will it claim to reduce inches off your waistline in “just 3 minutes a day.” The reality is, however, that those who practice tai chi are likely to get stronger, have less anxiety, move more organically and gracefully, improve their balance and enjoy more flexibility.
When clients are feeling stressed or down, they may want to pet their dogs—or borrow their friends’ canine companions! In an ongoing study, a University of Missouri (MU)-Columbia researcher has found that interacting with animals creates a hormonal response in humans that can help fight depression.
Are you looking for a mind-body technique that can increase the success rate of your clients? If so, you may be interested in Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). Personal trainer and NLP master practitioner and coach Pam Rigden, MA, uses a unique combination
of NLP and more traditional personal training techniques to help clients address issues such
as weight loss, burnout and fatigue.
Yoga for Scoliosis. Yoga Union, located at Lila Wellness in New York City, offers the only
regular “Yoga and Scoliosis” class on the East Coast. Taught by registered yoga therapist Deborah Wolk, the class is promoted as being ideal not only for those with scoliosis, but for anyone with asymmetries of the spine.
Pilates Ring Workshops. Small-group classes on how to use the Pilates ring are offered as a “Group Exclusive” at select clubs in the Town Sports International network, including the New York Sports Clubs.
Liposuction Doesn’t Improve
Metabolic Risk Factors
In their quest to lose weight, more people than ever are turning to cosmetic surgery. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 384,000 people opted for liposuction procedures in 2003—a 3% increase from 2002. While liposuction may make people look leaner, a new study in the June 17 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine (2004; 350, 2549–57) indicates it won’t necessarily improve health issues related to obesity.
There are plenty of fancy, high-tech ways to exercise, but walking has always been an old fitness trend. Here are some fun facts about walking from the American Podiatric Medical Association Inc.:
The average person walks about 115,000 miles in a lifetime–more than four times the circumference of the globe
Walking an extra 20 minutes each day will burn off 7 pounds of body fat per year.
Many group fitness instructors use traditional Pilates
exercises in the core-conditioning sections of their classes. However, some of these exercises are too difficult technically and can set the average participant up for frustration. If an individual doesn’t have the strength or the biomechanics to perform the traditional roll-up, for example, then she might use incorrect muscles and injure herself. Yet the roll-up is taught in most classes.
Now, more than ever, mind-body exercise programs are hot.
From 1998 through 2002, yoga and tai chi participation increased by 95 percent in the United States, according to American Sports Data (ASD) Inc. (ASD 2003a). By 2002, an estimated 11.1 million Americans were practicing tai chi or yoga and 4.7 million were doing Pilates (ASD 2003b). New participants are attracted partly by savvy marketing but also by the lure of programs that might offer them peace of mind as well as fitness gains.
Tight chest muscles. Reduced flexibility in the torso. Strained shoulders and a sore back. Unfortunately, that’s the description of many amateur and weekend golfers. Golfers habitually bend and twist, bend and twist—all the while straining their backs and shoulders, forming muscle imbalances and inviting injury.
According to “Boomer Coalition Reality Check: When Boomer Optimism Becomes Denial,” a new survey conducted by RoperASW on behalf of the Boomer Coalition and the American Heart Association, Baby Boomers in the United States are very aware of cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately this knowledge is not spurring them to take action to combat the disease. For example:
Only 47% of survey respondents eat a
healthy diet each day.
Only 55% exercise more than three
times each week.