Finding Balance in Your Workout
I must admit I’m a cardio-holic. Once I found my groove in the gym I became dedicated to working hard. I prided myself on leaving it all on the gym floor and crawling away in a trail of sweat. If someone wanted to take a walk, I wanted to roller blade. When I was recovering from knee surgery I found water aerobics too slow and instead swam laps. Who had time for the gentle flow of yoga?
To those committed to working out on most days of the week the challenge becomes how to work out harder or more efficiently. A new 45-minute cardio-strength training class I teach called “C9” has become a big hit because it crams a lot of high impact exercises into 45 minutes. It’s a rigorous session driving your heart rate up with callisthenic drills and weight lifting and still leaves an extra 15 minutes for your shower, or if you’re smart to jump in the hot tub to relax your muscles.
I can relate. People are busy and they want to get the most out of the hour they’ve sacrificed for the gym. If the government is urging us to get between 30-60 minutes of physical activity a day often people feel like time is wasted trying a new exercise or slowing down by taking a walk or yoga.
What my fellow cardio addicts must realize is by slowing down you can gain balance and actually improve your fitness level and allow the body to gain strength and stamina.
I used to think finding balance in exercising meant making sure you had both strength training and cardiovascular exercise. Now after many hard workouts followed by a long recovery with aches and pains I am discovering the benefits of slowing down.
Are you …
-Losing motivation to exercise
-Not seeing results from all your time at the gym
-Suffering injuries often.
If yes, it may be time to slow down and get balance.
Yin Yoga expert Bernie Clark warns too much of anything can be unhealthy. He coaches the yin to the yang side of exercise. Yang being the intense exercise of stressing the muscles while yin is the softer relaxing exercise of stressing joints and ligaments. An important part of both is then resting to allow the body to recover.
Even yogis can do too much flowing through yoga poses and put too much stress on the body. He warns the ligaments and tendons are plastic while muscles are elastic. Muscles can stretch when taking on stress while ligaments and tendons can only lengthen 4-10% before being damaged. Clark gives the example of bending a credit card back and forth repeatedly over time until eventually it will break. The joints can be strengthened but not through force and vigor, but by relaxing into a stretching position.
If you’re hitting the gym hard on a regular basis schedule in some softer gentler exercise time once or twice a week. Take a walk or a leisurely swim. Yoga is a wonderful low impact workout unless you’re pushing yourself through the most intense postures on a regular bases. If you are, take a Yin Yoga class and soften. Find the yin to your yang and stay healthier. Remember to get plenty of rest, water and talk to your doctor about trying new exercises.
The complete Guide to Yin Yoga: http://www.yinyoga.com
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