Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, and evidence of its benefits to both body and mind continually is uncovered. Could yoga hold the key to the fountain of youth?
The positive impact yoga has on the body has been shown to reverse the aging process: It reduces body fat and slows weight gain, gives elasticity to muscles, tones tendons and ligaments, improves posture, slows the heart rate and relaxes the mind. Yoga promotes balance inside and out, which is vital for healthy aging.
So how does yoga specifically contribute to healthy aging?
* Yoga promotes better balance. According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, falls are the leading cause of injury and injury-related deaths in people over 65. At least 30% of all seniors fall each year – 50% after age 80 – and research has shown that those who fall are two to three times more likely to fall again. Better balance is crucial to preserving independence in active agers and even can be lifesaving.
According to a study by Temple University in 2008, basic yoga moves could help prevent falls in people over the age of 65. Researchers examined the walk and balance of 24 seniors who then were enrolled in a yoga program specifically designed for active aging. At the end of the nine-week program, the researchers found that the participants had a faster stride, increased flexibility, an improved single-leg stance and increased confidence in walking and balance.
Yoga is a workout of gentle movements that strengthens the back and shoulders and increases flexibility, coordination, joint mobility and balance, all which are important keys to aging well.
* Yoga sharpens the mind. Yoga doesn’t just make your body more flexible, it also works your brain. Yoga has been shown to lower the body’s cortisol levels. Elevated levels of cortisol may contribute to memory-related issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. In a study published in June 2015 in the Journal of Neuroscience Nursing, 133 adults ages 53 to 96 practiced 30 minutes of yoga twice a week for more than a month. The participants reported significant gains in memory performance and fewer depressive symptoms.
A study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2014 followed 108 adults between the ages of 55 and 79; 61 participated in yoga three times a week for eight weeks, and the rest engaged in stretching and toning. At the end of the eight weeks, the yoga group was speedier and more accurate on tests of information recall, mental flexibility and task-switching than before the study. The other group saw no significant change. The researchers reported that practicing yoga three times a week for eight weeks improves sedentary older adults’ performance on cognitive tasks that are relevant to everyday life.
* Yoga relieves stress. Studies show that yoga has a greater impact on enhancing mood and reducing anxiety than other forms of exercise because it lowers the body’s levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and boosts levels of the brain chemical GABA, which helps calm nerves. Research out of the Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard’s McLean Hospital found that people who practiced yoga for one hour increased their levels of GABA by 27% compared to the control group that sat and read for that same hour.
* Yoga relieves menopause symptoms. With today’s life expectancy increasing, women will spend one-third of their life after menopause. Many women turn to yoga to help them cope with the symptoms of menopause, from hot flashes to mood swings to insomnia. A recent study in Brazil studied how yoga affected insomnia symptoms in a group of 44 postmenopausal women. Compared with women who did passive stretching, the yoga practitioners showed a big drop in the incidence of insomnia. Research shows that yoga also can help reduce hot flashes and depression, too.
* Yoga is a fountain of youth. According to a 2014 study conducted in India, intensive daily yoga practice increases two key substances linked to youth and longevity: growth hormone (GH) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulphate (DHEAS). GH is a hormone that stimulates cell growth and generates new tissue, like skin and muscle. DHEAS is a hormone produced in the adrenal gland that is linked to immune function and cardiovascular health, among other factors. The levels of GH and DHEAS in our bodies decrease significantly as we age.
The study is among the first to explore whether yoga impacts biochemical markers of healthy aging. The results? The participants who practiced yoga two times a week for 12 weeks had significant increases in GH and DHEAS levels, along with notable decreases in body mass index (BMI).
According to the U.S. Census, the country’s population age 65 and older is growing at a faster rate than the U.S. population as a whole. Not only will an Active-Aging Yoga program benefit the older population in body and mind, yoga also has been proven to have healing properties (see Part 2 in our newsletter next month for that surprising information).
Do you want to learn how to teach active agers how to feel their best? You’ll find numerous active-aging sessions at our MANIA® conferences, including our new SCW Active Aging Certification with Mindful Movement Specialist Lawrence Biscontini.
Check them out at the following MANIA(R)s :
Atlanta MANIA® | July 29-31, 2016 www.scwfit.com/atlanta
Dallas MANIA® | Aug 26-28, 2016 www.scwfit.com/dallas
DC MANIA® | Sept 9-11, 2016 www.scwfit.com/dc
Midwest MANIA® | Sept 30-Oct 2, 2016
Boston MANIA® | Nov 11-13, 2016
Can’t make it to one of the above events? You can experience an online certification with Lawrence as well to get certified!
You also can get access to hundreds of videos on active aging, yoga and everything fitness through our new subscription streaming service called SCW OnDemand. It’s like Netflix for fitness professionals! Check out scwfit.com for more information on all we have to offer. Namaste!
Vacations are fun, relaxing and enjoyable, but often, fitness goes by the wayside. This holiday season, make your health a priority by keeping fit no matter where you find yourself. Here are five easy to implement tips that can make your vacation work for you.
1. Start Early. Travel can be hectic – to say the least. So before you start flying, driving or cooking, think fitness and get your workout out of the way first. Most hotels have a fitness center that you can take advantage of for a quick sweat as soon as you wake up. Not only can you burn off calories that seem impossible to avoid while traveling, but you also can feel accomplished. There is nothing better than checking fitness off your to-do list before most of your friends and family have even opened their eyes.
2. Plan a Fitness Event. Staying fit on the road is easy if you make it a part of your plan. There are plenty of races, walks and fun runs that happen around the holidays or at your vacation destination, any time of year. Whether you are traveling alone or with friends and family, planning for a fun 5K can be a perfect way to relax, keep fit and make time for bonding.
3. Be Prepared. There is no easier way to get off your training regimen than being unprepared. You’re packing your socks, choosing your outfits and making sure you have all the entertainment you need for the flight – why not put the same amount of thought into your health plans? Add a few easy-to-travel-with items in your suitcase, and you’ll be ready to stay fit no matter where you roam. Mix and match some of our favorite items and take your indoor workouts to the next level this vacation:
- Braided Lateral Resistor
- Braided Xertube Trainer
- Premium Door Anchor
- Speed Jump Rope
4. Find New Fitness Routines. Make sure you’re using your down time to your advantage. While on a long flight, lounging poolside or relaxing before dinner, you can check out fitness magazines and articles. Save important fitness tips, download workout videos you want to try or simply expand your knowledge base. You’ll have a plethora of new ideas to try on vacation or when you get back home. Either way, you’re using your trip to further your health goals.
5. Make it Quick! Long travel hours mean limited time for fitness. Instead of giving up on your health, simply make your workouts snappy. Try an express session – you can pump up the volume to make sure you get your money’s worth. Try taking a 10-minute jog and following it with push-ups, crunches, triceps dips and squats. Finish the round out with three yoga poses – try downward dog, triangle pose and a full forward bend. If that doesn’t feel like it’s enough, do the entire round again for double the fun.
Check out SPRI Products at any of our eight MANIA® Events. Find one near you at www.scwfit.com/mania!
View the entire SPRI Catalog here: www.spri.com.
Jari Love, creator of the Get RIPPED! 5-phase workout series, is thrilled to launch her new Instructor Certification Training program. After millions of DVDs sold and nods from O Magazine, Shape, Fitness and the New York Times, Love decided it was time to bring her award-winning program into the health and fitness club market.
“The timing simply felt right,” says Love. “Fans and instructors have been asking for years where they can take a live class or how they can get certified. I wanted to ensure that the program was thoroughly tested and tweaked before launching across North America.” And Love has done just that. After teaching and refining the program for nearly a decade, her Get RIPPED! classes continue to pull in triple-digit numbers — an impressive feat given the nature of the ever-changing and trend-driven fitness industry.
“Get RIPPED! gets results,” explains Love. “It’s all about the science.” Created in 2002 with a team of exercise physiologists, physiotherapists and biomechanics specialists, the Get RIPPED! program utilizes sport science concepts that promote continual adaptation. Each of the five phases has a specific metabolic goal and the workouts are designed to meet that goal. “For example, ENDURANCE phase workouts feature low-weight, high-rep compound exercises with minimal rest, where heavier loads, fewer reps and breaks between sets characterize a STRENGTH phase workout.
“Get RIPPED! is one of the only periodized group fitness programs in the market,” says Love. The phases are built in a progressive sequence so that participants develop a strong technical foundation before moving onto the next phase. “The introductory phase uses primarily body weight,” she says. “It’s so important to develop a strong base of fitness before moving onto high intensity and plyometric training. It prevents injury and promotes success. We need to think of our clients over the long-term.”
In addition to creating a program that was science-based and clinically tested, Get RIPPED! was designed to be accessible to all levels of participants—a necessity given the large class sizes and demand for the program. “Offering modifications was essential to maintaining the quality and safety of Get RIPPED!” says Love, noting that her classes include boomers to Olympic athletes and “everyone in between.” Hand weights are required for the class, and the step is an option. “We integrated the step into the program because our research showed that participants burned up to 3x more calories using the step than without,” says Love. “But we offer it as an option only to ensure we are inclusive to all members.” Though some phases offer the barbell as an option to hand weights, some participants perform the workouts with their body weight only. “It’s important to give those members who are new to the workout or recovering from an injury permission to use no weight at all so they too can feel success,” Love says.
A renowned singer before entering the world of fitness, Love made sure that music was at the heart of each release. Get RIPPED! features a range of chart-topping and throwback tracks that complement the movements in each phase, but it’s the added sound effects and cues that differentiate the program from others on the market. “As a young, freestyle instructor, I was so engaged with coaching and motivating my class I often lost count and was left wondering how many reps I had left and whether I’d done equal numbers on both sides,” Love recalls. “By adding set counting cues and sound effects to initiate recovery or to advise an instructor to repeat a sequence, it takes that guesswork out.”
The Get RIPPED! certification is one-day training eligible for both SCW and AFAA CECs. There are no club hosting or licensing fees and instructors certify in not one but two programs: Get RIPPED! 96-1 and Get RIPPED! 96-2 from the COMPOUND phase. The subscription based Get RIPPED! Academy for certified instructors offers quarterly releases including digital music and video download and choreography, but unlike traditional programs, Get RIPPED! Academy members receive a new program each quarter that aligns to the five phases. “By delivering new programming quarterly – and not just new music and moves – we maintain the integrity of the Get RIPPED! methodology,” Love explains. “It keeps things fresh and exciting and people continue to get results. That’s why they stick with it. That’s what keeps them coming back.”
I consider myself a Fitness Fossil. I have been in the fitness industry so long that most current trends have resurfaced in some form many times. Bootcamp out, Bootcamp in. Dance-based programs out, Dance-based programs in. Barre out, Barre in. Name a hot new trend and I will show you a similar style from the 80s, 90s, and 2000s.
One trend that is new and changing the fitness game, though, is an awareness of the wellness connection with our clients’ and students’ sustained success. The fitness group exercise trend has traditionally been to connect for an hour workout and then, “See Ya next workout.” The client or student, then feeling sweaty, worked and satisfied, goes out into the world with that hour workout to sit, sit some more and eat, and eat some more. We have done such an amazing job with the exercise component that our students think all their not-so-great activity and eating choices now are covered under the one-hour workout umbrella.
We know that this is far from the truth. Working out is only one small component that contributes to sustained success. What, how and when we eat; what, how and when we move; and what, how and when we do HIIT play a crucial role in the overall outcome for fitness gains and weight loss. The exercise piece captures about 20% of the overall success pie, and not opening the discussion with our clients and students about what they do when they aren’t with you only provides a partial picture.
To truly make a difference in your clients’ or students’ success, you need to create a game plan that addresses the whole picture: weight management, fitness gains and overall wellness. It starts with finding out what a client’s goals are and what has kept them from reaching their goals before now. A well-known goal setting acronym we use in Tabata Bootcamp is SMART. The goal should be:
After targeting what the outcome the client wants, you then need to identify road blocks or bumps they might run into along the way.
I ask my Boot-campers the following questions and then offer suggestions:
- How much time do you have realistically to workout per day?
I start my boot-campers with a very short workIN every morning when they wake up. A 6-minute workout starts their day off right. By starting their day with movement, they are starting to think in terms of including fitness and healthy eating habits into their day – all day – and not just when they are at the gym. This morning burst is the game-changer: Start right to stay right.
- How much moving do you do throughout the day that isn’t considered working out?
Through this snapshot into the client’s day, you will be able to suggest ways for them to add more movement into their day. Sitting longer than 1-2 hours at a time is easy to change. Creating small movement breaks throughout the day creates great gains overall, as every movement matters.
- Are you thoughtful about When, How and Why you eat?
If I have a client who is struggling with their weight or who wants to be more conscientious about their food choices, I have them ask themselves three questions. Am I hungry? It is smart? How much do I need? By being mindful of what fuels us, we can change behavior. Empowerment – not deprivation – is the key to sustainable success.
The change of seasons is upon us; it’s the perfect time to give your body a nice spring-cleaning boost! Supporting your body’s natural detoxification pathways is a great way to get rid of the old and make space for new, both physically and emotionally. Spring is all about movement and fresh new energy— this fresh baby spinach green salad recipe by MUIH Master of Science in Nutrition and Integrative Health Candidate and Nutrition Intern Rachael Adams is the perfect way to celebrate!
Roasted Brussels sprouts and onions in this salad encourage detox by providing nutrients such as quercetin, sulfuric compounds and B vitamins, while avocados offer glutathione and minerals that help reduce free-radical damage and improve energy levels. Eating meals such as this also encourages healthy detox by increasing dietary fiber and hydration levels. Plants are a great supplemental source of water, but you still want to be sure you are getting a least 6-8 glasses of filtered water per day in order to ensure proper fluid and electrolyte balance in your body!
What you need:
2-3 cooked chicken breasts (shredded)
4-5 cups fresh spinach
1 sweet potato
1 med onion
1 cup of Brussels sprouts
1 med apple
Blue cheese crumbles
Miso sesame dressing
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Chop the produce to be roasted and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and rub in. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stir once.
2. Shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and toss with well-rinsed spinach.
3. Dice avocado.
4. Once the roasted veggies are soft, pile on top of salad base and add toppings.