December\’s frenzied rush toward holiday preparations finds many of us overburdened with activities that waylay our well-established fitness regimens. We\’d like to take a moment to remind you that some of those fitness routines can go a long way toward managing seasonal stresses.
Twas the month of December and all through the land, flustered creatures were stirring, shopping bags in hand. Stockings were hung over the clothes line to dry, while feet were massaged for the next trek to buy.
Well…you get the idea. December’s frenzied rush toward holiday preparations finds many of us overburdened with activities that waylay our well-established fitness regimens. We’d like to take a moment to remind you that some of those fitness routines can go a long way toward managing seasonal stresses.
Create Harmony and Serenity
While serenity may prove difficult at this hectic time of year, it is possible to carve out a wee slice of nirvana by making time for yoga. Practitioners of this ancient discipline enjoy the benefits of its focus on harmony for the mind, body, and spirit.
One of yoga’s essential lessons involves mindful breathing: inhaling and exhaling through the nostrils to fill the abdominal cavity, concentrating on each breath. Yoga enthusiasts will tell you that learning to breathe in a calm and mindful way can help you to stay calm and peaceful in stressful situations, such as when combing the malls to find precisely the right kind of tart pan for your Aunt Mildred.
Maintaining your balance while negotiating the harried hordes at the local mall can be a Herculean challenge, but with the application of Pilates principles to your exercise routine, you may achieve a poise others will envy. Developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, Pilates was originally called Contrology because of its focus on using the mind to control the muscles.
With its focus on the core postural muscles, Pilates teaches awareness of breathing and alignment of the spine while strengthening the deep torso muscles. Regular practice of Pilates helps alleviate and prevent back pain, a strategic benefit in preparing to heft that holiday ham or Tofurky.
You may think we’re all wet, but a quick dip in a warm pool can work wonders for a tired and frenzied soul. Laying down some laps will work all the major muscle groups, while providing a demanding aerobic workout to help keep your heart and lungs healthy. You’ll also help keep your joints flexible, especially in the neck, shoulders, and hips, as your limbs and body move through the water.
If you find yourself bobbing barely above the surface of your seasonal commitments, think about visiting your local public pool for a refreshing swim. Not only will the warmth and humidity provide a refreshing break from cold winter weather, but since we weigh about one-tenth of our land weight in the water, the buoyancy effect will keep you floating above your cares and worries.
Pump It Up
We can’t think of a more important time of year to maintain your strength. A regular routine of weight lifting or resistance training improves the muscles’ ability to work more efficiently, thereby providing enhancement in muscle tone, appearance, and strength. In addition to these physiological benefits, consider their psychological byproducts–enhanced mood, self-esteem, and confidence.
The best news of all about regular strength training is that it actually increases your body’s resting metabolism, so even while we sleep our bodies burn calories. The more muscle mass we have, the more calories our bodies will burn over the course of a day–even while we’re resting our tired, aching feet.
Walk or Run–for Fun
This season we feel as though all we do is walk and run–to the mall, from the office, to the next social event, or from the rain, sleet, and snow. But why not plan a mindful, strategic walk or run for fitness–body and soul?
Taking a walk or going for a run requires a minimum of preparation and equipment while providing a multitude of benefits. Both walking and running help our bodies release endorphins, creating a state of euphoria. Endorphins help to reduce pain and stress. You’ll also get an excellent aerobic workout. Possibly the best part of all, at this time of seasonal indulgence, is that just a half-hour of vigorous walking can burn 180 to 250 calories.
Happy December to all, and to all a good month!