What Is Pilates?

There are many forms of exercise programs. Pilates is among the most popular. In the United States alone, there are about 5 million people who are regularly participating in various Pilates sessions and classes. It is estimated that more individuals are doing Pilates tasks on their own, right at the comfort of their own homes during their free time. What is Pilates? Why should you be doing it?

To begin with, Pilates is an exercise system that focuses strategically on improving the body’s strength, flexibility, and posture without building up any bulk. The method involves a series of highly controlled movements that are performed using specially and specifically designed spring-resistant apparatus. Pilates could also be performed on the floor (a method known as mat work) without the need to use any tool or equipment. The sessions should be supervised by no less than specially trained instructors.

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You should understand that Pilates is a form of a resistance exercise. It is not actually aerobic or cardiovascular although through doing Pilates movements, you would observe that your heart rate would surely increase. In comparison, it is more identical to weight lifting than to biking, jogging, and many other forms of popular aerobic activities.

The two key elements are spinal alignment and core muscle strength. Pilates targets the core musculature, which is loosely defined as the abdomen, the spine, the pelvis, the hips, and all other muscles that support such structures. Included in the main core muscles are the external and internal obliques (sides of the abdomen), the erector spinae (those at the back along the spine), the rectus abdominis (‘six-pack’), the hip flexors (those in the upper legs and the pelvis), and the transverse abdominis (situated deep into the gut).

During any Pilates session, the instructor would continuously prompt you to focus deeply into your core muscles. You should also pay attention to your breath as well as to the quality of movements and appropriate contraction of the muscles. The key elements of the program would be emphasized in every session. The main objective is to establish coordination among the body, the mind, and even the spirit. Developer Joseph Pilates called this coordination ‘contrology.’

Pilates was developed and created during the 1920s. Joseph Pilates was a physical trainer (died in 1967) who was active in developing targeted exercise routines. The program was originally created for physical rehabilitation purposes. Several of the first few people who were required to perform Pilates were American soldiers who returned injured from the war. It was also required for dancers who injured themselves during rehearsals and performances.

Since the early part of the 20th century, the basic tenets of Pilates have been purposely preserved. Even today, despite evident modifications and variations, Pilates still remains very truthful to its origins. It is not surprising that it is currently one of the most popular forms of exercise programs. There are classes and group sessions that are held regularly in gyms and fitness centers for people who aim to perform Pilates exercise routines. Numerous health and fitness experts keep on recommending it to people.

 

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A List of Foods that Speed up Metabolism

What the Diet Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know

If someone handed you, absolutely free, a list of foods that speed up metabolism, and all those foods were really good for you in other ways, would you eat them? You’d probably be surprised to find several foods you like, maybe even some favorites, on the list. And some of them might be foods that you avoid because the diet industry has convinced you that these foods are off-limits. Low-fat dieters shouldn’t eat nuts because they’re high in fat, low-carb dieters should avoid grains at all costs. Serious low-carbers have even been convinced to shy away from fruits and vegetables because of the natural sugars in them!

Despite all the low-fat, low-carb, high-carb, eat-all-the-celery-you-want-but-nothing-else diets that abound today and make the diet industry billions of dollars a year, people seem to keep getting fatter. Clearly, the diet gurus don’t know all the answers. Or if they know, they’re not telling, at least not for free. So instead of paying another $29.95, $100 or more on the latest ‘expert’s book, video or ‘plan,’ use common sense to lose weight. You must burn more calories than you eat, bottom line, no matter what kind of a diet you’re on. Keep your weekly calories in a healthy range, and get some exercise. But there are some extra things you can do to make the process easier, more healthy and nutritious, including foods that actually help you burn more calories, faster, just by eating them. Start with this list of foods that speed up metabolism.

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Sardines, tuna and salmon are high on the list of foods that speed up metabolism. Not only are they great sources of heart-healthy fat and Omega-3 fatty acids, they help lower your levels of a hormone called leptin. It’s easier to lose weight when your leptin levels stay in the lower ranges. Eat more fish, and if you don’t like fish, take fish oil supplements. Another good source of Omega-3 and monounsaturated fat that boosts metabolism is olive oil.

Hot and spicy peppers like cayenne, habanero and jalapeno make the list of foods that speed up metabolism. The capsaicin in them that makes them hot can boost your metabolism for up to 3 hours after you eat. Opt for lower-fat and good carb spicy dishes to get even more benefit from the fat-burning qualities of these spices.

Whole grains are among some of the best foods that speed up metabolism, because they digest slowly and keep your blood sugar levels even. Cinnamon also has blood sugar-regulating properties, so use of this spice can help keep your metabolism chugging at high speed. Protein-rich foods like nuts, eggs, beans and lean meats give your body the needed protein to keep everything running smoothly.

Finally, drink plenty of water to keep your body operating at top efficiency. Though it’s a beverage, water is actually high on the list of foods that speed up metabolism, that you can enjoy every day.

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How to Eat Right in 10 Minutes

It’s Thursday afternoon, you have thirty minutes to get from work, go by the house and pickup Heath, Jamie’s already at basketball practice, oh, and what about dinner? Does this scenario seem familiar? If you’re a working Mom, I can promise that it is a familiar scene.

So how do you make healthy food choices, when you only have fifteen minutes to prepare your meals? Well, the first thing you should realize is that quite often, healthy choices do not necessarily equate to two hour meals. You can make healthy food choices that are as quick to prepare or pickup as the unhealthy ones.

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For example, sub sandwiches are a healthier alternative than pizza or burger and fries, but do not really take any longer to pickup. Salads can be prepared in just a few short minutes, and provide for the necessary vegetable daily requirement. Don’ care for the usual salad? Make a Waldorf or fruit salad, either way you’ve changed it up a bit, and still provided a health choice. As for the dressing, oil based or vinegar based dressings are much better for you than the cream based, and are really more tasteful.

Okay, suppose salads aren’t what your kids like. What about other prepared foods that are also healthy foods? Healthy Choice is a brand of frozen entrees or meals that take only a few minutes in the microwave to prepare, and are still healthy alternatives. Baked rather than fried is always a better choice, and many supermarkets today offer baked products fresh from their bakery, ready to go.

Still aren’t satisfied? You want a place to go and actually sit down and eat. There are still many healthy alternatives for a family when going to eat at a restaurant. Restaurants that offer buffet style meals are great choices. Thanks to many of the health conscious consumers out there, buffets have added baked, broiled, and fresh food choices to the display.

Fresh fruits and vegetables are usually always available on food bars, along with broiled or steamed vegetables. Meats are just about as varied, with many of the choices being offered in a fried and baked option. And if you’re up for dessert, watermelons and grapes are just as satisfying as the Boston cream pie.

You can always throw up objections when it comes to healthy eating, the real trick is in realizing it’s your body that will suffer. Or your children that will suffer from the unhealthy choices you make. Why not start with healthy options, set the right example, and you will have children that make health conscious intelligent decisions about their eating.

Okay, now back to our Thursday afternoon juggling act. You’ve dropped Heath at baseball practice, picked Jamie up from basketball, and you have exactly fifteen minutes to make a decision about dinner. As you sit at the red-light contemplating your options, there is a Subway, a Pizza Hut, and a grocery store with a deli in the same shopping center. How can this still be a difficult choice to make?

 

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