Mind/Body Exercise

Mind/Body Exercise

Mind/Body Exercise
Pilates, yoga and tai chi are considered mind-body exercises because the focus is on breathing and meditation. These exercises work at calming the body thus reducing blood pressure, stress levels and improving all over mood. Fitness for your mind.

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    A , Fitness, answered
    What should I know before I try kung fu?
    Before committing to a Kung Fu regimen, you should take a free class and make sure the instructor and school's philosophy is a good fit for you. Watch Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Qigong Expert Sifu Karl Romain explain what you should know before you go.
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    A , Neurology, answered
    Researchers from Harvard University published an important study in the journal Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging helped prove that meditation and mindful yoga resulted in real, measurable changes in the brain. They trained 16 adults in mindful meditation over eight weekly sessions and performed brain scans before and after treatment to look for changes in gray matter -- the part of the brain that contains nerve cells. Brain scans were also done at the beginning of the study and 8 weeks later in a control group that received no treatment. They found that gray matter increased in several brain regions after completing mindful meditation, including:
    • The hippocampus, a part of the brain that helps control memory and emotion
    • The posterior cingulate cortex, also important for memory and emotion, as well as for pain
    • The temporoparietal junction, important for interpreting body-related information and sensations and in developing an accurate body image
    • The cerebellum, important for coordination
    There was no change in the hippocampus or temporoparietal gray matter in the control group, with a slight decrease in the posterior cingulate cortex in the no-treatment controls.

    This study proved that mindful meditation does more than make you feel emotionally calm. It also helps enhance brain areas important for memory, emotion, and pain.
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    Pilates and yoga both have benefits that strength training and cardiovascular training may not provide.

    Yoga is a form of exercise that will help elongate your muscles.  Increase flexibility has endless possibilities and all too often people do not focus on their flexibility.  Yoga will also aid in relaxation.  Our society is too tense and yoga is a form of exercise to help relieve that tension and would truly be beneficial to everyone!

    Pilates, this form of exercise will help assist in building core strength.  Pilates has a variety of moves that not only require core strength but also require balance.  In order to get balance, you need to build stability.  Everyone needs to stability and this unfortunately is something that does not get enough attention that is needed.

    Everyone needs flexibility, stability, core strength, balance, and relaxation and you will receive all of the above from Pilates and yoga.

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    Bringing awareness to your breath is one of the easiest ways to draw your focus inward as well as find some mental clarity, which are two distinguishing factors in mind-body practices. Our breath is our life force and is always important in any type of exercise. It can effect how you feel during your workout as well as how you perform. It is important to use the full capacity of your lungs to breathe in and out, meaning that you should fill them with from air top to bottom, left to right, and front to back. This takes practice as many people are naturally chest breathers without even knowing it. This is especially critical with women who tend to hold their lower belly in, which forces chest breathing. To practice using the most efficient breath and using the full capacity of your lungs, first imagine dividing your torso into three parts, your lower belly, your middle or ribcage, and your upper chest. Then draw in a third of your breath in the lower belly, a third in the middle, and a third in your chest. Try to feel each part of the body expand and imagine completely filling your lungs. Practice this daily, whether you are exercising or not, and see how it effects your performance and breathing during your next workout.
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    A question to respond with is what exercise will not help you relax?  Some of your best forms of relaxation exercises would include some form of yoga.  Find a yoga studio or go to your local fitness center and take a class.  You will be introduced to a 45 to 60 minute class consisting of stretching to help elongate your muscles and help take your stress away.  In addition, all exercise can assist in relaxation.  Some people love to exercise, some hate it, and others are in-between.  Regardless of your feelings toward exercise, your body will thank you, you will feel a sense of accomplishment, and should result in a relaxed body.

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    The purpose of calming and relaxation exercises like yoga, meditation, tai chi, qi gong, is to improve feelings of peace and calm and lower the pulse, blood pressure, and reduce levels of stress hormones in the body. Through time and training the mind can help the body calm itself and lower the heart rate and reduce stress levels, which promote calming and feelings of relaxation and a sense of wellbeing.  

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    A , Preventive Medicine, answered
    It is time for all of us, no matter what our age, to get up off the couch and get moving. The research is overwhelming on the positive effects of exercise in every season of our lives. A University of Illinois study showed adults who walked 45 minutes three times a week improved performance on cognitive tasks by 15 percent.
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    Most forms of mind-body exercise will require very comfortable clothing, usually fitted but stretchy in order to allow easy flexibility and movement. This form of exercise most commonly requires bare feet as well.
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    Yoga, Pilates, and martial arts such as tai chi, tae kwan do, and qi gong are the most commonly known types of physical activity be classified as mind-body exercises. Although by adding the mental awareness aspect to any form of exercise, it can become a mind-body exercise. For example, many athletic runners will describe running as a meditative practice due to the focus of the breath, in through the nose and out through the mouth, along with the focus on the body keeping steady pace.
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    A , Alternative & Complementary Medicine, answered
    I think it's all a matter of what you're looking for your exercise to do for you. I'm all for people working out enough, and I have nothing against Pilates. But yoga does offer far more than just a physical workout. We teachers give you (hopefully practical) lessons on living from center alongside the movement. Yoga is a path to personal transformation on all levels: body, mind and heart. We practice in part to look and feel great, but at the foundation, we're listening inside, gaining wisdom, and learning how to apply our mindfulness tools in the outside world. Yoga doesn't end when class does; we're committed to holistic fitness: eating consciously, relating compassionately, and expressing ourselves with grace. So yoga, though there are so many types to try, always comes down to the practitioner walking the path of health, balance and vitality in every moment. Otherwise, it's just another workout class.
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