Yoga and Pilates: One of these things is not like the other

Written by Molly Watson on . Posted in Movement

pilatesDo you know the difference between Pilates and yoga?

Newcomers to either practice often do not know how the disciplines differ, or if they even do differ. Yoga and Pilates are each their own separate and distinct practice, and though somewhat similar on the surface, take their students in different directions.

When you hear the name Joseph Pilates, your core might naturally contract. To the uninitiated, Pilates brings to mind deep ab work. He developed the system of exercises during a detainment in an internment camp in England during World War I, and intended them to be a rehabilitation program for sick and injured prisoners of war. He originally called the core strength and stability work “Contrology,” and defined it as the “integration of body, mind and spirit.”

Can yoga help you slim down?

Written by Andrea Cespedes on . Posted in Movement

Let’s face it – not everyone comes to yoga to clear their mind and find spiritual bliss.

Just the other day before class, I overheard a gaggle of teenage girls deep in discussion about the potential of getting a “yoga butt.”  You may giggle, you may roll your eyes, but be honest, most of us would love to lose a few extra pounds and tone our extra bits while down-dogging it.  

Yoga doesn’t burn calories like a good hour-long cardio session, not even power yoga, where you feel like you’re sweating away your insides. A 150-pound person burns just 150 calories in an hour of modest hatha yoga or up to about 300 calories in a vigorous flow. To lose one pound, you must burn off 3,500 calories – that’s about 23 hatha classes or 12 vinyasa classes, without eating a morsel more than you burn.

Do you dare M.E.L.T. yourself?

Written by Jennifer Mulson on . Posted in Movement

Ashley Kipp MELTed me last week. She can melt you, too.

MELT is a self-treatment program designed to eliminate pain. Even if you’re not in pain, it will help bring about a natural, healthy balance in your body.

“(Your body) wants to heal, and it wants to be in its natural state,” Kipp said during our session.

The acronym stands for Myofascial Energetic Length Technique. However, it isn’t technically myofascial (blood flow to muscles) but neurofascial (fascia enervated with nerves). The developer of the treatment, Sue Hitzmann, thought people would prefer MELTing to NELTing.

Can exercise decrease appetite?

Written by Ethan Engel on . Posted in Movement

donutDoes exercise increase your appetite? Or do you eat less when you’re more active?

Scientists have long known that exercise causes changes in hormone production. It was assumed these changes determined whether appetite would spike or diminish after working out. However, two recent studies in neuroscience point to another cause: exercise can change how certain parts of your brain respond to the sight of food.

A recent study at California Polytechnic State University, published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, brought 30 young, active volunteers into the lab after fasting overnight. They either rode a stationary bike or sat quietly for an hour before getting into an MRI device. They then watched as a series of photos flashed on individual screens. The pictures showed different foods, from fruits, vegetables and grains to cheeseburgers, ice cream and cookies, with some non-food items peppering the sequence. Then the volunteers exchanged places for a second testing session.

Participants who sat for an hour showed major activity in the food reward system of the brain, especially at the sight of the decadent foods. But those who had worked out for an hour displayed much less interest in food, according to their brain images. Their food reward systems remained generally quiet, no matter how tempting the item in the picture. Significant reduction in responsiveness to food cues was observed. The participants also completed questionnaires about their usual reaction to exercise that indicated much less interest in seeking out food after exercise, than after rest.


Eat only when you're active

Written by Gabe Mirkin, MD on . Posted in Movement

runningWhen you eat may be even more important than how much you eat. The safest time to eat is just before and after you exercise. Resting after you eat is an invitation for higher blood sugar and insulin levels, more weight gain, and increased risk for diabetes and heart attacks. In other words: never eat and go to bed.

High rise in blood sugar levels causes sugar to stick on the surface of cells. Once there, the sugar can never get off and is eventually converted to sorbitol which destroys the cell to causes all the side effects of diabetes such as heart attacks, strokes, arteriosclerosis, nerve damage and so forth (even in people who have not been diagnosed as diabetic). So anything that prevents frequent high rises in blood sugar helps to prevent cell damage.

A profound study in the July 2009 Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, showed that exercise lowered high blood sugar levels in diabetics far more when done after eating dinner than before eating. Muscle contractions drive sugar into cells with little or no insulin. These people were out-of-shape diabetics who walked slowly and for only 20 minutes. Longer and more intense exercise lowers insulin and sugar levels even more and would be even more beneficial. Another study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (August 2009), shows that you should exercise before you eat because it lowers blood sugar levels the next morning.

Nine healthy postmenopausal women exercised two hours on a treadmill twice a day. Those who exercised an hour before meals had a much lower rise in blood sugar at 16 hours after eating, compared to those who exercised an hour after their meals.

Humans must use their muscles to stay healthy. Contracting muscles before eating helps to prevent the rise in blood sugar that follows meals, and exercising after eating helps keep blood sugar levels low the next morning. Of course many people do not have the time to exercise both before and after meals, but you will benefit from exercising whenever you can because lowering blood sugar and blood fats helps to prolong life and prevent diseases such as diabetes.

MICE ALLOWED TO EAT ALL DAY LONG ARE FATTER. Mice that are placed on a high-fat diet gain far more weight when they are supplied with food 24 hours a day than when they can eat only for 8 hours a day, even though they eat the same number of calories per day (Cell Metabolism, published online May 17, 2012). Besides weighing more, the mice that could eat all day long had higher blood sugar and insulin levels, more liver damage, and higher blood levels of CRP, the blood test that measures inflammation.

MICE FED ONLY DURING SLEEPING HOURS ARE FATTER THAN THOSE FED DURING WAKING HOURS. Mice that were allowed to eat only during the 12 hours that they normally sleep gained significantly more weight (48 percent weight increase) than mice eating the same type and amount of food during the 12 hours they are normally awake (20 percent weight increase). Both groups ate the same total amount and type of food and were equally active (Obesity, published online Sept. 3, 2009).

HUMANS WHO SNACK SUFFER MORE DIABETES AND PREMATURE DEATH. Scientists at Karolinska Institutet surveyed 4,000 60-year-old, men and women. Compared to those who ate only breakfast, lunch and dinner, those who snacked between meals had larger waist circumferences and higher blood sugar, insulin, triglyceride and cholesterol levels than people who ate regular meals with less snacking (Obesity, 2008;16 (6):1302). These are all signs associated with metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart attacks, and premature death.

STAY ACTIVE AFTER YOU EAT. Resting muscles are inactive and draw no sugar from your bloodstream. On the other hand, contracting muscles pull sugar from the bloodstream. They do not even require insulin to do this. If you eat and stand or walk, the contracting muscles can pull sugar from your bloodstream. However, when you eat and sit or lie down, your muscles draw no sugar from your bloodstream and blood sugar levels rise higher to increase risk for cell damage.


HIGH INSULIN: Your pancreas tries to lower the high blood sugar level, so it puts out ever increasing amounts of insulin. The insulin constricts the arteries leading to your heart, increasing risk of heart attack.

HIGH TRIGLYCERIDES: When muscles are inactive, blood sugar levels rise. The extra sugar goes to your liver and other cells. Once your liver fills up with its own stored sugar called glycogen, it cannot store any more sugar. so all extra sugar is converted to a type of fat called triglycerides.

LOW GOOD HDL CHOLESTEROL: High triglycerides increase risk for clotting, so your good HDL cholesterol works to save you by carrying triglycerides from your bloodstream to your liver. You use up your good HDL and blood levels of HDL drop.

FATTY LIVER: The triglycerides accumulate in your liver to cause a fatty liver. A fatty liver cannot clear sugar from your bloodstream.

DIABETES: Since the liver cannot clear sugar from your bloodstream, blood sugar levels and are now diabetic and risk for heart attacks, strokes, many cancers, and premature death is increasing.

mirkinGabe Mirkin, M.D., a practicing physician for 40 years, is board-certified in four specialties and is an associate professor at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. A pioneer in the fitness movement and host of a medical talk show for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is the author of eight books, including The Healthy Heart Miracle, and numerous scientific articles and textbook chapters.

Walk your way healthy

Written by Althea Smith on . Posted in Movement

walkingAre you a triathlete or a “try at least?”
For all of us who fall into the latter category, here’s a simple aerobic activity that’s perfect for beginners. You can get started on the road to good health with just three 20-minute weekly walks. (Before beginning any exercise program, consult with your physician.)
You may want to find an easy trail and enlist a walking partner to share in the fun. Your favorite leashed four-legged friend will leap at the opportunity to join in. I have three Jack Russell Terriers whose combined twelve energetic legs keep me constantly on my toes.

100 Days Tai Chi Warm Up Challenge

Written by Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs on . Posted in Movement

What are your health and wellness goals?
  • Gain better balance
  • Increase your metabolism
  • Sleep more deeply
  • Have better overall health
  • Put the bounce back in your step
  • Strengthen the body for internal martial arts
Now’s your chance to get in shape and feel great. These goals can be your reality.
taichiHere’s the Tai Chi Challenge:

We challenge you to do our Muscle Tendon Changing Exercise as developed and taught by Master Michael Paler, also known as the Tai Chi Stretch and Warm-Up every day for 100 days and experience the difference.

Visit this link to follow along:

Question: Why should I do these exercises?
Answer: These simple but effective low impact exercises stretch and expand the soft tissue, condense bone, regulate blood pressure, open the joints, Improve hormone production and assist the body in moving lymphatic fluid and reducing inflammation. When you improve the flow of energy “chi” with breath and movement, every cell in the body is being exercised.

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