Dr. Mao's Wellness Living: Tips To Shape Up This Spring
Posted Apr. 3, 2012, 2:04 am
Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist
It’s that time of year when we shake off the slowness of winter and spring into spring. Swimsuit season is getting closer, and many people will be planning a new fitness program to help them enjoy the longer and warmer days. This season, focus on having fun with fitness. Whether you enjoy a brisk walk in the park or prefer to dance the night away, your mind, body, spirit, and waistline will all reap the benefits.
Get Inspired With Fun
If the idea of going to a gym seems as much fun as doing your taxes, it is just not going to inspire you to get moving every day. The good news is that you don’t have to join a gym to get your body in motion. Choose an activity that you enjoy and chances are good that you will look forward to doing it every day. The examples that follow are a few fun fitness options, but select anything you like to get your joints jumping, your muscles working, your heart pumping, and your body shaping up!
Shimmy And Shake
One hour of dance: Burn 250 – 500 calories.
Whether you love to salsa or tap dance your way to fitness, dancing is a lively way to shape up. This dynamic workout form can help you develop core strength, increase balance, and tone your entire body. Put on your favorite tunes at home and shake your hips, or join a class and learn some new moves. Just one hour of an intense zumba class can burn up to 500 calories! Music and dance can also lift your spirits and increase levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin, the feel-good chemical in your brain.
Walk The Pounds Off
One hour of brisk walking: Burn 275 – 415 calories
Our bodies were created for movement, not for sitting behind a desk all day. You have to move it if you want to lose it! Start this season off on the right foot with just 20 minutes of brisk walking daily. Add a few minutes every day and eventually increase your time to 45 minutes or more. This gentle but effective physical activity will benefit your heart, help improve your digestion, boost your energy, and increase your metabolism. This means that your body will burn more calories every day, bringing you closer to your ideal weight and health! Make it extra fun by walking with a pooch or pal, exploring out in nature, or even strolling in your local mall.
Say Yes To Yoga
One hour of Yoga: Burn 240 – 400 calories
The Sanskrit word for "union," yoga practice integrates bodily movement with breath. Breath work is one of the main components of yoga practice, and it not only unifies the body, it also alleviates stress and fosters inner tranquility. Research has shown that deep breathing exercises can have a profound effect on our health, including balancing the pH of our blood and maintaining healthy blood pressure. Yoga also incorporates various body positions and postures that help increase strength, muscle tone, flexibility, and also mitigate chronic pain and arthritis. Just one hour of a vinyasa yoga class can burn around 350 calories. There are a plethora of yoga styles to choose from – experiment to find the one that best suits you.
Try Tai Chi
One hour of Tai Chi: Burn 290 – 430 calories
This ancient Chinese martial art dates back to 12th century China and has been used for defense training and promoting vitality. Indeed, Tai Chi practitioners live longer and remain healthier. The slow, graceful, repetitive movements incorporate deep breathing and meditation, making it a safe, low-impact exercise that is appropriate for almost everyone. Recent studies have found that Tai Chi increases energy, boosts immunity against viruses, lowers blood pressure, and improves cognitive function. Tai Chi is also a wonderful choice for those seeking help with chronic pain. According to one study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, a group of patients suffering from fibromyalgia experienced significant improvement after just 12 weeks of Tai Chi practice. For more information about Tai Chi or to get involved with a Tai Chi class, please visit the Wellness Living Store in Santa Monica at 1412 14th Street.
May you live long, live strong, and live happy!
Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine and board certified anti-aging expert. He has appeared regularly on “Dr. Oz,” “The Doctors,” and “EXTRA.” Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica and Newport Beach. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni founded Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to also founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter please visit www.taoofwellness.com. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment please call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at firstname.lastname@example.org.