Tag Archives: core

Yoga vs. Pilates: What is the Difference?

As a teacher of yoga and Pilates, I am aware that some people stick with either one method or the other as part of their exercise program. Even in our modern era of fitness, where crossover classes such as Yogilates are the latest rage, some choose to be loyal to their preferred modality.

While there are many similarities between yoga and Pilates, the differences that exist may be enough to tip the scale of favoritism.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a 5000-year-old discipline steeped in spirituality. The practice of yoga- however diluted by modern culture- still involves a whisper of self-reflection and divine connection. Good for the mind and the body, yoga rises above the realm of exercise because of its intention to elevate the consciousness of those who practice.

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Treadmill vs. Road Running: Choosing the Best Way to Run for You

As a runner, there’s nothing more wonderful than a cool morning, a gentle breeze, and some scenery. I love to run outside. Because of where I live, I typically run on pavement in neighborhoods. Sometimes I manage to run through parks and even along rivers during my weekly training. When everything is in sync, there’s noting better, but that’s just one runner’s opinion.

Many runners run outdoors on the pavement. However, there are also a lot of runners who actually prefer the treadmill. As I’ve had my fair share of terrain experience, I can safely say that neither is necessarily better, but they are very different.

Road Running

Road running naturally creates many benefits for the training athlete. Because of the uneven surface the outdoors provides, the body gets a complete workout. Stabilizing muscles have to work harder out on the road as the runner has to shift to adapt to the changes. Road running will also bring its share of climate obstacles. Wind will provide great resistance training and heat and cold can also help the runner prepare for any given race day condition. Another major bonus of road running is that it burns more calories than treadmill running as it is more intense and demands more energy from the leg muscles.

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Use Yoga for a Flatter Stomach by Summer

It’s just about that time of year again when the birds start chirping, the sun beats stronger and the bikini and tank tops in your closet start to rustle for some fresh air. We all love the dawn of summer, but let’s be honest: Months of sweaters, turtlenecks and gym membership cards that weren’t used as often as they should have been makes us all a little timid about baring our midriff.

Getting a flatter stomach by summer does not have to involve fear, thousands of crunches and lunches after lunches of un-dressed salads topped with a plain chicken breast. Instead, focus on these next three months of spring to start or ramp up your yoga practice for a lean and bikini-ready middle by summer.

Here’s how. (more…)

Strengthen Your Core and Stomach with the Core Fitness App

Core FitnessThere are many benefits to having strong core muscles. Not only are these muscles important for balance and stability, but they also support the movements of the leg and arms while preventing injury.

Core Fitness is a new iPhone app that can help you strengthen this area. It uses a 40-minutes workout comprised of yoga stretches and resistance training exercised that work your upper legs, hips, buttocks, back, abs and shoulders. The creators of the app promise that you can see results by doing this workout just three or four times per week.

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8 Minute Ab Routine Produces More Results in Less Time

This 8 minute ab routine is here to knock the socks off your current ab routine. This routine is designed to be done in the gym, unless you have the correct equipment at your house. Good luck and have fun!

8 Minute Ab Routine:

(video examples of all exercises appear below)

Crunch on decline bench with arms behind head (1 minute): This exercise targets the entire core region including the low back. The goal is to perform at a moderate pace for one minute.

Leg raise on incline/decline bench (1 minute): This exercise isolates the hip flexors and lower abdominals. If you experience low back pain, slightly bend your knees and continue the exercise.

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10 Minute Ab Workout Gets More From Your Core

The following ten minute ab workout is designed to target your all your core muscles while firming and toning your entire midsection. Each exercise targets a little bit different part of the core and by adding them all together, you get an amazing, complete- and quick- ab workout.

Ten Minute Ab Workout (video examples of each exercise appears below):

  • Crunch with arms across chest (1 minute): While lying on your back, bend your knees and place your arms across your chest. Crunch forward slightly raising shoulder blades off the ground while releasing your back to the ground. Keep your chin pointed up towards the ceiling to avoid neck pain.
  • Crunch with arms across chest and feet up (1 minute): While lying on your back, bend your knees and raise feet perpendicular to the ground. Crunch forward slightly raising shoulder blades off the ground keeping your chin up.
  • Bicycle crunches (1 minute): While lying on you back, bring one knee in towards your chest while taking opposite elbow towards your knee. Repeat while switching knees and elbows.

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Plank Variations to Shake Up Your Workout

The plank exercise is one of the most effective core exercises in today’s fitness world. ACE (American Council on Exercise) ranked the plank as one of the top ten exercises for the body, stating that it is a great tool to build core and low back endurance, while it also improves the ability of the stabilizer muscles.

The plank can be modified to accommodate all fitness levels or be modified if you are experiencing any pain.

The plank exercise  can also be used as a testing mechanism. You can assess your core strength and progress by maintaining the exercise for as long as you can and then retest on a weekly, biweekly, or monthly basis to keep you motivated and give you something to train for. (more…)

Fitness Tips for Your Next Snorkeling Adventure

I just recently got back from Maui, Hawaii and what a beautiful place; it is truly paradise. I had the privilege of snorkeling for the first time and it is now a hobby of mine, especially because it is such a low cost hobby: you can pick up a mask, snorkel and fins for around forty bucks.

Snorkeling is absolutely amazing and I totally recommend it if you have never been. Being able to see life  under the sea is simply breathtaking. The coral, rock formations, thousands of different species of fish, and, of course, the gigantic sea turtles are all a sight to see.

Although snorkeling was a blast and a half, it was definitely a workout. My entire core, shoulders, hip flexors, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and ankles were completely worn out. Below are the benefits of snorkeling, as well as an exercise routine that will help condition you for your next snorkeling adventure. (more…)

Ask Mary Answers Your Burning Questions About Belly Fat

Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.

Calorie Count members are more concerned with belly fat than with any other weight issue. Here are two of the readers’ favorite “Ask Mary Q+As” about weight around the middle.

Ask Mary: What is the quickest way to tone my midsection? (more…)

Improve Posture for Surprising Health Benefits

Do you have good posture? Are you hunched over at your desk while typing on the computer? Proper posture may not seem like that big of a deal, but realistically, it truly is. Proper posture is about more than holding your head up high; it is crucial for eliminating any unnecessary strains to certain muscles, joints, bones, or organs.

With correct posture, you can look taller, slimmer, and come across as being extremely confident- all of which are “A-OK” in my book. (more…)