How to Make Every Exercise Mindful

Most people will discuss body-mind connections when referring to certain forms of exercise like Yoga and Pilates.

While it is true that these two forms of exercise do wonders for the connection between movement and concentration of the muscles during a workout, Dr. Jim Gavin brings up a great point in his article on Mindful Exercise.

Dr. Gavin argues in favor of what he calls the body-mind cube, discussing ways to incorporate focus and consciousness in the commonly categorized body-mind exercise into all forms of exercise. Dr. Gavin breaks down mindful exercise sessions into three elements and transfers them to his cube technique (you can read the details here).

To summarize, every exerciser, regardless of the exercise they are participating in and what fitness level they are at, can make an activity mindful:
1.) Focus on Breathing
2.) Focus on the muscle you are engaging for the movement
3.) Leave the rest of the day at the door

I understand that number 3 is the most difficult by far. However, a completely focused, intensely engaged muscle focused and even breathing session will give you that truly mindful exercise experience.
So next time you head to the gym, track, or weight room leave your to-do lists, plans, kids, friends, family, etc. out of your session!

Myths about Women and Strength Training

It seems that there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to how varied workouts should be between men and women.

Many women have a fear of bulking up or that they will not look feminine if the add strength training into their workout routine. Many women also feel that they are not strong to begin with, and don’t feel that strengthening their body should be the focus, but rather losing weight to decrease the numbers on the scale.

The truth of the matter is, strength training is beneficial, especially for women for many different reasons. Not only will you strengthen muscles to help you in everyday activities, but you can increase balance and coordination as well.

The biggest benefit of strength training that I believe is one of the most unfortunate misconceptions is that having a greater muscle-mass actually INCREASES your metabolic efficiency. So this basically means that if you are looking to lose weight, then doing a cardio-only program to shed calories is not going to give you the desired results as quickly as if you added in strength training.

One of my personal favorite workouts, both because I think you can add a cardiovascular element and because Ive really seen the results is the TRX Suspension Trainer. There is an endless amount of moves you can do with these straps that really work every muscle in the body.

Besides, who doesn’t want toned arms, a lifted booty and strong legs? I rest my case ladies- on to strength training!

 

-Written by Sandi Partyka, Senior Fitness Assistant, CHC

New Study Shows exercise for Cancer patients is beneficial

Its unfortunate, but all of us know at least one person that has been diagnosed with some form of cancer. The treatment, therapy and recovery when going through a form of cancer can be such a draining time both mentally and physically. Since we’ve been lucky to have guest Blogger, David Haas from the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance join us for a post today, Ill let him explain the new findings discussing the benefits of moderate physical activity for cancer patients:

Changing Attitudes Regarding Exercise For Patients Undergoing Cancer Treatment



Doctors have often recommended that patients undergoing treatment for cancer minimize their physical activity and get plenty of bed rest, but recent evidence from UPenn has shown that moderate amounts of physical activity can offer significant benefits for cancer patients. In the past, it was thought that allowing the body to spend large amounts of time resting and recuperating would aid in the recovery process; however, it has now been shown that cancer patients can improve their chances of survival, their quality of life and their energy levels by engaging in moderate physical activity if they are capable.



Exercise for cancer patients should be moderate in intensity, and mirrors the guidelines normally set for healthy adults. Simply walking for thirty minutes a day for five days out of the week is enough to gain practically all of the benefits afforded by exercise. In addition, resistance training may also be useful for cancer patients. Cancer patients often experience weight fluctuations while undergoing treatment; cancers that are hormone based such as breast cancer often cause significant weight gain in the form of additional fat deposits while cancers that affect the integrity of the digestive system can cause weight loss due to the patient not having an appetite or not being able to absorb nutrients as efficiently as they are used to. In the former case, exercise can help prevent the fat gain by increasing the number burned by the patients body; in the latter case, exercise will help preserve lean muscle mass by actively engaging the patients muscle tissue during exercise. Regardless of the type of cancer, exercise can help to stabilize the patients weight and prevent unwanted fat gain or muscle loss.


Cancer patients, like anyone else, should take care to listen to their body while performing exercise. A medical professional can help guide patients on what type of exercise is suitable for them; for example, patients being treated for breast cancer who have had biopsies or lumpectomies performed may sustain injury from doing any exercises that work the upper body, as muscle tissue is often damaged by those surgeries. Experiencing aches and fatigue from performing exercise is usually not an issue, but any sort of sharp or stabbing pains indicate a more serious problem and patients should not perform exercise that is uncomfortable.



The data collected in clinical studies points to patients undergoing cancer treatment receiving a positive benefit from physical activity. It is likely that this will result in a shift in the treatment paradigm in oncology, with oncologists stressing the need for their patients to perform reasonable exercise at a frequency similar to healthy adults rather than suggesting that their patients remain sedentary and inactive.

Kickboxing – The benefits are endless

There are many benefits to participating in a kickboxing class. Especially after a stressful day, participating in a kickboxing class can be a great way to release aggression, and tension, while also achieving a great workout.

Mentally kickboxing is stimulating and engaging. Instructors create a variety of combinations of kicks, punches and intense cardio intervals to keep participants actively involved throughout the duration of the class. In addition, kickboxing combines cardio and strength or resistance training together, allowing the participants to accomplish a great overall workout in a short amount of time. The benefits of a time efficient workout is often of high importance to many people.

Kickboxing classes are designed to incorporate many essential fitness goals such as cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength and flexibility. It is a total body workout that stimulates weight loss and muscular toning.

Kickboxing also allows those involved to learn basic, useful self defense skills. Although you will not engage in the physical application of these moves, learning and practicing the basic movements of a kickboxing class may become useful in a time of need.

Finally, and most importantly, kickboxing is FUN! Kickboxing classes are never the same! They play motivational music, use scenarios to encourage accuracy and energy, and all while participants are actively engaging in an exercise program.

So come on in and try a kickboxing class, and see for yourself the benefits that are attainable!!

Suspension Training with TRX

By Ariel Iasevoli CPT, GF, TRX

Suspension Training and TRX may sound extreme and science-fiction-y to the novice exerciser, but to those immersed in the fitness industry, these training modalities are treasured for their versatility, ease and results.

TRX stands for Total Body Resistance Exercise, it is a piece of equipment that consists of 2 nylon straps, handles and foot cradles.  It can be suspended from any sturdy beam, can support up to 350lbs and can weighs less than 2lbs.  A plethora of functional, full body movements can be exicuted on the TRX, providing a workout that is challenging, safe and functional for all fitness levels.

The theory of functional training is quite simple: The body understands movements, not muscles.  Meaning that everyday and sport activities involve the integration of many joints and muscles to provide movements.  Never in our everyday lives do we isolate individual muscles or joint actions, so why would we train muscles and joints individually?

Suspension training with TRX is designed to engage the body as a single coordinated system.  The TRX allows one to train in the 3 planes of movement and recruit the maximum amount of muscle and joint actions to complete an exercise.

Here are some key benefits of functional and TRX training:

Multiplanar movements build strong motor patterns which corollate to increased coordination and decreased injury potential.

Most exercises are performed standing which automatically engages the core, improves posture and corrects the muscle imbalances that occur from sitting for long periods of time (i.e. at your desk, on the couch, in your car).

The intensity of a TRX workout can be tailored to all fitness levels simply by altering the distance between the exerciser and the anchor point of the TRX.  For example, those who cannot perform a push-up on the ground will be able to perform one on the TRX, and those who are push-up-pros can make the exercise more challenging on the TRX.

Multi-muscle/joint movements require more energy to produce and this means more calories are expended.

Come take a TRX class or personal training at Smart Workout today!