When one thinks of meditation, one thinks about a monk sitting in a far away land with its fellow brothers in silence, but little do they know that it is an age old practice which has been said to treat medical problems through reflection, thought and contemplation. There are various types of mediation and while some require one to stay perfectly still and reflect on ones thoughts or harness a peaceful state of mind, others require the person mediating to engage in free movement.
Researchers have studied that meditation aids in the balancing of one's physical, mental and emotional states and its countless benefits have been reaped for thousands of years.
We sometimes do not realize how much stress that we carry on a day to day basis due to the stressors of life, which can be relieved by meditation. Instead of being stressed and tense due to a problem at work or in your relationship, at least ten minutes of meditation a day can alleviate the stress and leave your body more calm and relaxed and eventually things that used to irritate you will become inconsequential.
Blood pressure, heart, lungs and skin improvements:
Among the mental benefits of mediation, there come physical benefits as studies show that meditation decreases blood pressure, therefore easing the heart rate and decreasing the risk of heart disease. Also, persons who meditate are able to breathe in more deeply which aids in the increase of air flow to the lungs and lung capacity and reduces the occurrence of anxiety attacks by lowering lactate levels in the blood. Practicing meditation also aids in the promotion of a youthful appearance and healthy skin and body.
Meditation lowers the occurrence of depression and rapid mood change as seen in patients with mood disorders by decreasing serotonin levels, and improves concentration and focus as well as memory and strengthening of the mind. Meditation is also able to promote confidence within the self. http://www.rapidfitness.com
The enjoyment many gym members experience when they visit their fitness center depends to a large degree on the comfort and freedom they feel while maneuvering around the space. When you are in the middle of an intense circuit training routine, the last thing you want is to feel you are in a cramped, unwelcoming environment, awkwardly stepping around jutting barbells or equipment platforms. Planning your gym footprint and carefully selecting the right equipment to fit the layout can ensure your members will get the most from their visits.
Measure Twice, Purchase Once
The old saying for woodworkers is “measure twice, cut once,” which points to the importance of beginning with the end in mind. For a woodworker, this can save time and materials, and the same can be said for gym owners. A good equipment dealer can assist you in knowing the clearance distance around each machine.
The goal of good gym design is to help you position each station to maximize the efficiency of the space and allow equipment users to approach and dismount each machine safely and comfortably. Know the limitations of your space and plan for future expansion when first selecting your equipment. If you are just starting out, there will be standard pieces of equipment that your members will expect, so those are the machines that you must incorporate into your initial plan.
Room Shape Is As Important As Square Footage
Remember that each room in your gym space may offer unique challenges. Wall space may vary to accommodate stairs, water fountains, or utilities such as heating and air conditioning vents. In addition, ceiling heights may not be uniform, or there may be exposed ductwork that exists below ceiling height in some areas of the room. All of these factors must be considered when planning your gym, so it is a good idea to make a drawing of each room, taking note of any of these variances and incorporating them into your design.
Consider Machine Height In Addition To Length And Width
Let’s say you are planning the floor space in your gym and you would like to purchase 10 treadmills. The way you orient those treadmills can either enhance or hinder the flow of traffic and movement in your space. The vertical element of the treadmill can be angled to face a wall of external-facing windows, which will not only allow equipment users to enjoy the view, but it will free up the vertical space surrounding the rear areas of the line of treadmills, providing room for other members to move more comfortably around the space.
The Importance Of Open Space
A gym may offer all of the equipment its members consider necessary, but if you want them to feel most at ease during their workouts, you will dedicate some of your square footage to open space for stretching, hydrating and yes, even socializing. Even if your gym is modest in size, cramming every square inch of space with heavy, cumbersome equipment can leave members and visitors with the perception that your gym is crowded and uninviting. Try to strike a balance so that the needs of all gym members can be met and your workout space is maximized.
Stress. Such a simple six letter word yet so complex and life altering. Whether mild or severe, the stressors of life hinder development and self growth, not to mention one’s health. Unbeknown to many, stress is a major contributing factor as it regards one’s health and many of the patients suffering from health issues, one of the causes of the illness is attributed to having undergone some form of stress. Stressors of everyday living are masked in many forms, whether it be due to financial constraints or relationship conflict, stress commences with having experienced too much mental or emotional pressure for a duration of time, due to inability to cope. Life throws us many curveballs and in itself undoubtedly causes stress since it is ‘never as easy as it seems’, but nonetheless there are many coping strategies that can be employed to deal with stress. These strategies can also aid in the maintenance of a healthy and productive not exactly a stress-free life, but a stress reduced one. Stress often affects the way we feel, think, behave, react as well as how our body works and may cause us to experience feelings of anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, headaches and low self confidence.
Recognizing and acknowledging one’s stress levels and triggers is one way in which individuals can take the necessary measures to reduce stress. Participation in counseling sessions, exercising, recreational activities, relaxation techniques or other coping strategies with which one feels comfortable and deem most effective since ‘one size does not fix all’.
Honey is an age old remedy and has been included in the top selling skin care and health products on the market. Little do persons know that the natural honey has countless benefits for the skin and overall health of the body.
Listed are Honey’s top six health benefits:
- 1. Increases the performance of athletes
While maintaining the body’s glycogen levels it also aids in improving the recovery time after races for sports men and women. In the past, Olympians used to eat honey to enhance performance, and recent studies prove that they were right!
- 2. It aids in the regulation of blood sugar
Honey comprises of fructose and glucose which regulate blood sugars in the body, which when compared to white sugar and artificial sweeteners are deemed better and healthier for the body.
- 3. An excellent skin care alternative
Instead of off the counter and prescribed skincare products, one can redirect funds to purchasing natural honey. It is pro-biotic and its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal characteristics leave the skin moisturized and nourished with a healthy glow. When combined with other products such as cinnamon or carrot your skin will thank you!
- 4. Prevents cancer and heart disease
Honey reduces the risk of these illnesses due to antioxidant characteristics.
- 5. Reduces cough and throat irritation
Coupled with cinnamon and heated, it is a cure for the common cold, as one dose of honey is equivalent to one dose of dextromethorphan.
- 6. Heals wounds, burns, ulcers and gastrointestinal disorders
Again, its pro-biotic properties grants the proper and quick healing of wounds and burns, as well as studies show that it reduces ulcers and gastroenteritis. It is also said to be useful in improving eye-sight and reducing nausea, UTI’s and diarrhea.
As a gym owner or manager, you know intuitively that providing exceptional customer service is just good business. If you have a strong customer base, and your membership rolls are growing or are at healthy capacity, it may be tempting to relax and assume that your business will take care of itself.
But you can never lose sight of your goal of attracting – and retaining – loyal, long-term members. That is why good customer service is essential. Here are a few tips for ensuring your customers will continue to renew their memberships and encourage their friends to do the same.
Your gym may have a relaxed, casual atmosphere, but you must always remember that it is a business. Your customers expect a staff member to be available immediately when they have a question or require assistance. Make sure that phone calls are answered promptly, preferably within the first three rings. Respond to any messages or emails as quickly as possible, especially if a customer is communicating a need or complaint.
Be Cheerful, Positive and Professional
Many gym members see their gym or fitness center as an extension of their home. You can make them feel most at ease by always greeting them with a smile and by offering encouragement and assistance whenever needed. When possible, get to know your customers by name and feel free to engage in light-hearted conversation from time to time. Be aware, however, that even your most active daily customers have a life outside of the gym, so be respectful of their time by keeping personal conversations to a reasonable length.
Train And Trust Your Staff
Impressing your members every day is one way to ensure a long-term relationship, and properly training your staff enables them to support you in that mission. Make it clear to them that being polite, friendly and responsive to your current and prospective members is their number one job. Provide your staff with the authority to make reasonable decisions in your absence, especially if it means pleasing your customers and keeping them satisfied.
Be Responsive and Accountable
No matter how well your gym is managed, there may be times when you receive a complaint. The way you respond to that complaint may mean the difference between keeping a customer and losing them. Here are some tips for effectively handling a complaint:
- Listen attentively and thoroughly to the customer – without interrupting.
- Empathize with their situation and refrain from becoming defensive or making excuses.
- Propose a solution and ensure that it meets the customer’s expectations.
- Clearly communicate the agreed-upon solution and provide a time you intend to have the problem solved.
- Take all the necessary steps to solve the problem.
- Important: Follow up with the customer to make sure their complaint has been adequately addressed. Encourage your customer to bring any future concerns to your attention and assure them that their satisfaction is important to you.
When these simple tips are consistently followed, you can be confident that you are providing the best possible experience for your customers. When they are delighted with the customer service they receive at your gym, you are likely to have a fulfilling, long-term relationship.
As you evaluate your best exercise options, a common question is which cardio machine is most effective. While there is no right answer to this question, there are certain considerations to evaluate.
The Upsides Of The Elliptical
The elliptical machine is one of the most effective cardio machines for exercisers who may deal with joint trouble. Because your feet do not leave the pedals, the elliptical provides low impact exercise. It is much less stressful on the entire body than running on a treadmill. Many elliptical devotees appreciate that certain types of elliptical machines have upper body handles that allow users to give their arms and upper body a good work out as well. The elliptical can provide versatility that other cardio machines cannot. When users switch from pedaling forward to pedaling backward, muscles that do not typically get a good workout from cardio machines are targeted, including calf and hamstring muscles.
Cautions About Using The Elliptical
To prevent injuries and have an effective workout, always maintain proper posture: shoulders back, head up and abs held tight. On the machine, it is important to look forward and avoid leaning on the machine’s handles, letting it support your body weight, because this decreases the work that your body does as well as the calories burned, in addition to leading to injuries. The pace and intensity of the elliptical is set by the person using it. This means that it is very easy to fail to maintain a constant speed, which can result in a workout that burns fewer calories than expected. Be aware that many ellipticals overestimate the amount of calories burned for a workout session. On average, most elliptical users burn about 600 calories per hour of use, but that can vary depending on the user’s weight and build, fitness level and intensity of their workouts.
Who Should Use The Elliptical?
The elliptical is a great machine for anyone who wants to increase their cardiovascular fitness and lose weight. It should be the choice for most exercisers who are just starting a fitness program, who may have injuries, who are older and who are overweight.
The Upsides To The Treadmill
Treadmills are favorites at most gyms because walking and running are motions that are familiar and comfortable. A treadmill offers exercisers an even surface, and is a safe and climate-controlled option. Because a treadmill’s speed is automated, a treadmill user does not have to worry about monitoring their pace the same way that an elliptical user must. Additionally, treadmills offer a variety of exercise options. From interval running to high incline walking, it is easy to create and follow many different workout plans from the comfort of your home or gym.
Cautions About Using The Treadmill
Treadmill surfaces are conditioned to reduce the stress of repeated impacts, but can still be a concern for people with a history of joint pain. Some people complain that the treadmill is boring because they are walking or running without actually going anywhere, and this can lead to lower motivation for regular exercise.
Who Should Use The Treadmill?
The treadmill is the best option for runners who are looking to train all year but who may be challenged by winter weather or who may want the safety of running indoors. Although it does not perfectly mimic a run outdoors or on a track, treadmill running is a great option for anyone training for running outdoors.
Using Both Machines In Your Workouts
It can be good for both your health to alternate between high and low impact means of exercise. This can keep joints healthier and prevent injuries that might result from repetitious movements. With either machine, caloric burn is affected by intensity of a person’s exercise
. Increasing the resistance on an elliptical will cause you to produce a great force, which increases calorie burn. Likewise, increasing the intensity of the treadmill will cause users to burn more calories, not only during the workout but also throughout recovery time.
The cold weather is gone and spring is finally here. As temperatures start rising, many people are excited to leave the house and spend more leisure time outdoors. The sidewalks and greenways start filling up with folks who are eager to stretch their legs on a walk or run, and parks become busier than they have been in months.
Outdoor activity and exercise has significant benefits that can be major motivators for people who are looking for variety in their workouts. It can provide unique mental stimulation with the constantly changing scenery and terrain throughout each workout. An added bonus is that exercising outdoors provides you with direct access to vitamin D from the sun, which not only can improve your mood, but also helps calcium absorption within your bones.
Raleigh is recognized as a healthy and active city that features a number of easily accessible outdoor activities, truly offering something for everyone. Residents’ favorites include some of the following:
Tennis. Raleigh Parks & Recreation has made more than 100 courts at 25 locations available for public use. Some of these facilities also include practice backboards, as well as opportunities for lessons and clinics, leagues, ladders, match play and USTA Junior Team Tennis. These courts provide space for competitive and recreational play, as well as an opportunity to enjoy exercising in a great outdoor environment.
Swimming. The city of Raleigh offers 8 pools throughout the city, with three pools open year round. In addition to providing the pool facilities, the city also offers a wide range of aquatics programs, including lessons, birthday parties, open and lap swim, a city swim team, and a wading and spray pool for young guests. Swimming is a great way for entire families to stay active and cool all summer long. There is an activity or program available for everyone and a fun program at the pool is certainly something that hardly feels like exercise, which makes it a great option for many people.
Running. Few cities have the extensive greenway system that Raleigh does. This network of public open spaces and recreational trails was created specifically for joggers, hikers, and anyone who simply wants a designated place to have fun outside. More than 88 miles of trails in a 3,700 acre (and growing) greenway system currently exist and are available to the public, with trail entrances and exits throughout the city to make access easily available. These greenways make it easy for beginning and advanced runners alike to have a designated space in which to not only exercise but enjoy beautiful Raleigh.
Cycling. Like runners, cyclists in the Raleigh area enjoy a number of biking trails, including the greenways, and many roads feature designated bike lanes as well. There is great availability for a variety of lengths of bike rides on the greenways and trails, which makes it appealing for all levels of riders. Additionally, for mountain bikers, there are nearby parks with more rugged trails and terrain. Whether you are a mountain or road biker, great resources are available, and allow you to get outside and enjoy the weather and the chance to be active.
Outdoor fitness meet-ups.
Many people in Raleigh organize and participate in a variety of fitness meet-ups:
gatherings of people with shared interests or goals who enjoy getting to know new people through their favorite outdoor activities. These groups engage in a wide range of activities from hiking to co-ed pick-up soccer, to standup paddle boarding, as well as a variety of other groups. Outdoor meetups are easily accessible online and take great advantage of the free and outdoor public spaces that Raleigh has to offer. They encourage participants to be active all while enjoying their city and getting to know the people in it.
Although many people sheepishly admit that they do not stretch properly or as often as they should, especially before and after exercise, stretching is a very important part of anyone’s healthy living routine. Whether or not you stretch with a work out, or you simply like to loosen up your muscles, stretching has important and unique benefits, including:
- Increased blood flow to your muscles
- A healthy elevation in your heart rate
- Coordination of your breathing and other key physiological functions that allow your body to work more efficiently
Incorporating stretching into your regular workout can add an entirely new dimension to your fitness, and can have very positive results. Stretching improves your muscle development by enabling you to move more effectively through an entire range of motion, which leads to the development and building of full and long muscles, not muscles that are short and stunted.
It can also reduce injury by gradually elongating the muscle in a manner that limbers up the muscles and tendons, preventing tears. Stretching can be an important part of your warm up, because it encourages blood flow to the muscles, as well as providing them with an oxygen supply and nutrients. Be careful, however, that you are not stretching completely cold muscles. As a warm up, proper stretching should follow 10 minutes of light jogging, biking or walking.
As you stretch, focus on major muscle groups, specifically your calves, thighs, hips, lower back, neck and shoulders. Then shift your focus to stretching the smaller groups of muscles that you use routinely. Stretch symmetrically, meaning that if you stretch your left hamstring, stretch your right one for the same amount of time and with the same intensity and pressure.
As you stretch, incorporate gentle movement, and do not bounce through your stretches. Bouncing can cause small tears in the muscle and leave scar tissue as the muscle heals. This will cause the muscle to tighten. You are much better off to hold your stretch for 30 seconds and perform stretches that include some movement but which will not be jarring to or hard on your muscles. Do not to aim for pain, but look for tension that helps you gauge and increase your flexibility.
If you are stretching in anticipation of a specific sport or activity, make your stretches specific to that activity. For example, soccer players need to pay special attention to their hamstrings, which they rely heavily on. Whatever it is that you are doing, you will perform more effectively and your body will respond well when it is conditioned properly through stretching.
One of the most appealing things about stretching is that it can be done anywhere, at any time. You can find time to work in a good stretching session around your regularly occurring activities. Some suggestions include as you watch television (or even just during commercial breaks), as you read or study, and in any scenario where you would otherwise be sitting down to accomplish a task. Stretching first thing in the morning can be a helpful way to get your blood flowing and to wake you up, but can also be a relaxing routine before bed each evening.
A good goal is to aim for two or three good stretching sessions each week. Stretching regularly is important, because it keeps you flexible, and your ability to stretch more effectively increases. If you only stretch sporadically, you lose a lot of the benefit that you would otherwise have. Like other forms of exercise, your flexibility and stretching improves with the regularity and frequency that it is performed.
Earning your personal training certification can be a very important stepping stone on your career path, as well as an exciting personal achievement that can take your own fitness goals to an entirely new level. Whatever your reason for pursuing your personal training certification, there are a few important things to remember in making your decision to become certified.
Choose a respected and accredited certification program. There are a number of programs that offer certifications and each will have different qualities that appeal to you. One of the essential things to consider when choosing a program is what you are planning to do with your new skill. If you have a specific gym or facility where you want to work, check with them as to their preference for certifications. Some gyms will want trainers that have achieved a certain certification while others simply require that you simply be certified. Do some intensive research to help you learn the differences between programs, then make your choice based on what fits your needs, future plans, schedule and budget.
Research course requirements before making any payments. This might seem like common sense, but it is important before you pay any program costs to make sure that you meet the requirements of your selected program. Most programs require participants to be 18 years or older and to have a high school diploma (or equivalent certification). There are requirements, however, that are unique to each program, and those need to be considered. Some might require CPR certifications or a certain amount of industry experience. Be sure that you are eligible for whatever program you choose.
If offered, attend the live courses. Although live courses often come at an additional cost, many certified personal trainers state that attending those courses is well worth the money charged. They are typically taught by program instructors who have great knowledge of the course and exam. Live courses are valuable for the overview they give, as well as the insight and helpful hints that instructors can offer. Some programs offer additional and very helpful study materials that can only be obtained at the live courses. Of course, every person has to study and prepare in a way that works for them and their individual needs, but it is important to seriously consider live courses if they are offered.
Consider your timeframe. Different certifications offer different timeframes from the time that you sign up for your exam to the actual time you take it. If you feel like certification is more of a “slow-and-steady,” long-term goal, be sure you do not sign up for a course that limits the amount of time you have to study and sit for your exam. As you determine your timeframe, consider the intensity of your program, your schedule (Are you working? In school?), what your educational background is (this might be more difficult if you do not have any sort of exercise science background), and what your learning style is.
Memorize, then apply. Because personal training is an interactive experience, the test will not only ask you important facts and information, but will test you on your ability to apply the material you have learned. It is important to have a strong foundation of knowledge, but it is just as important that you recognize that the test won’t be a regurgitation of information. Rather, it will be a test of application. Some certified trainers suggest that as you study certain motions, acting them out for practice will help you better apply the information you are learning, much better than simply reading it could.
Read the fine print for your certification. There are a variety of miscellaneous things that should also be considered as you pursue your certification. Look into the exam retake policies if you are concerned that you might need to take the exam more than once. Some programs put time limits on exam retakes, others impose fees and some may not give you the chance to retake the exam without going through the entire certification again. Look at the lifetime of the certification you select. While many only last two years, there are some programs that last up to four. Because this is a big time and financial commitment, it is very important that you select the certification program that most closely aligns with your goals and personal needs.
Receiving your personal training certification is exciting, and when carefully thought through and done properly, can be an extremely rewarding accomplishment. Good luck!
There is a good reason that your mom always used to tell you to eat breakfast. Think of the word itself – this is the meal that is breaking the fast that you have been on since going to bed the night before. Breakfast is crucial to getting your metabolism up and running efficiently each morning. It has been shown that regular, healthy breakfast eaters generally weigh less, are in overall better moods, and perform better at work or in school.
Breakfast is the perfect opportunity to get some of the essential nutrients that your body needs to operate most effectively. One of the most important parts of creating a good breakfast is including fiber, protein, omega-3s and sources of good cholesterol. The following tips will help you ensure that you are getting the correct nutrients and foods in your breakfast:
- Opt for low sugar, high fiber, minimally processed breakfast grains. These include 100 percent whole wheat or grain breads, English muffins, tortillas or bagels. Look for grain products that are high in fiber. For instance, steel cut oatmeal has 8 grams of soluble fiber, which is twice as much as instant rolled oats. In addition, be aware of the nutritional facts of the cereal that you select. While many boxes may indicate that a cereal is “healthy,” it is important to choose cereals that are low in sugar, and high in fiber and whole grains.
- Add protein. Consuming proper amounts of protein is essential for maintaining your calorie-burning muscles. There are many great sources of protein-rich breakfast foods: eggs, egg whites, low-fat breakfast meat, Greek yogurt, cheese, milk, and protein shakes or smoothies. There are great vegetarian options as well, including tofu, soy yogurt and milk, and almond milk. Adding protein sets the tone for a day of healthy eating and helps you feel full longer.
- Find sources of “good” fats. Omega-3s are good fats for your brain. While fish are often considered the best source of fatty acids, flax seeds have the highest concentration of omega-3s. Flax seeds can be added to cereal, smoothies, spreads for toast – anything really. It is important, however, to make sure that you choose ground flax; your body cannot break down flax seeds that are still in their casings.
- Look for “good” cholesterol. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is considered good cholesterol and is thought to improve connections between nerves and the brain. Foods like eggs, yogurt and nuts are all sources of HDL and can be excellent foundations for your meal.
You might be thinking that this is all well and good but the problem is that you simply don’t have time for breakfast – your mornings are rushed as it already is, right? Using the information above, you can create these easy breakfasts packed with nutrients and sure to give you the energy you need all day:
- Yogurt parfait to go. Layer berries, Greek yogurt and nuts in a to-go container that can accompany you on your commute or be eaten on the go. You can make this the night before – just leave the nuts out till you are ready to eat to prevent them from getting soggy. For added health, consider mixing in chia seeds or ground flax.
- Whole wheat toast with peanut or almond butter. This easy meal includes important fiber from the whole grains and protein from the nut butter. It can be made quickly, is portable, and if you need something sweet, slicing a banana on top of it adds extra nutrition and a daily fruit serving.
- Homemade breakfast sandwiches. Instead of driving through a fast-food establishment for your morning meal, make your own sandwich on a whole wheat English muffin with eggs, low-fat cheese, reduced- or low-fat breakfast meat like ham or sausage, and tomatoes or avocados for added, fresh nutrition.
Fruit smoothies. These portable breakfasts can be easily tailored to anyone’s personal preference. Blend any combination of favorite frozen fruit with ice and water, a little fruit juice, or milk. Increase your smoothie’s nutrition content by adding in protein powder, Greek yogurt, chia seeds, ground flax or even some greens in the form of kale and spinach.