Friday, May 8, 2009

Tai chi: Improved stress reduction, balance, agility for all

The ancient art of tai chi uses gentle flowing movements to reduce the stress of today's busy lifestyles and improve health. Find out how to get started.

The graceful images of people gliding through dance-like poses as they practice tai chi (TIE-chee) are compelling. Simply watching them is relaxing. Tai chi, in fact, is often described as "meditation in motion" because it promotes serenity through gentle movements — connecting the mind and body.

Originally developed in China as a form of self-defense, tai chi is a graceful form of exercise that has existed for some 2,000 years. Practiced regularly, tai chi can help you reduce stress and enjoy other health benefits.

Understanding tai chi

Tai chi, sometimes called tai chi chuan, is a noncompetitive, self-paced system of gentle physical exercise and stretching. To do tai chi, you perform a series of postures or movements in a slow, graceful manner. Each posture flows into the next without pausing.

Anyone, regardless of age or physical ability, can practice tai chi. It doesn't take physical prowess. Rather, tai chi emphasizes technique over strength.

Tai chi is used to:
- Reduce stress
- Increase flexibility
- Improve muscle strength and definition
- Increase energy, stamina and agility
- Increase feelings of well-being

Tai chi has more than 100 possible movements and positions. You can find several that you like and stick with those, or explore the full range. The intensity of tai chi varies somewhat depending on the form or style practiced. Some forms of tai chi are more fast-paced than others, for instance. However, most forms are gentle and suitable for everyone. And they all include rhythmic patterns of movement that are coordinated with breathing.

Although tai chi is generally safe, consider talking with your doctor before starting a new program. This is particularly important if you have any problems with your joints, spine or heart.

Stress reduction and other benefits of tai chi

Like other practices that bring mind and body together, tai chi can reduce stress. During tai chi, you focus on movement and breathing. This combination creates a state of relaxation and calm. Stress, anxiety and tension should melt away as you focus on the present, and the effects may last well after you stop your tai chi session.

Tai chi may also help your overall health, although it's not a substitute for traditional medical care. Tai chi is generally safe for people of all ages and levels of fitness. Older adults may especially find tai chi appealing because the movements are low impact and put minimal stress on muscles and joints. Tai chi may also be helpful if you have arthritis or are recovering from an injury.

Despite its ancient history, tai chi has been studied scientifically only in recent years. And that research is suggesting that tai chi may offer numerous other benefits beyond stress reduction, including:
- Reducing anxiety and depression
- Improving balance and coordination
- Reducing the number of falls
- Improving sleep quality, such as staying asleep longer at night and feeling more - alert during the day
- Slowing bone loss in women after menopause
- Lowering blood pressure
- Improving cardiovascular fitness
- Relieving chronic pain
- Improving everyday physical functioning

Learning to do tai chi

Wondering how to get started in tai chi? You don't need any special clothing or equipment to do tai chi. To gain full benefits, however, it may be best to seek guidance from a qualified tai chi instructor.

A tai chi instructor can teach you specific positions and how to regulate your breathing. An instructor also can teach you how to practice tai chi safely, especially if you have injuries, chronic conditions, or balance or coordination problems. Although tai chi is slow and gentle, with virtually no negative side effects, injuries are possible if tai chi isn't done properly. It's possible you could strain yourself or overdo it when first learning. Or if you have balance problems, you could fall during tai chi.

You can find tai chi classes in many communities today. Contact your local senior center, YMCA or YWCA, health club, community education center or wellness facility for help finding qualified instructors.

During tai chi classes, the instructor can give you personal guidance and correct any errors in your style before they become habit. Eventually, you may feel confident enough to do tai chi on your own. But if you like the social element, consider sticking with group classes.

Putting tai chi into practice

To reap the greatest stress reduction benefits from tai chi, consider practicing it regularly. Many people find it helpful to practice tai chi in the same place and at the same time every day to develop a routine. But if your schedule is erratic, do tai chi whenever you have a few minutes.

You can even draw on the soothing concepts of tai chi without performing the actual movements if you get stuck in stressful situations — a traffic jam or a work conflict, for instance.

These are some wonderful exrcises, I've tried them myself and I can seriously say that they really work and even when you are so tired and out of balance, it helps you restablish your balance and it makes you feel so much better! Just try:D

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity

Need motivation to exercise? Here are seven ways exercise can improve your life — starting today!
Want to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than old-fashioned exercise.

The merits of exercise — from preventing chronic health conditions to boosting confidence and self-esteem — are hard to ignore. And the benefits are yours for the taking, regardless of age, sex or physical ability. Need more convincing? Check out seven specific ways exercise can improve your life.
1. Exercise improves your mood.

Need to blow off some steam after a stressful day? A workout at the gym or a brisk 30-minute walk can help you calm down.

Exercise stimulates various brain chemicals, which may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed than you were before you worked out. You'll also look better and feel better when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem. Exercise even reduces feelings of depression and anxiety.
2. Exercise combats chronic diseases.

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent osteoporosis? Regular exercise might be the ticket.

Regular exercise can help you prevent — or manage — high blood pressure. Your cholesterol will benefit, too. Regular exercise boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or "good," cholesterol while decreasing low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or "bad," cholesterol. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly by lowering the buildup of plaques in your arteries.

And there's more. Regular exercise can help you prevent type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and certain types of cancer.
3. Exercise helps you manage your weight.

Want to drop those excess pounds? Trade some couch time for walking or other physical activities.

This one's a no-brainer. When you exercise, you burn calories. The more intensely you exercise, the more calories you burn — and the easier it is to keep your weight under control. You don't even need to set aside major chunks of time for working out. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walk during your lunch break. Do jumping jacks during commercials. Better yet, turn off the TV and take a brisk walk. Dedicated workouts are great, but activity you accumulate throughout the day helps you burn calories, too.
4. Exercise strengthens your heart and lungs.

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Don't throw in the towel. Regular exercise can leave you breathing easier.

Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. In fact, regular exercise helps your entire cardiovascular system — the circulation of blood through your heart and blood vessels — work more efficiently. Big deal? You bet! When your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you'll have more energy to do the things you enjoy.
5. Exercise promotes better sleep.

Struggling to fall asleep? Or stay asleep? It might help to boost your physical activity during the day.

A good night's sleep can improve your concentration, productivity and mood. And, you guessed it, exercise is sometimes the key to better sleep. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. The timing is up to you — but if you're having trouble sleeping, you might want to try late afternoon workouts. The natural dip in body temperature five to six hours after you exercise might help you fall asleep.
6. Exercise can put the spark back into your sex life.

Are you too tired to have sex? Or feeling too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Exercise to the rescue.

Regular exercise can leave you feeling energized and looking better, which may have a positive effect on your sex life. But there's more to it than that. Exercise improves your circulation, which can lead to more satisfying sex. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don't exercise, especially as they get older.
7. Exercise can be — gasp — fun!

Wondering what to do on a Saturday afternoon? Looking for an activity that suits the entire family? Get physical!

Exercise doesn't have to be drudgery. Take a ballroom dancing class. Check out a local climbing wall or hiking trail. Push your kids on the swings or climb with them on the jungle gym. Plan a neighborhood kickball or touch football game. Find an activity you enjoy, and go for it. If you get bored, try something new. If you're moving, it counts!

Are you convinced? Good. Start reaping the benefits of physical activity today!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Breathing for Relaxation

Beginning students often ask for instructions on the "right" way to breathe. Alas, there's no single answer to that question, since the optimal breathing pattern at any given moment depends on the type of practice. Restorative yoga focuses solely on relaxation, though, and emphasizes breathing that creates calm and serene states of being. When you settle into restorative poses, try the following techniques for cultivating breathing patterns that are hallmarks of relaxation and well-being.

MOVE THE BELLY WITH THE BREATH. When we are at ease, the diaphragm is the primary engine of the breath. As we inhale, this domelike muscle descends toward the abdomen, displacing the abdominal muscles and gently swelling the belly. As we exhale, the diaphragm releases back toward the heart, enabling the belly to release toward the spine.

During high-stress times, it's common to heave the upper chest and grip the muscles in the shoulders and throat. When we're at rest, the muscles of the upper chest remain soft and relaxed as we breathe, and the real work occurs in the lower rib cage. To promote this type of breathing pattern, consciously relax the jaw, throat, neck, and shoulders, and envision the breath sweeping into the deepest parts of the lungs as you breathe in and out.

Although some breaths may be deeper or faster than others, when we're relaxed, the alternating rhythm of the inhalations and exhalations feels like a lullaby—smooth, soft, and uninterrupted by jerks and jags. Consciously relaxing into this wavelike, oceanic quality of the breath deepens our sense of peace and ease.

LENGTHEN THE EXHALATIONS. When we feel stressed, our exhalations tend to grow short and choppy. When we're relaxed, though, the exhalations extend so completely that they are often longer than the inhalations. Some teachers even instruct that if we're deeply relaxed, each exhalation will be twice as long as the inhalation. To facilitate this, try gently extending each exhalation by one or two seconds.

In our most relaxed state, the end of each exhalation is punctuated by a short pause. Lingering in this sweet spot can be deeply satisfying and can evoke feelings of profound quiet and stillness.

When we are at ease, the whole body participates in the breathing process. Imagine a sleeping baby: When he breathes in and out, the belly swells and releases, the hips rock to and fro, the shoulders bob, and the spine gently undulates. This offers a mini-massage for the muscles and organs of the whole body, and turns each breath into a soothing melody that further calms and quiets every cell within.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

How do get rid of cellulite?

A type of massage that helps you get rid of cellulite.
Cellulite is a problem that affects women all over the world and it's easy to prevent it. Most factors come from a bad diet, smoking, sedentariness, not getting enough rest and wearing clothes that are too tight.
1.Phisical exercises
In a supine position with your feet supported on the floor and with your knees bent. Lift your body and stay like this as much as you can. It helps you strain and relax your muscles.

Stay in a walking position with one foot forward, stretch your back and bent your knees. Balancing it up and down as much as you can then change the foot.

Lying on one side with your lower leg bent and the upper one stretched,raise and lower slowly the upper leg. Do this exercise with each leg for at least 10 times. Repeat often this exercise.

Use caffeine for your skin. Use coffee grind on a wet skin and bind with a plastic sheet. Remain like this for 30 minutes.

Take magnesium and vitamin E everyday. Take baths with marina salt which makes your tissues stronger.

Use ivy cream against cellulite.

You can have a beautifule skin just by following these tips!