Take the Zzzz’s out of your Workout with Zumba

If you are finding your regular workout is becoming a bit dull, or you are looking to start getting in shape then you may wish to consider Zumba. Dance as a way to get fit is certainly not a new idea, and people have been shaking and shimmying off the pounds with salsa, tango, ballroom, belly dance, and even pole fitness and burlesque at gyms and dance studios up and down the country for years now. Zumba is the new kid on the block and this Latin-inspired, fast-pace workout, has spread like wildfire.

What is Zumba

Image via Wikipedia

The aerobic dance form combines elements of belly dance, samba, salsa and merengue and turns them into a cardio workout that tones you up while you look cool (at least once you’ve get the steps down). The atmosphere at Zumba classes is quite different to your average aerobics session, as they have a real party atmosphere. In fact Zumba makes a great evening out with friends, I find that I have so much fun the it really feels more like a fun night out with the girls than a work out, and I’ve learnt a whole host of sexy new dance moves. Most classes are run in large groups, there tends to be a mix of people in terms of age, fitness level and experience. While some people will go in groups of friends, others will go alone so if you can’t round your mates up, you will be made to feel very welcome. You can read more about Zumba at zumba.com.

Refreshes Parts other Dances Can’t

As Zumba targets all of your muscle groups and works squats and lunges into the routines you will most certainly ache then next day but that soon wears off. Zumba teaches you to have better posture and works on your rhythm at the same time as it works on your abs, glutes, arms and thighs. I found that after a few weeks of classes I had started to notice a difference in my body.

Types of Zumba

I find that a regular Zumba class is enough fun to keep me interested, but if you feel that even this is getting a bit too repetitive there are lots of different Zumba variations you can give a try.

Zumba Circuits

If you are looking for something even more high energy then you might enjoy Zumba Circuits where you move between exercise stations to fast paced salsa music.

Aqua Zumba

This is a good choice if you are looking from something that has a lower impact as it takes place in water so puts less pressure on your joints. If exercise in public is not for you then there are now a range of Zumba DVDs that you can use at home and there is even a game for the Wii which is great to play at parties too.

I hope that this intro to Zumba has tempted you to give it a try. I’m Caitin and I am a dance and fitness nut. I’ve been Zumba dancing for about 10 months now. It took me a few lessons to really get into the swing of things but then I was hooked. I write for www.poledancingpoles.info when I’m not or hanging upside down on my pole which is my other dance passion. Let me know how you get on at our blog or on twitter at @poledancepoles. Zumba classes are offered at most gyms now, so it should be easy to find a class near you and get started.

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5 Great Alternatives to Hitting the Gym

There’s a good reason so many of us just can’t muster up the sticking power to make committing to the burden of a gym membership worth our time and money, and isn’t that we’re scared of exercise

It’s more that, to a lot of people, the atmosphere of a gym simply isn’t conducive to enjoyment. It can be intimidating, or simply unpleasant depending on where you go, with mirrored walls and a crowded mass of lycra clad limbs lending the setting a nightmarish air.

Whilst exercise is important for our health, that doesn’t mean it should be joyless. If anything the very opposite is true. So, here’s a round up of some top alternatives for those of us who’d rather be anywhere than the gym, even when we’re exercising;

Going For a Run or Hike

This might sound obvious, but the fact of the matter is that a high number of new gym members head straight towards (and stick to) the treadmills.

One of the chief enemies of exercise, especially cardio vascular activities, is boredom. Surely, the risk of boredom is higher on a treadmill, rooted to the spot with no scenery to distract you or prompt your mind to wonder onto subjects other than the ache slowly taking hold of your muscles…

Join a Sports Team

Many people find the gym experience hard to enjoy due to the fact it can be very solitary. Indeed, manufacturers of entertainment devices such as MP3 players have developed special models for use at the gym, to help members zone out and ignore the space around them.

This is probably the factor the drives so many people to hire a personal trainer, not so much for the advice and motivation or the dressings down, more for the company. With this in mind, even if you aren’t much of a sports fan, if you’ve suddenly decided to get fit, consider joining up to a sports team rather than joining a gym.

DVD

Alternatively, you might be perfectly happy exercising on your own. Perhaps for you lack of companionship isn’t a problem, but rather, you’d actually prefer more privacy. In that case what better setting for your work out than the seclusion provided by your own front room. Exercising along to a DVD can be an excellent, cost effective way to add structure to your regimen.

Invest In Your Own Equipment

When you think about it, gym membership often amounts to little more than paying over the odds to rent exercise equipment, much of which you could very easily buy yourself at a fraction of the cost of even a months membership, let alone a 12 month contract.

Even if you do love the gym environment, if you are turning up just to utilise dumbbells, resistance bands and an exercise ball, you’re going to be able to buy those items and have them for your own private use whenever you want, at a cheaper price than you pay for the privilege of effectively renting them out for an hour or two a week.

Jane Newman writes on a range of topics pertaining to health and fitness, from easy workouts to choosing health insurance quotes.

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Yoga: A Healthy Exercise for Everyone

Yoga is one of the oldest forms of exercise with a history that dates back thousands of years. Unlike some forms of exercise that focus on physical endurance and movement, yoga is focused on the mind, body and spirit connection. Yoga is one of the easiest exercises to learn, requires little equipment or training and can be performed in almost any setting. Not only does yoga focus on mediation and relaxation, it is also very useful for conditioning the cardiovascular system, toning muscles and maintaining flexibility. If you are looking to incorporate more stretching exercises like yoga into your workout routine, try some of our recommendations for the most beneficial yoga poses for men and women.

About Yoga

Yoga originated in India around 3000 B.C. The word “yoga” is developed from an ancient Sanskrit language and roughly translates to the phrase: to unite, the mind, body and spirit. In the U.S. and other western locations, yoga is mainly practiced as an exercise, but traditionally, yoga has always had a spiritual component. For many, yoga serves as more of a lifestyle than an exercise. There are many different varieties of yoga – all of which have their own intensity and focus. Some of the most popular yoga varieties are Ashtanga, Iyengar, Vinyasa, and Bikram yoga.

The Health Benefits of Yoga

Researchers at the University of Maryland examined yoga’s health benefits and determined that it was especially effective at reducing stress and increasing flexibility. The university also reported that some varieties of yoga provide as much of a physical health benefit as aerobic exercise. In some cases, yoga outperformed aerobic exercise in regards to improving an individual’s balance and strength. Yoga was also was effective at decreasing pain levels among seniors and menopausal women.

Yoga Poses for Women

While yoga encompasses a number of styles and poses, there are a few poses – child’s pose and warrior pose – that are especially helpful for women. Child’s pose works to strengthen and stretch the hips, quadriceps and core. This pose can be useful to relieve back pain and menstrual cramping and also helps to open up the hips and relieve tightness in the lower back. The warrior poses, which consists of several variations such as warrior I and warrior II poses, focuses on stretching the hips, inner thighs and chest. The arm movements used in the pose help to strengthen the quadriceps, abdomen and shoulders. This is one of the best poses to build strength in the mid-section and uses the body’s weight to tone the arms and shoulders.

Yoga Poses for Men

While some men may not feel like yoga is a “manly” exercise activity, some might be surprised to learn how effective yoga can be as a conditioning exercise for other athletic activities. The plank pose and the boat pose are a couple of the best yoga poses to help men develop strength and power. The plank pose is a great option for strengthening the upper body. Basically, the plank is a modified push up that targets the arms, back, shoulders and core. Boat pose targets the core muscle groups and uses an elevated, modified sit-up technique.

Post by Holly Adams, a writer for Coupon Croc. Beginning a new fitness regime? Use Office Shoes discount codes and save on every pair you need, from active to formal.

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Simple Tips on How to Get Fit

For the most part, getting in shape is tough as there are so many obstacles that hinder even the most highly motivated people from achieving the type of body they want. While you are bound to encounter so many suggestions on how to get fit, it is always best to start with the basics in order to get the best results. Here are some of the simplest tips on how you can get fit and start a healthier chapter of your life:

Cut Out Junk Foods from Your Diet

Everyone needs to indulge their palate once in a while but if your goal is to lose weight and be on the leaner side of the spectrum, you need to learn how to control your cravings especially for junk food and processed treats. In order to make the transition easier, make sure that you learn to whip up quick and healthy snacks just in case you get the hankering for small and tasty bites.

Contrary to what most people believe in, you do not necessarily have to deprive yourself of the god stuff just because you decide to get in better shape. For instance, you can still enjoy nachos and cheese as long as you eat home baked chips as opposed to the store bought ones and opt for a low fat cheese.

Eat Home Cooked Meals More Often

People these days put too much premium on the convenience of take out meals that they completely forget about the simple joy of eating home cooked meals. One of the most effective ways on how to get fit is to start eating at home most of the time as opposed to frequenting the local greasy spoon for fat laden meals. This set up might seem daunting at first but once you learn to cook basic meals, you will see that it is not at all a bad idea.

Pick Out the Right Workout Routine

Many are wondering about ways on how to get fit but they often fail to see the obvious. Exercise and physical activity in general is very important in the process of losing weight and keeping all the pounds off. A cardio routine is one of the best choices considering it provides great results as far as burning calories is concerned. Spending at least an hour on the treadmill or elliptical machine everyday would make a great deal of difference not just on your body but your general outlook on fitness as well.

Looking for more tips on how to get healthy? Visit Increase Fitness for more.

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Build Muscle Mass Faster With Home Weight Lifting Equipment

It has long been known that weight lifting is one of the fastest and most efficient ways to build muscle mass.  However, it requires a significant time commitment as you need to dedicate at least three days a week to a fitness routine that incorporates several different lifting techniques.  For many, this time commitment is just not possible and as a result we give up on staying in shape.

If this sounds like you, then you may want to consider the possibility of  adding select weight lifting equipment to your home or office.  This can be a great way to build muscle mass and maintain physical fitness as time allows.  No longer will you waste valuable time driving to and from the gym only to find out the equipment you wish to use is already in use.  With the right weight machines you can effectively build muscle you’ve always wanted from the comfort of your own home.  However, there are a few basic steps you must take before searching for any weight machines for sale.

In order to save money and reach your fitness goals in the most efficient way possible, you need to be sure you buy the right equipment.  In order to do this, you should consider creating a list of your fitness goals.  This list should include both short and long term plans as well as a time line for accomplishments.  This list will help you better understand which equipment is right for you as well as provide you with a great tracking tool for your progress.

Now that you know what your goals are, you can begin looking at the various weight lifting equipment options on today’s market.  You will quickly find that, although similar in many ways, each piece of equipment is different, offering different features and benefits.  These features and benefits should be compared to your personal fitness goals and the machines that match the best should be the ones you consider purchasing.

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10 Things You Can Do To Deal With Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a frightening reality these days. One out of every 3 kids has the potential to be an obese adult. According to researchers, with every 20 percent of body weight increase, a child needs to put in 18 months of weight maintenance to revert to normal weight. The best gift you can give your child is the gift of health. Begin today with these 10 tips.

1. Do Your Homework

To be forewarned is to be forearmed. When you become a parent, find out everything you can about childhood obesity and how to fight it. Understand the risks of an unhealthy lifestyle. Know that what might be a cute chubby child today could just as well grow into an obese adult with an unmanageable life. When you’re dealing with a killer like obesity, information can be king. The more you know, the more ways you can find to help your child beat obesity.

2. Bring In Early Intervention

While childhood is a time to grow, learn about the world and experience different tastes, moderate your child’s intake with healthy choices. Be on the watch and tackle the obesity issue quickly, before it spirals out of control. It’s easier to inculcate healthy eating patterns and exercise in childhood than it is when the child is grown.

3. Get Your Child’s Obesity Level Checked

It’s not easy to measure childhood obesity. Children grow in unpredictable spurts, both in height and weight.  If you suspect that your child may have a weight problem, contact your pediatrician immediately. The doctor can validate if your child’s weight corresponds to his or her age and height.

4. Educate Your Child

Explain to your child that you want him or her to be healthy. While buying groceries or while cooking, highlight the positive and negative aspects of food. Explain what fat does, how the body metabolizes food, how much energy the body needs and so on. Perhaps a very small child cannot understand this much, but a child of 8 and above can be made to understand.

5. Be Supportive Of Your Child

Don’t victimize your child or make the child feel responsible for his or her burgeoning weight. Don’t tie the child’s obesity to his or her looks; this will damage your child’s self esteem, which may cause long term implications worse than obesity. Let your child know that you love him or her unconditionally and that you want to make sure they’re healthy forever.

6. Don’t Make Your Obese Child Your Sole Focus

Only your child might have obesity issues while you, your partner and other family members are fine. However, it’s best not to serve regular food to others and special diet food only to your obese child. This singles out your child as the odd one in the family and will make him or her feel inadequate. Instead, change your entire family’s food patterns to the healthy side.

7. Encourage Your Family To Exercise

Get your entire family involved in an exercise family. Go for weekend swims, early morning walks, gym together, play family squash and basketball games. When you make it a fun family event, your child will just follow suit and bloom under all that attention. If your kids are becoming couch potatoes, restrict both TV and computer time.

8. Start Small And Be Patient

If you want results overnight, it’s not going to happen. Work closely with your doctor and slowly change your child’s eating and lifestyle patterns. You need to work out a long-term plan to fight childhood obesity along with your doctor. Identify a few areas for improvement first; this way, both your child and your family will put up lesser resistance to your efforts.

9. Put Away Unhealthy Snacks

Children love snacks and sweets, especially fried food. If your child loves eating this kind of stuff, it might not be easy to wean him or her off it immediately. However, you can freeze unhealthy food at home. Make sure no one buys fried foods in the family and cook only healthy snacks for your kid. Restrict your kid’s allowance and keep an eye on what he or she eats. Allow your child to eat at fast food restaurants, but control portions.

10. Allow Your Child To Assume Responsibility

You want your child to score well in tests. In the same way, you want your child to score well in health as well. Explain this to your child and put up the optimum weight score as the desired grade. Let your child work up to it. Encourage your child every time he or she earns a C grade. Reward your child for B, B+ and A grades. Soon your child will race to win the game against obesity.

Marina is a freelance writer and writes for specialty products like designer clocks, decorative wall mirrors and a lot more.

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