Shirley ArcherShirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at www.shirleyarcher.com.
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A growing body of knowledge supports the health benefits of regular tai chi practice. Evidence from a comprehensive review of more than 200 studies confirms the therapeutic value of tai chi practice for improving quality of life, pain management and physical function (including act…Read More
Pain relief from acupuncture is real, not the result of the placebo effect. Mounting research evidence supports the conclusion that acupuncture provides clinically important pain relief. For example, in a study presented at an American College of Rheumatology meeting in San Anton…Read More
The regular practice of yoga is known for helping adults achieve a sense of relaxation and inner peace. A recent study suggests that yoga may also benefit children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
According to research published in the Journal of At…
Meditation is going mainstream. Today, 10 million Americans—more than twice as many as a decade ago—practice some form of meditation, according to TIME magazine (Stein 2003). And with contemporary medical experts claiming that regular practice of this ancient activity improves well-being and health, the trend may well continue. But what is meditation; why is it gaining …Read More
By now, you know the importance of relaxation in this fast-paced world. The next time you pause to take deep breaths and slowly count to 10, observe whether you can actually feel your heart rate slow down. Functions like heart rate and blood pressure are regulated by the autonomi…Read More
Prison inmates are finding peace of mind through regular yoga and meditation practice at San Francisco County Jail No. 7 in California. The classes are part of the “Resolve to Stop the Violence Program (RSVP),” an effort to reintegrate violent offenders into society and decrease the likelihood that they’ll wind up back behind bars,” according to an article in the A…Read More
Many fitness instructors use imagery techniques that draw on personal experiences of athletic events or nature outings to enhance indoor cycling classes or lead relaxation during a cooldown. More and more research supports the benefits of using imagery to achieve specific object…Read More
People with higher levels of body awareness may experience more feelings of anxiety and other negative emotions. Results of a small study published in Nature Neuroscience (2004; 7 ,102–3) showed that subjects who were more aware of their own heart rate levels also felt more anxiety than subjects who lacked awareness of their own physical states.Read More
Frail older adults who practiced tai chi reduced their risk of falling,
according to a study conducted at Emory University Medical School
Researchers noted that adults in their 70s, 80s and 90s—some of whom could not walk without assistance—who participated in weekly tai chi for 48 weeks had fewer falls than subjects who participated in wellness education, according to results published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2003; 51 , 1804–5).
Using visualization techniques helps older adults remember to take their medications and follow medical advice. Older adults who spent a few minutes imagining how they would test their blood sugar were 50% more likely to perform the tests as directed than people who used other memory techniques, according to a study published in Psychology and Aging (2004; 19 , 318–25).Read More
Mainstream consumers are starting to embrace personal training, currently one of the leading growth trends in the fitness industry. Once considered within the reach only of celebrities and wealthy socialites, personal fitness trainer (PFT) services are now valued by more people, and more of them are willing to pay. Leading fitness centers throughout the U.S. have thriving personal training programs.Read More
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.
According to the 2003 IDEA Trendwatch Survey, three different kinds of personal training topped the list of general fitness trends: one-to-one training, partner training (two clients sharing one trainer), and small-group training (three to five clients sharing one trainer). Client categories that seem to be growing include people who are interested in postrehab or “prehab”…Read More