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We encourage everyone in our family to keep moving even if it means just getting on the treadmill for 20 minutes. It’s so much easier to get kids moving if they’re doing something fun. I chose an up dog/down dog flow for this installment in our Yoga for Kids series because it’s an allover body exercise that feels good and is enjoyable to do. Get on the floor with your child and do this pose flow that offers many benefits:
- encourages blood flow
- stimulates organs
- relieves sinus stuffiness
- improves posture
- stretches entire front and back of body
- builds core and upper body strength
- develops flexibility
Kids learn so much about us by what we take time to do. Do we show them how we appreciate and take care of our wonderful bodies? Spend just one minute a day on the floor with your child doing a yoga pose, and not only will you both will receive healthful benefits, but you’ll be setting a powerful example.
Here’s the second post in a series to help you and your child find more strength, flexibility, balance and focus. This week, we look at Slide, also known as Reverse Plank. When performed regularly, this posture offers many benefits:
- increases strength in the back, glutes, hamstrings, calves and triceps
- improves core strength
- promotes discipline
- develops balance and focus
- opens and stretches chest and shoulders
If you’re looking for one simple move to increase your core strength, this is it. Boat Pose, a staple both in yoga and Pilates classes, is a great alternative to performing dozens of crunches which can be hard on the neck or planks which can stress the wrists. Do this posture with your child and try to maintain it for a minute, but listen to your back. If you feel any strain, bend your knees or lower both feet to the floor. This go-to core move has many benefits:
- builds core strength
- improves balance
- develops focus
- cultivates discipline
Finally, many people find this pose more comfortable when performed on a mat or blanket to cushion the tailbone. Give it a try!
One of the things I love about yoga is that it reminds us of when we were children and turned upside down, rolled around, balanced on our hands and twisted ourselves into strange shapes just for fun. When I teach yoga to kids, they take right to it because they intuitively understand the playful aspect of the poses.
This week starts a series of vlogs highlighting various yoga postures you can share with your children, and you’ll all benefit. To kick it off, let’s try Crow Pose. This arm balance is always a hit with the kids and offers many benefits:
- develops the ability to focus
- increases upper body strength
- improves balance
- cultivates coordination
- builds confidence
If your back aches after standing, you are among many who turn to pain relievers, muscles relaxers and other means to soothe tired muscles. Many back conditions require medical attention, but if your back just hurts, you can definitely ease that pain with stretches and exercise. Standing pelvic tilts not only stretch tight back muscles, they engage your core and develop abdominal strength at the same time. If you incorporate this one move into your daily home life, you will find relief from backaches. And you’ll look taller and slimmer in the process! Stand up and give this a try.
Do you find it hard to carve out time to get to the gym or take a class? You’re like many of us juggling work, home responsibilities, parenting and a myriad of other tasks. Fortunately, you do not need to leave your home to get a good workout. Body-weight only exercises are the rage. Not only are they challenging and effective, they can be done anywhere in the house. Even if you only have 5 minutes to spare while you’re cleaning, you can make it work with an intense, focused move like this Dip & Lift that targets your chest, arms, butt and hamstrings. Start off with a few, work your way up to 3 sets of 10 reps, and come summertime sleeveless weather, you’ll be glad you did.
Vacations are also notorious for packing on a few extra pounds. Head off the vacation weight gain in just minutes a day. Do these five hotel pool moves for three minutes or more to burn calories and work your total body:
- Shoulders, biceps & triceps: while jogging in place, keep your arms straight and move them forward and backward as rapidly as possible
- Shoulders & chest: Jog in place and cross and extend your straight arms.
- Abs & thighs: alternate lifting one knee at a time to your chest as quickly as possible. Stay nice and tall during this movement.
- Hips & inner thighs: stand with your feet together, jump up while extending your straight legs out, then bring your feet together before landing.
- Back, butt & hamstrings: hold on the edge of the pool and flutter-kick straight legs behind you.Be sure to engage your abs and keep you back from arching.
You can increase the difficulty of these moves by performing them more quickly or in deeper water. This will result in even more total calories burned. Even your kids will have fun doing this workout with you.
Whether you’re walking on an icy driveway or holding onto several objects while climbing stairs, you need good balance. But if you have a tough time of it, you’re not alone. Most of my yoga students and clients tell me that balancing postures are the most difficult. Try balancing right now. How was that? Harder than expected?
Because balance is so important to safety, I always include these postures in my classes, but you don’t have to attend a yoga class to develop your equilibrium. One minute of practice a day is all you need. So when your phone rings, stand up and hold the conversation on your toes or one leg. Next time you have to stand on your tiptoes to reach the highest shelf, dust the top of the refrigerator or decorate the tree, you’ll feel the difference.
During my years as a personal trainer, I’ve had the pleasure of working with all kinds of people. For the most part, they share two dilemmas: not knowing what exercises to do and not having enough time to do them. Fortunately, when you correctly perform the best exercises to meet your goal, it doesn’t take nearly as much time as you might think. I’ve chosen three movements to effectively work your core right on your kitchen chair. Work up to three sets of ten of each, then cycle through them again if you have the time.
- Seated Elbow-to-Knee: works obliques
- Bicycle: tones every muscle in the abdominal group
- Pendulum: strengthens upper body in conjunction with abs and hip flexors
Next time you finish your morning coffee, push back from the table and give these a try!
No time for leg day at the gym? No problem! These three moves you can do on your stairs are surprisingly challenging and effective:
- Split Lunges: work quads and glutes
- Side Lunges: firm inner thighs and hamstrings
- Step-Ups: strengthen and shape glutes
If you have the energy, go up and down the stairs in between each move for an even better workout.