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Sneak Some Fitness into Your Holidays

 

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"The most wonderful time of the year" is upon us. Twinkling lights, office parties, family fun, and expectations of joy and merriment abound. Children wait breathlessly for the holidays, while adults often experience a mixture of excitement, feeling overwhelmed and melancholy.

 

 

 

With all our big plans for fun, we know that we should take care of ourselves during this whirlwind time. But we soon get discouraged and often give up, opting instead to "take care of myself in January." But,with a little strategy, you can have an outrageous holiday season while mitigating stress and depression.

 

 

 

Live in comfortable shoes so that you can take advantage of using your body physically at any moment. Instead of driving around in circles for that perfect spot at the mall, park at the far end of the parking lot and enjoy a little cardio. Use the stairs versus the elevator.

 

 

 

While traveling by air, carry your own bags to do some strength training. Avoid the moving walkways. Stretch, do isometric exercises and practice deep breathing while at the gate. If you get stranded waiting for your plane, you may as well take advantage of it and take a brisk walk around the terminal. You will feel great and your stress level will certainly drop.

 

 

 

Workout before going to stressful family meals.This will help with nervous eating, as well as your ability to cope with those "interesting" conversations.

 

 

 

Walk with your family to see the neighborhood lights. Avoiding the car can give you a great time of family bonding while establishing a tradition of holidayexercise.

 

 

 

And while you're at it, get a massage and enjoy a hot bath!

 

 

Socializing and eating questionable food is part of the fun of the holidays. Sneaking in a bit of exercise will keep your energy up, your stress level down and your waist line in check. You can then begin January with high energy, a great sense of accomplishment, and ready to make 2012 a fantastic year.

 


Serious Athletes Cheer!

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Cheerleaders Are Serious Athletes

Gone are the days when cheerleaders stood on the sidelines without breaking a sweat and "rah rahed" while shaking pom poms. Today's cheerleaders participate in a heavy-duty contact sport that demands a high level of athleticism, strength, flexibility, balance and endurance, all of which are driven by the power of the Core. Cheer now requires a high level of discipline, long practice hours, and infinite bravery. According to the Sports Injury Center and National Cheer Safety Foundation, over 70% of cheerleading injuries are strains, sprains and soft tissue injuries, and cheerleading accounts for over 65% of the catastrophic injuries in female sports. The athletic demands of today's cheer can no longer be ignored.

 

These young athletes (most aged 5-18, unless they continue through college and professionally) dance hard, lift their teammates overhead, tumble like gymnasts, and get tossed around like confetti at a wedding. Take a moment to think about the strength it takes to do all that! It's no wonder that hamstrings and groins get pulled, backs get injured, knees, ankles and wrists get sprained, and shoulders get dislocated. And because cheerleaders often start stunting very young, there is a high potential for strain on immature joint structures that may not have yet developed the muscularity to keep the joints stable.

 

The best coaches take conditioning seriously and stress safety. They drill basics, teach progressions, and do a great job trying to keep their teams healthy. But with the high number of injuries sustained performing super human feats, it is clear that cheerleading has developed into a sport that deserves athletic kudos and requires a high level of cross training in order to be successful and healthy.


So whether you're a solid base or a flyer who craves anti-gravity, cross train for success. A strong conditioning program starts with solid Core strength, flexibility, balance, healthy body mechanics, and addresses the muscular imbalances of the sport. Don't let the smile and pep fool you. Cheerleading deserves serious respect. Train both your body and mind for success. Go Team!

If We Skipped the Elevator, Would We Still Need the Stair Master?

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 Gone are the days when most Americans had to fetch water to bathe, forage for food in the forest, chop wood to build homes, chase after large prey, and farm the land just to get dinner. In other words, we've lost our built-in daily exercise. Have you ever stopped to think that the fantastic level of comfort that our culture enjoys is killing us with convenience and ease? We stumble out of bed, walk just a few steps, and run a hot shower. We press "heat" and we suddenly have breakfast. We exit our garage via an electric door opener, drive to work where we ease into an elevator, then sit all day in a chair. We even go through the drive-through at lunch to keep from getting out of our car and walking inside. I'm sure most of us would agree that getting up to change the TV channel is now way too much work. In other words, we have perfected the ability to do the least amount of physical activity possible. Now we have to figure out how to get to the gym in order to put movement back into our bodies. Strange, right?

Want a couple of really great tricks to get some exercise and movement back into your daily routine?
Park your car down the street from your home, at the far end of the parking lot at work, at the grocery store, and at all of your errands.
Take the stairs vs. the elevator.
Misplace your remote control for the TV.

If you are recovering from joint pain, you may have to gently build up to this new movement as your body adjusts to more activity. By adding these baby steps, you will be amazed at how quickly you build new strength and endurance. These extra few minutes of exercise will soon add up and have you energized and focused for the rest of your day, easily making up for the minutes that you "spent" doing the exercise. So while you may not need to sprint to catch your evening meal, you'll soon be looking for excuses to run more errands. Keep yourself moving so that our modern life and technology (which is designed to make our lives easier) doesn't kill you slowly and comfortably with its "Ahhh" factor.


Gotta' Love Pilates, it Makes Golfers Great!

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Who says that golfers aren't athletes?

Most of us agree that basketball players, gymnasts, swimmers, and even professional dancers are athletes. It's expected that serious athletes approach their sport with serious physical conditioning to compete well. Whether it's traditional weightlifting and stretching regimens, to more progressive workouts found in Pilates or yoga, athletes know that they must build strength, flexibility and balance if they are to play well, avoid injury, and gain an edge over their competition.

So what about golf? As golf is often seen as a kinder, gentler, social activity, many people start playing as older adults or casually on weekends, and overlook training their bodies for high level athletics. But because of the percussive force and rotational torque through the body, the golf swing requires a high level of athleticism to be effective and sustainable. How are players able to produce more driving power and minimize the impact on their joints year after year? By building a finely tuned physical instrument armed with Core strength, flexibility, balance, and healthy body mechanics.

Strengthening the Core (the deep muscles that create stability in the spine and pelvis) gives us untapped power, explosiveness, and helps protect us from injury. Improving flexibility helps our range of motion, creates an ease of movement, and the ability to distribute force more uniformly throughout the body, which prevents us from over taxing joints in areas such as the shoulders and lower back. Balance and healthy body mechanics help build a smooth and consistent swing with less effort. And a well designed golf conditioning program not only helps your game improve and speeds recovery after long weekends on the green, but enhances your daily life with more energy and fewer aches and pains.

So if you want great club head speed, a smoother swing, longer drives, and faster recovery time, tap into your inner athlete. Regardless of your age or fitness level, by taking your conditioning to the next level, you can improve your handicap while improving the overall quality of your life.









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Love Golf? Tap Into Your Inner Athlete
Improve Your Handicap
Smoother Swing & Longer Drives
Less Aches & Pains

I’m able to maintain & lower my handicap, continue to excel, & play at a more competitive level." Joe Z., 0.0 Handicap, Aspire Client


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From "Brick Man" To "Gumby" Golfer



Client of the Month, Joe Z.

 

"Before Pilates, I didn't even really know what my Core was and now I can feel it working during my daily activities."

 

Joe is an energetic, personable, smart man who truly loves golf. In his mid-50's and with a 0.0 handicap, he competes at a high level in amateur golf tournaments around the country. When Joe walked into Aspire 18 months ago, he was frustrated, in pain, and wasn't sure where to turn. The long hours on the golf course, coupled with many hours at his desk at work, had grown into severe back pain complete with several herniated discs, a torn rotator cuff which had turned into frozen shoulder, neck pain, knee pain, and a multitude of other daily aches that made his life difficult and playing golf very painful. People were telling him that he may have to retire from golf, as his body was "giving out" on him. "When I started Pilates over 1 ½ years ago, I was searching for something that would eliminate joint and muscle pain without causing more injury. I was also searching for a way to still play golf and get better." While working with a chiropractor and a massage therapist, a local body worker told Joe that he should try Pilates for Core strength and joint stability.

 

When Joe started Pilates, he was lacking strength in key areas of his body that help keep pain at bay and help with athletic performance. He was also extremely tight and inflexible, which quickly earned him the friendly nickname of "Brick Man." As with all of our clients, we started very slowly and steadily with Joe. We began building from the "inside out" by first strengthening the deep core muscles in order to stabilize the spine. Then we began addressing the rest of his body with good body mechanics and strengthening. "Tonya has been a life savior. She has given her time and energy to identifying my individual bad habits, weak muscles, and stressed joints, and to providing me with specific exercises that have not only helped reduce my pain level, but have also increased my strength, flexibility and balance."

 

Not long after starting Pilates, Joe noticed a big decrease in his back pain, which was followed by reduced pain in his other joints. Once we got his body mechanics working better, we began building his strength, flexibility and balance. This continued to improve the comfort in his body and then we were able to start golf specific Pilates training. Using not only traditional Reformer and Cadillac Pilates machine exercises, we added balancing on props that wobble, rotation on moving objects, swinging the golf club while standing on unstable and tricky surfaces, and breathing techniques to increase rotation and power while driving the club. Soon, his friends noticed that he was suddenly "going long" and wondered if this Pilates stuff that he was doing was really working.

 

 

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"I am able to play and practice more and

my body mechanics are much better, allowing

me to swing the club more effectively,

producing more club head speed."

 

 

After a few months, he noted that he was able to play and practice for longer and longer periods of time without feeling like he was "shredded." With Pilates, Joe is now able to play 36 holes a day with little or no pain. And now, even when he is sore, the pain is less dramatic and his recovery time is faster. "I am now able to help myself when my muscles get tired or stressed. I now know which exercises will help reduce my pain and speed my recovery." While Pilates has helped eliminate much of the pain that Joe has had in his body for such a long time, the bonus is that it has also given him new and untapped strength, which in turn has improved his golf game. Pilates is a fantastic form of training which focuses on your body's specific needs. "Pilates has really changed my life and taught me about my body and its unique traits. With my new found flexibility, I am able to maintain and lower my handicap, continue to excel, and play at a more competitive level." A reflection of his new found flexibility is Joe's new nickname at Aspire - "Gumby." Golf is an integral part of Joe's life, and now he has many more years to hit the ball as his golf continues to improve and his body continues on its path to happiness. The overall shift in Joe's body not only has given him new power, endurance, and a better quality of life, but it has given him many additional years of joy playing his beloved golf. Best of luck, Joe! Here's to fewer strokes, longer drives and a pain-free life on the green.

 


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