Why You Should Spin!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Aug 3, 2012 10:03:00 AM

spinning cycle classes chantilly

Cycle For Your Life!

An effective and efficient way to burn calories while improving cardiac health is indoor cycling or as some call it, spinning.  This is not just a few minutes on a stationary bicycle in front of the television in the basement….those days are over!  Stationary bikes have always had a poor reputation as a way to exercise because, in the home setting, they are either a place to hang clothes or a place to placidly ply the pedals while reading a magazine or watching a sitcom rerun.  Spinning is different.  It is an energized group activity that pushes people to the limits of their endurance, exercising both muscles and the heart.

Committed runners have athletic bodies with little excess fat.  Committed spinners do too, the same way committed cyclists do.  The advantage of spinning over other forms of exercise is that it puts very little stress on the joints.  Runners experience constant stress on their feet, ankles, knees, hips, and spine as they run.  Bicyclists do not torture their feet and ankles, but potholes and bumps do jar the spine and major joints.  Both runners and cyclists are in an uncontrolled environment, exposing themselves to the hazards of the trail or the road. In fact, Dr. Todd Battaglia of St. Joseph’s Hospital claims there are more than 200,000 ACL injuries that occur each year in the United States alone and affect individuals of all levels, from recreational athletes to professionals. Spinning offers a safe alternative, being conducted in a controlled, professionally managed environment that offers all the cardio benefits of other forms of exercise, in company with an enthusiastic group of co-conspirators.   

Not to mention a cycle class can burn up to 500 calories per session at a rate of seven to thirteen calories per minute!  This is much more effective than either running or riding a bicycle out in the town, where stopping for traffic is a necessity. In a cycle class, there are breaks where the bike’s tension is less, but there is no downtime.  It is a continuous exercise from start to finish.  Without distractions, people experience uninterrupted exercise from the moment a session begins until it concludes with a warm down.

So if you have been hesitant to try a cycle class, hop on a bike and start spinning today! 


Article Submitted by Carolyn Fallon,

Carolyn Fallon is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness, and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at http://fullonfit.blogspot.com!






Topics: group exercise classes for women, group fitness classes, fitness for women, weight loss for women

Wellness Tips for Women: Stress? Anxiety? Get Moving!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jul 23, 2012 11:12:00 AM

Exercise: A Great Stress Reducer

In our society today, as women, we are plagued with many everyday challenges such as jobs, piled up bills, family situations etc., which sometimes can lead to a feeling of uncontrollable stress.  Stress can have such a negative effect on our bodies and end up resulting in fatigue, depression and sometimes illness.  One of the best ways to battle stress and keep it under control is to stick with an exercise program. Exercising can actually help you feel more relaxed, largely by boosting endorphins and getting your body and mind out of the funk it's been in. So next time you're feeling stressed, head out and get some exercise. As you keep workouts part of your regular routine, you'll have one more tool to battle stress even before it begins.


Why Does Exercise Help Alleviate Stress?

When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, which are the neurotransmitters that are exercise to reduce stressresponsible for feelings of pleasure in your brain chemistry. You may be familiar with endorphins from other settings, like the feeling of euphoria after eating a delicious piece of chocolate, as well as the runner's high that many people feel after a great workout. Not only can you increase your self-confidence, but it can leave you feeling empowered as well.

Have you ever felt very relaxed after a killer workout?  That’s because exercising gives your brain a chance to just relax and decompress. As you begin to shed your daily tensions through regular physical activity, you may find the results to be energy and optimism, which can help you remain calm and your mind clear with your everyday tasks.
Sleep is often interrupted due to stress, anxiety, and depression. Sticking to a solid, regular exercise program can help you get a better night’s sleep and give you a sense of command over your body and your life. 

What Types of Exercise Work Best?

For maximum physical benefits, you should aim for at least 30 minutes of
moderate-intensity cardiovascular exercise each day. You can keep a diary of what exercise you're doing and for how long. You can also switch things up by adding strength training a couple of days each week, and tracking how much you're lifting can give you motivation as you see yourself getting stronger.

For even more results, try avoiding situations that make you feel overly stressed. You can also think through situations you can't avoid and keep in mind that even less than ideal results won't mean the end of the world. Other techniques to manage stress include getting enough sleep and eating healthy foods, including lots of fruits and vegetables and less starch and fat. Also, be careful not to exercise too late in the evening. Having your
body perform rigorous activity too close to bedtime can result in a poor night’s sleep.

Get Started Today!

Don't wait any longer to add some exercise to your regular routine. It will take some effort and consistency, but pick an activity and a time and get started. 
If you are in the Northern Virginia area and need some extra help, information on fitness, or ideas on exercise programs for women, our certified female personal trainers stand at the ready to help out in any way that we can!

Topics: women's health, Women's Wellness, fitness tips, fitness for women, exercise programs for women

How Regular Exercise May Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jul 16, 2012 12:11:00 PM

An Exciting Break Through for Women's Wellness...

Women of all ages and sizes have a new reason to walk, run, dance, and even garden for a few more hours each week. These and other activities- combined with a diet rich in healthy foods and vitamins- may offer a leg-up in preventing the most common type of cancer in women. A recent study published on the Cancer journal website reveals that women who engage in regular physical activity have a lower risk of breast cancer.

Promising New Research

The study was performed by a group of researchers, including Lauren McCullough, who is a candidate for her doctorate in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina. McCullough and her colleagues surveyed more than 3,000 women between the ages of twenty and ninety-eight years old. In the study, 1,504 women had breast cancer and 1,555 didn't. Each of the women provided a comprehensive picture of her physical activity by answering questions about her exercise levels over her entire lifetime.

The study revealed that women who exercise for just a few hours each week were at a 6 percent lower- risk for breast cancer than women who didn't exercise at all. The intensity level of the exercise didn't appear to matter- women who regularly gardened or complete household chores, still benefited from the less strenuous activities. The reduced cancer risk was even greater for those who were physically active and women who exercised between ten and nineteen hours a week showing a 30 percent lower- risk of getting breast cancer.

A Benefit for Women at All Stages of Life

In this study, the decreased risk for breast cancer was present for women of all ages and all sizes. McCullough was particularly happy about these findings. In the TIME blog Healthland, she says “I was excited by the results because as women tend to age, they get set in their habits, and think that if they haven’t been active their whole life- why start now.” She concluded that research reveals that regardless of the age at which women begin exercising- they can still enjoy positive health benefits from their efforts.

Extra tip: Spinner bikes, exercise bikes, and stationary 


bikes will help master the basics
before getting into the hard stuff.

For overweight women with BMIS above 30, exercising gave them a similar risk for breast cancer as normal-weight women who didn’t exercise. While overweight women did see lower- risks of breast cancer with increased activity, Charlotte Lubuono from The Atlantic wrote that studies also reveal gaining a significant amount of weight, may cancel out the benefits that regular physical activity would have provided.

Overall Health is the Key to Prevention

The general findings of the study provide good news for women who are regularly active. But while the results show a positive relationship between exercise and lower breast cancer risk, Stephanie Watson of the Harvard Health Blog notes that the study doesn't prove exercising definitely reduces a woman’s breast cancer risk.

Many researchers believe that the prevention of breast cancer most likely results from a combination of factors, such as eating balanced meals, taking vitamins when necessary, and engaging in physical activity on a regular basis. Adopting an overall healthy lifestyle is not only a smart step in decreasing the risk of breast cancer but a wise move for preventing many of the most common diseases that affect women today. 

Where Should My Heart Rate Be?


Article authored by Leslie Luna.
Leslie is an avid gym-goer and writer of all things health and wellness. She is a freelance blogger and editor in the San Fransisco area. 


Topics: women's health, exercises for women, Women's Wellness, health tips, fitness for women

Essential Exercises for Women: Get Tank-Top Toned!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jul 5, 2012 11:35:00 AM

Prepare to Go Sleeveless!

As the heat wave of the summer wears on, all of us may be turning to tanks, and shoulder-baring tops to try and stay cool. For our July edition of Essential Exercises for Women we have put together a move that is sure to make your shoulders, chest and upper arms look mah-vel-ous...Michelle Obama won't have a thing on you!

Push-up/Tricep Push-up 

This multi-jointed exercise targets the chest, shoulders and tricep as well as the abs when performed in the most extended position.

1. Start on your hands and knees, fingers spread, wrists under shoulders, knees under hips. Extend one leg back to rest on your toes, then the other, forming a straight line from your heels to your shoulders. Keep the butt and ab muscles tight and the shoulders sliding down the back. Be sure the neck is in line with the spine (don't hang your head or jut your chin out.). A modified version would be to have the knees remain on the floor instead of extended out on the toes.

push up for women
2. Bending the elbows, slowly lower the body as far down as you can while maintaining proper form. Then, straightening (but not locking) the arms, come back to the starting position. Repeat to fatigue (strive for 12-15 repetitions).

tricep push up for women

Kick It Up!

For a challenge and more emphasis on the smaller tricep portion of the arm do the push-up with the elbows pointing back and close to your sides (as seen above). The triceps are a smaller muscle group so do not be surprised if this version is a little tougher.

Need Some Motivation?

How about even more of an incentive to give push-ups a try? Fact: Your shoulders and upper back tend to carry less fat than the rest of your body, so the right exercises can give this area a nearly instant makeover, says Ramona Braganza, a celebrity trainer who has worked with stars such as Anne Hathaway and Jessica Alba. 


Photos: Women's Health Magazine


Have Other Trouble Spots? We can help!

We have a full staff of personal trainers and exercise experts who are willing to answer any question you throw at us. Drop us your question in the comments section below or SUBMIT IT to us privately. 

If you are in the Chantilly, Centreville, Herndon, Fairfax area, schedule a FREE CONSULTATION with one of our fitness professionals who can help you map out a plan for success.


Topics: exercises for women, arm exercises, fitness tips, fitness for women, Strength training for women, exercise at home

Confessions of a Beginning Runner Part 2: Tales of Fitness for Women)

Posted by Angie Quehl on Mar 16, 2012 3:00:00 PM

The Diva Edition

Folks, someone is a Diva Beginning Runner. Note that "diva" modifies the rest of the phrase. Because in no sense am I a beginner Diva. Evidence?

**I ran three miles? Everyone I know gets the text: ZOMG PEOPLE I RAN THREE MILES! ON PURPOSE! AT ONCE! WITHOUT STOPPING!

**I brush my hair before I go running. And since it's winter, I'm not pinning it up. I have Confessions of a beginning runnerthese visions of my glorious long tresses streaming out behind me as I streak down the sidewalk. In reality, it's probably better I can't actually see the tangled mess of sweaty as I trudge along.

**I'm going to need a better sports bra. I haven't really had to consider this, but yes. There apparently are times where support is key, and concerns about the ugly mono-boob are less imperative. Who knew?

**Today when I ran it was 39F with a little bit of a breeze. Nothing actually like wind chill, just a stiff gust now and then. You would have thought, to hear my internal monologue, that I was endurance racing in the Arctic. Also, it plays hell with my breathing because the last thing on earth I am going to do is inhale through my nose because it's like an icepick straight into my brain. Now, I did just move from the desert, and anything under 50F there was miserably cold. But seriously? Someone needs to toughen up a little as far as the weather goes.

**My feet hurt. This is odd because as far as I am concerned, any pair of heels under 3" qualifies as flat. I wear heels every day in the office. I race around in them more or less without a second thought: up and down escalators, along with the Metro platform, to Starbucks and back without a jacket. Once I lace up my pair of super-fabulous, specially-purchased, exactly-what-I-needed new running shoes, I do not expect my feet to hurt between miles one and two. They do, however.

Beginning Runners Mantra

This is probably what the issue is...

So tell me: what sets YOU apart when you run?


About The Author:

the elizabeth quotient blogElizabeth is a mamma, blogger, and beginning runner from Northern Virginia. You can follow her story as an up-and-coming runner here on our blog. You can also read more about Elizabeth on her journey through not only fitness but life by checking out her blog, "The Elizabeth Quotient".


Do You Have a Fitness Story You Would Like to Share?

We would love to hear from you! Why not drop us a line in the Comment Section below or submit your story to us directly. We will be using a collection of them in future blog posts highlighting tales of fitness for women.


The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the opinions of the Women's Club.
1 Comment

Topics: cardiovascular exercise, fitness tips, fitness for women

Confessions of a Beginning Runner...A Tale of Fitness for Women

Posted by Angie Quehl on Feb 21, 2012 3:03:00 PM

Sometimes the best motivation and advice on fitness for women in the world comes from listening to real people talk about their real experiences as they navigate the big, bad scary world of getting into (or back into) a fitness regime. Sharing, commiserating, and relating to another human being and recognizing that yes…someone else has been in the same place as you and felt EXACTLY the same way, can be the best motivation to lace up those sneakers one more day!  With that in mind, we thought we would begin sharing some ‘real life’ stories from real women to help ease you down the fitness path and maybe make you laugh a little along the way too. Enjoy!

Confession of a Beginning Runner -- Elizabeth

• Yes, I do hate every damn step. I don't know when that will quit. I'm hoping that at some point it will, but I ain't holding my breath. There's always a point in my run where I am reduced to thinking, "It hurts, do it anyway."

• I jayrun. Folks, if I stop at a light, I may just not start again. So be a pal and let me run through.confessions of a beginning runner

•I can't wear earbuds. I've tried every kind out there. My ears are just a weird shape, I think. Anyhow, I just turn the volume waaaay up on my phone and run. This generally works fine except when (like today) a kind of embarrassing but good running song comes on. I have never tried to turn my volume down so fruitlessly as when running by a group of small children and their mothers while Rhianna's S&M blared like a foghorn out of my speaker. They all stared and stared at me, clothed in judgment and yoga pants. Finally, I just gave up and ran faster.

• This brings me to my next point: if you see me running, give a sister some love. Wave, say good job, yell something motivational ("Your butt looks big in those pants" would definitely work). I will smile and run faster, my workout will be over more quickly, and I will be happy!

• I am terrified that one day, a car that slows down as it passes me will stop and ask if I need a ride somewhere. Literally, every time a car passes me, I think this is about to happen.

• I know I'm a bore, posting my runs on Facebook, I'm sorry. I do it to keep myself accountable. I'm pushing myself to do this at all. Knowing you are reading (possibly clothed in judgment and/or yoga pants?) pushes me a little farther and a little faster. Thank you. When you comment kindly, like the run, or txt me saying "Yay!"--you're telling me you believe in me. This helps me in ways you don't even know about.

• If I can do this, I can do anything. Because I am having to work harder for this than just about anything else I have ever done.  A weird statement, but true.  I'm simply too old to let something being difficult be my excuse to not do it. Life is hard. Do it anyways.


About The Author:

the elizabeth quotient blogElizabeth is a mamma, blogger, and beginning runner from Northern Virginia. You can follow her story as an up and coming runner here on our blog. You can also read more about Elizabeth on her journey through not only fitness but life by checking out her blog, "The Elizabeth Quotient".


Do You Have a Fitness Story You Would Like to Share?

We would love to hear from you! Why not drop us line in the Comment Section below or submit your story to us directly. We will be using a collection of them in future blog posts.


The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily the opinions of the Women's Club.

Topics: cardiovascular exercise, fitness tips, fitness for women

6 "Rules" of Exercise for Women You May Not Need to Follow

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jan 18, 2012 3:00:00 PM

It's Not Always Bad to Cheat...

Sometimes NOT playing by the rules is the best thing you can do. Check out the list below to learn how you can "cheat smart" every now and then and still make progress in your fitness program.

1.  Stopping to walk during a run


The verdict: Go for it.

Taking short walk breaks helps you run farther, burn more calories, and sidestep injury, says exercise physiologist Tom Holland, author of Beat the Gym. So whether you're working up to three miles or training for a long-distance event, walking now and then can serve as a useful tool to build up your mileage and endurance. Just make sure you're stopping only two or three times during a 30-minute run, for about 30 to 60 seconds a pop.

2.  Not stretching before a workout

The verdict: Go for it.

While research shows that stretching after a workout can boost strength, prevent injury, and increase range of motion, a 2010 study of almost 1,400 runners found that limbering up before exercise may have few—if any—benefits. To get your blood flowing and muscles prepped, dynamic movements are more effective, says Katie Rothstein, an exercise physiologist at the Orthopedic & Rheumatology Institute at the Cleveland Clinic. Exercises like arm swings and butt kicks increase your joints' range of motion and prime your muscles for action.

3.  Skipping the last three reps

The verdict: Bad idea.

The final reps of a move are where the magic happens. "You have to stress your muscles if you want them to change, and that occurs in those last few reps," says Holland. Your last reps should be tough to finish but not so difficult that you have to compromise your form. If your form starts to suffer early in the set, switch to a lower weight so you won't have to skip the last reps—or hurt yourself trying to push through them.

4.  Resting longer than the prescribed time during a circuit

The verdict: Go for it.linda-perez-johannessen-569925-unsplash (1)

Many circuits call for short rests—usually 30 to 60 seconds—to keep your heart rate high enough to produce a cardio benefit (read: calorie burn). But if you're really struggling after a tough set, tack on an extra 30 seconds of rest, says Rebecca Stephenson, a board-certified women's health specialist in physical therapy at Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital. It will give you (and your muscles) enough of a breather to complete the next set with perfect form—without compromising your calorie burn.

5.  Blowing off lower-body strength training

The verdict: Bad idea.

Your leg muscles do get a workout during cardio, but you need to hit the weights (or do squats or lunges) to make sure you're hitting all of your muscle groups. "Muscles work in pairs, and when you stick to one type of cardio, you train only half of the pair," says Holland. "Strength training corrects these imbalances, so you stay injury-free and get great-looking legs to boot."

Supplement your cardio regimen with at least two lower-body or total-body strength training for women workouts a week, or combine strength and cardio by doing plyometric supersets (explosive moves like squat jumps and split lunge jumps done back-to-back without rest), says Holland.

6.  Not drinking H20 during exercise

The verdict: Depends.

Unless you're working out for more than an hour or you're sweating profusely, you can get away with sipping six ounces before and at least 10 ounces after a sweat session, says Rebecca Stephenson, of Harvard's Brigham and Women's Hospital.



If you are looking for more advice on your fitness routine why not schedule a consultation with one of our wellness coaches. Let our staff of professionals use their extensive experience in developing exercise programs for women to help you reach your health and fitness goals. It's free to do and our pleasure to assist however we can!


Portions of the above article appear in a blog post on www.womenshealthmag.com.

Topics: personal training, fitness tips, fitness for women

Fitness for Women: Get Moving!

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jan 4, 2012 10:00:00 AM

Exercise is the key to vitality!

Thinking about how to begin a fitness routine? The good news is no matter your age, your health, or your fitness level—you can benefit from moving more. Whether you are generally healthy, are managing an illness, or simply beginning to notice the effects of time, there are big and small ways to get more active and boost your fitness level.Exercise tips for women move more

Leading an active lifestyle is more important than ever...

The truth is that you can’t afford not to get moving. Exercise is the key to staying strong, energetic, and healthy. No matter your age or your current physical condition, you can benefit from exercise. And not only is exercise good for your body—it’s good for your mind, mood, and memory.

The 1st building block of  fitness:  Cardio endurance exercise

  • Uses large muscle groups in rhythmic motions over a period of time. This type of exercise increases your body’s ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues, improves the strength and vitality of your heart and lungs as well as burns excess body fat.

The 2nd building block of  fitness: Strength training

  • Builds up muscle with repetitive motion using weight or external resistance.  Helps prevent loss of bone mass, builds muscle, and improves balance—both important in staying active..

The 3rd building block of fitness: Flexibility

  • Challenges the joint’s ability to move freely through a full range of motion.  This helps the body stay limber and increases the range of movement for ordinary physical activities.

The 4th building block of fitness: Balance

  • Maintains standing and stability under a variety of conditions.  These exercises improve balance and posture.

So as you can see there four areas that are critical to becoming and remaining a healthy, vibrant woman well into your golden years. The first step is always the hardest sometimes, but you don't have to do it alone.  

Now that we have closed the book on 2011, a have begun anew in 2012, our best advice on fitness for women is very simply put...Get Moving!

We're Here to Help...

We know that starting an exercise routine or getting back into the routine can be a daunting task. We have lots of solutions that can help you shape your fitness path for 2012. Be it starting to attend a new group exercise class for women, instituting the help of a personal trainer, having a few days to try out a new center, or just to ask a question, we have a bevy of trained professionals on staff who would be happy to assist you. Click one of these links for more information or just drop it in the comment box below and we will get back to you ASAP!







Topics: group exercise classes for women, fitness tips, fitness for women

Healthy Fitness Boundaries: The Ultimate Women's Wellness How-To

Posted by Angie Quehl on Jun 20, 2011 11:11:00 AM

Most of us are under the misconception that fit people work hard and spend most of their lives deprived in order to achieve their amazing bodies. Nothing could be farther from the truth. I'll let you in on a little secret ... it's not hard to get and stay fit. It's not about hard work and deprivation. It's all about boundaries.  Let me explain...

just say no to bad fitness and eating habits

When you were a child your parents set boundaries around you. They were the authority on what was or wasn't acceptable behavior. You had to complete your chores before dinner. You had to finish your homework before going out to play. You had to eat all your vegetables before dessert. If you failed to comply with these boundaries, then you knew that there would be consequences.

As an adult, you, and only you, are the authority on what is or isn't acceptable behavior. You are in the position to set boundaries around yourself. These boundaries serve as a framework of order around you - a rock of support in an otherwise chaotic world. With self-imposed boundaries, you can assure your success in anything ... specifically with weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Creating Your Fitness Boundaries

It's time to introduce boundaries back into your life. These boundaries are the key to unleashing your ideal fit and healthy body.

Fitness Boundary One: What You Eat
If you were to be perfectly honest with me, you could list off the foods that are unhealthy and fattening. So why are you still eating them? You know that refined, fried, processed, and sugary foods are not good for you. Place boundaries around what you will allow yourself to eat. Acceptable food items include whole foods, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats.

Fitness Boundary Two: How You Exercise
I know that you're not an Olympic athlete, but that doesn't mean that you can simply pass on exercise. By now you are well aware of the host of benefits that exercise provides. With regular exercise, you'll look great, feel amazing, and have more energy than ever. Place boundaries around how often you must exercise. Choose exercise that is challenging and fun - don't be afraid to try new activities that improve your strength and endurance.

Fitness Boundary Three: When You Indulge
Let's face it, we live in a world where indulging has become the norm, rather than the exception. When you live life without fitness boundaries, every day is an opportunity to indulge. These indulgences all add up quickly, causing your clothes to become tight and your energy levels to drop. Place boundaries around when you can indulge. You'll find that by limiting your indulgences you'll end up enjoying them even more.

setting healthy fitness boundaries for women

Putting It All In Action

Sit down and take a long, hard look at your lifestyle. Are you eating as healthy as you could be? Are you exercising 3-5 times each week? Are you indulging too often? Answer the following questions:

What 3 food items can I eliminate from my daily diet?
These should be nutritionally void items like high-calories beverages, fast food, packaged snacks, high-fat food, candy, or desserts.

When can I schedule exercise into my week?
Pick 3-5 days, and select a specific time frame. Example: I'm going to exercise on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays from 5 am-6 am.

When will I allow myself to indulge?
Don't go overboard here, especially if you need to lose weight. Enjoy a treat a couple of times each month, and do so guilt-free knowing that you've maintained healthy food boundaries the rest of the time.

Remember that self-imposed boundaries are self-empowering. Fitness boundaries put your fitness results on autopilot. If you know what constitutes an acceptable meal, then choosing what to eat just got a whole lot easier. If you're committed to exercising 3 times a week, soon it becomes second nature.


Need help defining and setting your fitness boundaries?

Our fitness and weight loss experts here at The Women's Club are more than happy to help you define and streamline your needs.

Call us at 703-817-0700

Email us at womensclub@aol.com

Or click here to request a free consultation.




Article orginally appeared in the June www.dinewise.com newsletter.


Topics: women's health, nutrition advice for women, health tips, fitness tips, fitness for women, exercise programs for women, weight loss for women

Why Do Yoga? 6 Reasons to Include Yoga Classes in Your Routine

Posted by Angie Quehl on Apr 28, 2011 4:01:00 PM

Why Do Yoga?questions about yoga classes in northern va


Should I try Yoga??

Don't you just sit around and relax??

Au contraire! Check out all of the benefits that adding a yoga class can add to exercise programs for women!

Build Strength

If you observe a yoga class you will see people moving through “asanas,” or postures. These postures move you through the full range of motion of every joint in your body as you awaken and strengthen each muscle. Yoga is hard work, but unlike impact training where you contract (shorten) each muscle as you engage it; yoga lengthens and stretches your muscles while strengthening them. This creates long, lean muscle.  

Improve Posture

Yoga builds core strength, helping you strengthen muscles to evenly support your skeletal system so you can stand, sit, and move more fully and easily. It also helps you with body awareness: which muscles do you need to use to balance, stretch, support yourself, and which do you not need? You will start to notice where you hold unnecessary tension and stress, and how to release it.

Gain Flexibility

You don’t have to bend like a pretzel to come to yoga class. The postures work on opening in all directions: forward bends, backbends, twists.  The aim is to create a balance of strength and flexibility, something that improves over time, with practice. Listen to your own body. Never force yourself into a pose trying to look like the person next to you. It’s not about how you look, it’s about how you feel. Notice which muscles allow you ease of movement and which are tight, and learn how you can encourage further range of movement.

Find Your Balance

What if I can’t stand on one leg? You will learn that being aware of how you place your feet is the first step. Then you’ll learn about how the energy moves in your body and how your core strength is involved, in stillness and in movement. You will notice that focus is paramount. The second you start thinking of your to-do list instead of the asana, you will lose your balance. You will learn to access your center of balance in all kinds of positions, even upside down. It will come!

Learn to Let Go

It’s true—each yoga practice does end lying down on the floor in a final relaxation called “savasana.” This is an important time of letting go of each muscle in your body, of holding any tension, of all thoughts in your mind. It is a time of healing and renewal for your body, giving it space to incorporate and absorb all you have learned during the yoga session.  After all your hard work, savasana feels like dessert. It may well become your favorite part of the class. 

Developing Connection

Yoga teaches how to connect movement and breath, to move with awareness and focus. With practice, it becomes a form of moving meditation, of moving inwards. As you leave class after final relaxation you will probably find yourself in a calm, centered place, relaxed in mind and in the body. Yoga can teach you how to access this place again any time you need it. Who doesn’t need that?


Article submitted by Amanda Lloyd.


question markQuestions about yoga and how it can benefit you?  Click the link or submit them in the Comments Section below! 

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Topics: group exercise classes for women, group fitness classes, fitness for women, yoga classes

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