Gyms are packed every January with people aspiring to get fit, but too often New Year’s resolutions fall to the wayside by February. According to Brian Sharkey, author of Fitness Illustrated (Human Kinetics, 2010), the key to maintaining a fitness regimen is finding an activity that’s fun. “If you engage in an activity that has purpose or meaning for you, you are much more likely to stick with the program,” Sharkey says. Instead of simply running on a treadmill, try out different forms of exercise to find the best fit.
Yoga. Combining body, breath, and mind, yoga provides a total-body workout. Internationally recognized yoga expert Leslie Kaminoff says yoga is ideal for improving balance, flexibility, strength, and mental clarity. “What distinguishes yoga as a practice is that breath is at the center,” Kaminoff explains. “Breath is the principle that unites the mind and the body into a singular activity where they are all doing the same thing at the same time.” In his DVD, Breath-Centered Yoga (Human Kinetics, 2010), Kaminoff includes customizable yoga routines that can be modified for any body type or skill level.
Pilates. Pilates lengthens and strengthens muscles while improving posture, flexibility, and balance. According to renowned Pilates instructor Erika Bloom, people don’t need to go to a studio to reap the rewards of Pilates. “Using small props allows you to do the same exercises that are normally performed on the Pilates apparatus.” In her DVD, Next-Level Pilates (Human Kinetics, 2010), she offers targeted routines for the core, upper body, and lower body that can be completed with at-home equipment, including an exercise mat, ball, and band.
Qigong. Qigong focuses on harnessing the healing power of qi, or energy, and has been credited with reducing stress, regulating blood pressure, and increasing heart health, immune function, and bone mass. “Qigong for health is an internal strengthening workout that provides real and measurable results,” says Christina Barea, author of Qigong Illustrated (Human Kinetics, 2010). “Over time, a thorough qigong practice can provide profound long-term changes to your entire body–mind composition.” Qigong Illustrated offers step-by-step instructions to traditional routines for strengthening the body, optimizing health, and reducing stress.
Strength band training. Expensive weight machines may provide strength gains and increased muscle mass, but according to strength and conditioning expert Phil Page, strength bands are just as effective. “Research demonstrates that elastic resistance training provides as much benefit in strength gains as the use of more expensive and cumbersome weight-training equipment,” says Page. In Strength Band Training, Second Edition (Human Kinetics, 2010), Page and coauthor Todd Ellenbecker offer the latest research and advances in band training while presenting more than 160 exercises targeting every major muscle group.
Interval training. Interval training involves bursts of high-intensity work alternated with periods of low-intensity intervals. According to fitness expert Lashaun Dale, workouts that offer variety keep people motivated to exercise every day. “To get results, you have to be consistent,” Dale says. “You need to work out four times a week if you really want to make a change in your body, and variety is really important for that.” In her DVD, Total-Body Toning (Human Kinetics, 2010), Dale offers customizable workouts for improving strength and endurance and promoting weight loss.
Jonathan Ross, author of Abs Revealed (Human Kinetics, 2010), says that even with the best intentions, lapses in any exercise routine are inevitable. “When it comes to nutrition and exercise, we tend to be far too hard on ourselves,” says Ross. “Give yourself the freedom to make a mistake and move on without beating yourself up.”
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