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Shirley Archer

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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Article Archive

Meditation: Just the Basics

January 31, 2005

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 …

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Cardio Training for Stress Relief

December 31, 2004

If you or your clients want to improve your resilience against stress, cardio workouts may be the way to go. Regular aerobic training reduces the heart rate response to p…

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Chi Kung Practice Reduces Hypertension

December 31, 2004

Tai chi has been receiving some good press lately. Now a new study links chi kung—the “parent” of tai chi—with decreases in hypertension.
According to research published in the International Journal of Neuroscience (2004; 114 [7], 777–86), me…

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Deep Breathing for Improved Relaxation

December 31, 2004

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…

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Inmates Practice Yoga and Meditation

December 31, 2004

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…

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Yoga for the Whole Family

December 31, 2004

When yoga is taught at their level, kids readily enjoy the physical and mental release this practice offers. Most instructors who teach yoga to children report that kids a…

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What Is Imagery?

December 31, 2004

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…

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greater body awareness tied to sensitivity to negative emotions

September 30, 2004

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 [2],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.

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tai chi reduces falls in high-risk elderly by 25%

September 30, 2004

Frail older adults who practiced tai chi reduced their risk of falling,
according to a study conducted at Emory University Medical School
in Atlanta.
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 [12], 1804–5).

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using imagination improves adherence for older adults

September 30, 2004

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 [2], 318–25).

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Navigating Personal Trainer Certifications

August 31, 2004

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.

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Take the Plunge

June 30, 2004

Personal training has branched into numerous subspecialties, extending its reach to include a wider audience. The diversification is good for the industry, but there are still many paths waiting to be discovered. Personal training in the water is one of them.

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what is mind-body exercise?

May 31, 2004

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.

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Reward Carries Risk: A Liability Update

March 31, 2004

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”…

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Ease Relaxation Into Your Classes

March 31, 2003

Ease Relaxation Into Your Classes
By Shirley Archer, JD, MA

T

o the well-being of your participants, deep relaxation is as important as regular exercise and is therefore a logical addition to your class cool-downs. Daily

stresses can trigger physical and emotional tension that, if unmanaged, can harm health. Progressive relaxation and guided imagery are easy skills to learn and great services t…

Read More

Ease Relaxation Into Your Classes

March 31, 2003

To the well-being of your participants, deep relaxation is as important as regular exercise and is therefore a logical addition to your class cool-downs. Daily stresses can trigger physical and emotional tension that, if unmanaged, can harm health. Progressive relaxation and guided imagery are easy skills to learn and great services to add to your…

Read More