Looking for a little Baaaamaste in your life? Here's what goat yoga is all about, and some places across the country where you can try it for yourself.
Some people prefer a simple workout, a minimalist sweat sesh. If you’re like us and enjoy being extra at the gym, then let us help trick out your fitness gear stash. The beauty of these little gym accessories is that they don’t interfere with or get in the way of a workout. Rather, they alleviate some of the annoyances that prevent us from turning 100 percent focus over to the work.
You know, like when your boobs are spinning around like a tennis ball in a dryer and all you want to do is finish this 5K...you get a sturdier bra that’s actually made to support those double-something tatas!
Instead of fidgeting with a slippery wedding ring or constantly readjusting your undies, you could just wear the right stuff from the start and have an all-around less irritating workout!
Married to the Grind
After you’ve said I do, everyone’s saying I don’t want to deal with this ring during a workout! Whether you want to protect your precious jewelry, or hate the slip and slide of finger sweat, sometimes it’s worth just leaving your ring at home. The Qalo silicone bands are a brilliant, and super cute, substitute. In a rainbow of colors and styles, and designs that are even customizable, you can comfortably don an I’m taken badge at the gym.
Put Some Junk on Your Trunk
You better believe the fanny pack is back! Frankly, we wonder why it ever left. Is there a more utilitarian piece of gear? Since its fall in the early 90s we’ve been trying to balance our keys, ID, and sunblock when we go out on a run. Finally! Everything has a place again. And unlike its first round of popularity, our music device actually fits inside. You can find one just about anywhere to suit any style - from Etsy to major sporting good stores to the trendiest brands.
Lookin’ Real Goodr
Is there anything more annoying during a workout than when your sunglasses treat your nose like a zip line and just keep sliding down? OK, maybe the guy who grunts after every. single. rep. But back to the point, Goodr sunglasses punch this peeve right in the peepers. This super fun brand has designed running shades that do not slip, are super comfortable, come in the brightest, funnest colors, are even polarized, and cost less than $40. Sounds too gooder to be true, doesn’t it?
Hold the Wedgies
If slippery sunglasses suck, then undies that can’t stand up to even a modest workout are a real pain in the ass. The Candi Factory makes the most adorable undies that comfortably hug your hips and hold a no-slip-grip on your booty whether you’re chasing chaturangas or running races. The designs on their breathable bamboo/Lycra material are fresh and charming, and they last just shy of forever.
Do Look Down
All the jingle jangle of mantra and inspirational bracelets and necklaces can really weigh down a workout. That’s why we like these little Foot Notes from Momentum. These badges of motivational wisdom lace right into your shoes and serve as a reminder to Just Breathe, Run Happy, Shut Up Legs, be Relentless, or just about anything else you need to have shouted up at you. Love the ENELL motto of UNSHAKABLE? We have an awesome Foot Note for you!
Not every single workout needs to be an intense sweat drenching, muscle crushing, endorphin boosting experience. Sometimes simpler, lighter exercises to keep the body moving are all you need.
Just because a workout is lighter doesn’t mean it’s less impactful or meaningful. Unless you’re training to sprint or get your name on the board at a cycling class, speed was never the name of this game. Here are a few you should add to repertoire when you need a change or an easier day at the gym.
A lot of muscle toning and strength building can occur when you slow down and are much more intentional with your movements. You’re also much less prone to injury and can have more awareness to make necessary adjustments in the moment. Use lighter weights and slow the tempo or pace of each rep. Then take five seconds to lift the weight, hold and breathe for five seconds, then take five seconds to lower the weight back down. Increasing the time the muscle is under tension is where the muscle really develops.
Truly one of the best exercises you can do is just put one foot in front of the other. Some is better than none, but goals of 5,000 and 10,000 steps a day reap tremendous overall health benefits. Walk when you’re not in the mood to do anything else, when you’re recovering from an injury, or want to turn a casual sit and chat to a more productive use of time. It can be done virtually anywhere and requires nothing more than a well-fitting pair of supportive athletic shoes.
Few exercises offer the least impact with the most resistance as does swimming. Indoor pools mean you can tackle this workout year round, and no matter age or physical ability, swimming, treading water, doing water aerobics, or any of the like will give you a quality total body workout.
If the cardio and strength building benefits of those don’t quite hit your fitness sweet spot, check out these 18 other low-intensity activities that make for a lite workout with all the benefits.
- Tai Chi
- Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP)
- Pole Dancing
- Rock climbing/Bouldering
- Horseback Riding
If you're a fan of lighter impact activities, check out the ENELL LITE bra - it offers comfort and support, and works well as an everyday bra.
Hear that? It’s the collective cry of moms everywhere as their kids are released from school for the summer and carefully curated routines and schedules crumble under the weight of construction paper crafts and final report cards being returned home. Summer vacation is a blessing and a curse, and more so the former for those who can embrace the madness.
Turning these lemons into lemonade may require a little ingenuity and planning...and exercise...but is totally worth it for you and the kids.
Most moms are quick to usher their kids outside because little bodies need to move. Totally true, but here’s an interesting finding...kids are as active (or sedentary) as their parents. Apparently do as I say not as I do doesn’t apply to moving those tiny bodies if mom and dad are kicked back and relaxing.
The study was conducted by Vanderbilt University Medical Center and found that for every sedentary minute by the parent, the child increased sedentary behavior by one-tenth of a minute. That can add up during the long days of summer. The more inactive mom and dad are, the more inactive the kids are. Conversely, the more active parents are, the more active the kids are!
The study found an optimal 40 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) each day improved total physical activity, and the host of benefits that go with it, for both child and parent.
If you want the kids to move this summer, you’re very likely going to need to get in there with them. We don’t see a downside, though. Including kids in your well-established fitness routines means you don’t have to wait until Labor Day to get back to it. You also create a beautiful foundation for a love of physical activity that kids aren’t likely to outgrow. The biggest bonus? You’re spending quality time together during their break and creating some fun memories together.
Invite your kids to join in your usual yoga, Zumba, or run, or try some new MVPAs to keep you and the kids moving this summer.
MAKE A SPLASH
Don’t just bob around in the water, elevate those heart rates with exciting water games that can engage the entire family (and a lot of muscles)!
- Sharks and Minnows
- Marco Polo
- Water Volleyball or Basketball
- Cannonball Contests
- Water gun hide and seek
HAVE A BALL
Classic yard games and toys can introduce some friendly competition. These games are done just as easily in your own backyard as they are a neighborhood park (or roadside picnic area during a rest stop).
- Flag football
- Hula hoop dance party
AT THE PARK
You could catch up on your favorite summer book on the bench, or get up and feel like a kid again. Join the kids for playtime and build a little upper-body strength, too.
- Race backward up the slide
- Create an obstacle course, winner gets a popsicle!
- Push each other on the swings
- Hang around the monkey bars
- Play hopscotch
GTFO THE HOUSE
Cabin fever isn’t just for cold and cozy winters. Look beyond your own backyard for fun and adventure in the sun this summer.
- Take a hike
- Climb a local indoor rock wall
- Run or walk a themed 5K as a family
- Go kayaking
- Do stand-up paddle boarding
- Go horseback riding (yes, it’s a workout!)
- Take a bike ride
- Go roller skating
- Go bowling
While yoga may be a total mind and body experience for some, it may be a preferred way to tone and develop strength. If the latter sounds like you, you may not be getting as much out of the practice as you’d like.
A study conducted in 2016 reviewed a body of research and studies on yoga to understand the metabolic intensity of yoga as it compares to the standards outlined by the ACSM and AHA. Researchers found that “the intensity of most asanas and full yoga sessions ranged from light to moderate aerobic intensity, with the majority classified as light intensity.”
In other words, most yoga is a light-intensity workout even on its toughest days.
These studies looked at the METs a particular pose generates, or metabolic intensity of task, to grade the amount of energy required to complete a task. Of the 37 popular yoga poses reviewed, only four could produce 3+ METs, the threshold for qualifying moderate-intensity exercise. For comparison, positions on your back raised 1 MET and inversions raised up to 2.5 MET.
To light your yoga practice on fire, and have it count toward the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-intensity cardio each week, consider adding these four powerful yoga poses to your practice.
- Dandayamana-Janushirasana (Standing Head to Knee)
- Dandayamana-Dhanurasana (Standing Bow)
- Trikanasana (Triangle Pose)
- Tuladandasana (Balancing Stick)
To make any of these positions even more intense, increase the frequency or duration of the poses.
The study also found that experienced yogis drew more METs from their poses than beginners because they can hold the pose more efficiently. Swiftly moving between positions increased METs. Temperature and humidity did not impact the results of the study.
While considered an outlier, the study did find that Surya Namaskar, or sun salutations, could reach as high as 7.4 MET!
What’s your favorite yoga pose?
If we’re supposed to learn from our past to improve our future, then perhaps your resolution needs little more help than what was cool just a few weeks ago! The year in review and year ahead trend spotters have been hard at work, giving us plenty of fodder to plot our way into 2018.
If you’re looking at your goals and trying to make those jive with your tired old fitness routine, take a look at the hottest workouts from last year. According to Google, these were the five most-searched workouts in 2017. The results reveal some exciting ideas that will refresh your own moves and attitude about exercise.
- Murph Crossfit Workout
This intense WOD first debuted in 2005 to honor Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who died in Afghanistan. It was his favorite Crossfit workout, including a 1 mile run, 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups, 300 squats, and a 1 mile run...and they recommend doing it in a 20-pound vest! A scholarship program in his name hosts a fundraiser fitness challenge each Memorial Day, called The Murph Challenge.
- Bungee Workout
Cardio, dance, and aerobics meet resistance training in this inspired new group fitness class with roots in Thailand. Strap into a bungee harness affixed to the ceiling and let yourself fly...and sweat! This low-impact, high-resistance class also improves balance, works your core, and provides a fun but intense total body workout. Check out the class at Crunch in NYC!
- Tabata Workout
This high-efficiency style of interval training is nothing new, but continues to gain popularity as people embrace the “more bang for your buck” HIIT fitness philosophy. You can ultimately get a real calorie-torching, total body workout in about half an hour. Tabata was born out of research at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Tokyo, where they found more intense workouts in shorter bursts showed gains in both cardio and muscular development. Perform your move (burpees, push-ups, squats, etc.) for 20 seconds, rest for 10 seconds, then repeat up to 8 sets in 4 minutes. Then repeat with a new move up to 30 minutes.
- TRX Workout
Resistance and strength training that utilizes your own body weight… and you never have to set foot in the gym! This is why TRX continues to be so popular after more than 10 years. It’s definitely not a fad! The bungee-like suspension bands affix to a sturdy door frame, or the like, for a total body workout that will help you reach your toning and strength goals. Hook it up at home, take it to a park, or even pack it in your suitcase so you don’t skip a workout at the hotel! They even provide workout and trainer guidance.
- Burpee Exercises
You know you love to hate ‘em, but man are they effective! Also known as a squat thrust, the burpee is a total body strength move with an added aerobic benefit. With every squat and jump combo, you’ll feel your heart rate rise and the muscles engage across your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, legs, and abs. Follow the Tabata approach for a basic set of burpees, something you can totally do in 4 minutes every day. Or if you’re really committed, try the 100 Burpee Challenge. It’s like a C25K for burpees, with 8 burpees on day one leading up to 100 on day 27!
With the average American commute time increasing to 26 minutes one-way, it’s no wonder that people are looking for ways to diversify their drive to work. Sure, you can pop in podcasts and your favorite playlists for entertainment, but if you already sit at your job all day, more sitting isn’t the best way to start and end the day.
Biking has skyrocketed in popularity as a commute tool—increasing by 46% annually on average in the U.S. Why biking? We’re glad you asked.
Efficiency. Cycling is the single most efficient method of travel; more so than walking! This is based on the amount of energy expended by the rider during a trip compared with other modes like driving, walking, etc.
Carbon Footprint. Energy-wise, bikes beat out every mode of transportation. Cars eat up hundreds of dollars of gas and oil per month. This is without even factoring in the issue of fossil fuels.
Biking can even be up to five times more efficient than walking.
Productivity. Instead of squeezing in a workout before work or after you arrive home, use that commute time to get fit. Biking your commute is a great way to burn 300 calories without taking much away from your personal time.
Bike shares. You can get good, inexpensive bikes, but if you’re still not ready to commit, bike shares have you covered. Most bike shares have single ride trips for about $3, day passes for about $10, and varying rates on monthly and annual passes. Opting for an annual pass could cost nearly as much as a cheap bike, but it’ll be higher quality and you’ll never worry about repairs.
Accessibility. Cities are seeing the good that cycling brings and increasing bike lanes, making more bike-friendly laws, and innovating with things like bike rooms to meet bikers’ needs. A list of the U.S.’s most bike friendly cities reveals that this change isn’t just happening in one area. The top five on the list—Philadelphia, Tuscon, Austin, Denver, and Portland—span the country.
With temperatures skyrocketing, it becomes even tougher to motivate yourself to hit the gym. Heat makes you lethargic just as summer opens up a whole new world of workouts and recreational activities to get you active. Keep in mind a few things to make the most of your summer exercise routine.
Electrolytes and water.
Pay attention to how much water you drink, and try to keep it above eight cups a day if you’re active. While hydrating more often is vital for sweaty summer workouts, you sweat more than just water. Electrolytes like sodium, chloride, potassium, and magnesium also need to be replenished. You might be tempted to grab a sugary sports drink to replace those electrolytes, but eating a banana or avocado and not restricting your salt intake works just as well.
Time of day.
If you can rise early, do any outdoor workouts before the sun breaks the horizon. For night owls, get active after the sun sets, but keep in mind that it’ll be cooler in the mornings. If the heat is still too much for you, try splitting up your workouts between the morning and evening. You’ll be much less likely to get overheated with these shortened bursts of exercise.
Pack away your dark clothes, because you’ll want to wear light colors like white for the foreseeable future. While black absorbs heat, white reflects all light wavelengths. To stay cool and avoid skin irritation, throw on looser clothes than you would normally wear. Wicking material will also repel sweat from your skin, keeping you from drowning in sweat and keeping your body cool.
Tailor your workout to the weather.
Not every summer day will be miserably hot, so you’ll be able to schedule some intramural games, running, or yoga in the park. For the insanely humid, blistering days, try biking or water sports. It’s a great excuse to crosstrain and mix up your workouts.
Some days it’ll just be too hot to do much outside. If you don’t feel like spending much on a gym membership or indoor classes, make sure you’re prepared so you don’t have to skip a workout. Grab some exercise DVDs or look up free workouts on YouTube. If you’ve got a mat and some free weights at home, you’ll have plenty of routines to choose from.
Traffic jams, encroaching deadlines, and fighting with your significant other are tricky, unavoidable side effects of life. While these stressors are common and to be expected, they build up fast, and with this buildup comes stress that can hurt our bodies and wreck our mental health.
Stress is your body’s natural response to danger, so it has its value because it’s helped humanity evade harm. However, just like carbs, even too much of a natural thing is bad. Whether you’re in an accident or just anxious about giving a speech, your body produces cortisol, the stress hormone. It’s useful for breaking down glycogen to release energy bursts meant to help you handle a stressful situation. You’ve probably heard this response referred to as the fight or flight instinct. It’s that heightened terror you feel when you oversleep or realize you left your straightener on.
Unfortunately, it’s not totally socially acceptable to run from or fight an awkward date that’s made you stressed. By keeping your natural instincts in check, you’re stuck with high cortisol levels that you’re not releasing, making it easy for your liver to get overloaded. Apart from all the health problems this causes, perpetual stress just feels terrible.
Now, while you may not be able to let out your instincts immediately, choosing an aggressive workout routine allows you to flex your natural fight or flight response. Exercise releases some cortisol depending on how intense it is and how long you go. Rather than lifting weights or jogging, high intensity workouts release other hormones that battle stress and promote weight loss.
More aggressive exercises that mimic our instinctual fight or flight responses release these hormones in an attempt to fuel you with more energy and power. Plus, punching something a lot feels amazing after a long day at work!
Aggression in your workouts also get your head in the right space for de-stressing. A kickboxing workout requires focus and discipline, freeing your mind from dwelling on whatever problems that cloud your mind. A study showed that kickboxing significantly improves positive engagement and tranquility scales. And, kickboxing and other intense workouts often serve as both aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
The drumstick workout Pound Fit is the perfect de-stressor. The music and focused movements occupy your mind while the high intensity and full body motions will expel your cortisol.
Regardless of the aggressive workout you choose, as long as you keep your thoughts positive, you’ll be good. Enter the gym with the mindset of releasing your stress and anger rather than visualizing and trying to hurt the things causing your stress.