For many of us, the start of the year brings the desire to get back in shape, or take up a fitness routine for the first time. If that is true for you, watch this video for a little advice on how to have a successful start so your resolution doesn't fade away.
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We've all heard that water is good for us, and to be honest, most of us probably tune this out to some degree. But, as you are working on your overall health and fitness, drinking water is an essential component to reaching your goals. Here are just a few of the many reasons why water is vital for attaining good health.
1. Water lubricates the joints
In our bodies, cartilage, which is found in joints and the disks of the spine, contains approximately 80 percent water. If you don't drink enough water, this can lead to long-term dehydration that reduces the joints' shock-absorbing ability and increases the likelihood of joint pain.
2. Water delivers oxygen throughout the body
Oxygen is carried throughout the different parts of our body through our blood, which happens to be more than 90 percent water.
3. Water boosts skin health and beauty
When you don't drink enough water, your skin can become more vulnerable to skin disorders and premature wrinkling. Dehydration can make your skin look dull, whereas drinking plenty of water can help give your skin a glow.
4. Water cushions the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues
A lack of water can affect your brain structure and function. Water is also involved in the production of hormones and neurotransmitters, so when you suffer prolonged dehydration, you might begin to experience problems with thinking and reasoning.
5. Water regulates body temperature
Water that is stored in the middle layers of the skin comes to the skin's surface as sweat when the body heats up. As it evaporates, it cools the body. Some scientists have suggested that when there is too little water in the body, heat storage increases and you are less able to tolerate heat strain. Having a lot of water in your body may reduce physical strain if heat stress occurs during exercise.
6. The digestive system depends on water
For your bowel to work properly, it needs water. But, when you are dehydrated, you can experience digestive problems, constipation, and an overly acidic stomach. This increases the risk of heartburn and stomach ulcers.
7. Water helps maintain blood pressure
When we don't have enough water in our bodies, our blood can become thicker, increasing blood pressure.
8. Water makes minerals and nutrients accessible
Minerals and different nutrients often dissolve in water, which makes it possible for them to reach different parts of the body where they are needed.
9. Water boosts performance during exercise
If you've ever felt sluggish during a workout, it might be because you weren't getting enough water. Some scientists have proposed that consuming more water might enhance performance during strenuous activity. This is especially true for activities lasting longer than 30 minutes.
10. Water helps with weight loss
Water may help with weight loss if it is consumed instead of sweetened juices and sodas. "Preloading" with water before meals can also help prevent overeating by creating a sense of fullness.
So how much water is enough?
How much water we need to consume is influenced by a number of factors, even the climate. The amount of water needed each day varies from person to person, depending on how active they are, how much they sweat, and so on. While there is no fixed amount of water that must be consumed daily, there is general agreement on what a healthy fluid intake is.
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the average recommended daily intake of water from both food and drink is:
For men: Around 125 ounces
For women: Around 91 ounces
About 80 percent of this should come from drinks, including water, and the rest will be from food.
by Skye Nacel, Certified Personal Trainer (MovNat Level 2), Certified Broga Instructor
We are excited to announce our new Maces and Movement classes coming to Evolve Fitness Studios this winter! The steel mace is a training tool with ancient origins that has stood the test of time, and we use them regularly in our programing at Evolve, as well as with physical therapy patients at our sister company, Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center. We think of the steel mace as one of the most functional tools you can possibly use which is why we invested in a fleet of Set for Set steel maces and trained the staff in their usage.
Steel maces are incredible for overall mobility, strength, and conditioning and there are literally hundreds of moves that our expert instructors can teach you, ranging from basic to advanced moves. The weight distribution of the mace requires full core integration throughout all of the movements and, of course, grip strength is another area of importance that the mace helps to develop.
We are also pleased to offer this class to non members as a winter series and will release pricing details on the website soon. The class is slated as an intermediate to advanced class or those who are very comfortable in any of the classes currently at Evolve Fitness Studios. Stay tuned for updates and details on our social media pages.
by Skye Nacel, Certified Personal Trainer (MovNat Level 2), Certified Broga Instructor
"Lead your child out into Nature. Tutor him on the hilltop and in the valley. There he will listen better and the sense of freedom will give him more strength to overcome difficulties." (Johan Pestalozzi, 1774).
The winters in the PNW are historically dark and wet and are the time of year that many struggle to get outside. If we are looking at health from a health-first perspective however, we know that natural exposure is critical all times of the year. We say train hard inside but only so you can have more fun, outside!
There have been some incredible studies vouching for the importance of outdoor exposure or even natural light including those in hospitals that showed that those with a room with a window view to the outdoors had shorter stays, required less pain medication and had fewer complications. (Forencich. 2003).
Our bodies are also armed with amazing immunity that is designed to get cold, wet, hot, and even dirty and mount a natural response to these situations. When we take these factors out of our lives, just like unused muscles or cognitive function, we are in danger of imbalances.
There is another common saying in the outdoor world that says, "No bad days, only bad gear." So, after a hard Core Align session or Broga class, you may need to put on some rain gear to go out for a headlamp-lit hike up Spencers Butte or drive out to storm watch at the coast.
Winter weekends are a great time in the PNW to get on outside and test that work you have been putting in indoors, test yourself, and get that clean fresh air. The Willamette Valley is home to year round waterfalls, hikes, climbing, mountain bike trails, etc. and since the climate is so mild here, you can continue to SUP, surf, and of course, head to the snow to ski, snowboard, sled or trek.
Most of the classes at Evolve Fitness Studios are done barefoot which has great year round benefits. Many classes also focus on core development and overall conditioning, which can greatly help your outdoor endeavors and prevent injuries whether you are on the slopes or raging down whitewater.
All of the trainers at Evolve Fitness Studios believe in the importance of outdoor exposure for numerous reasons, some pure science, others just plain natural pick me ups, but most of all, it is usually just fun and relieves stress. If you need any tips on ways or places to get outdoors this winter, hit us up, we are glad to help!
One aspect of starting a workout regimen that people dread is the soreness that comes with it. The day after a workout can be tough for even the most dedicated gym goers. It is important to recognize the difference between soreness and a sports-related injury.
Soreness is very common and naturally occurring caused by muscles stretching and growing during and after workouts. Typically, you will notice the first signs of soreness either the night of or the morning after your workout. With soreness, you may feel weak and have aching pains in the muscles that you used at the gym. In addition, you may have tenderness and stiffness.To treat soreness, ice the muscles that are causing you trouble and continue light activity that keeps you moving but doesn’t cause extra stress to the impacted muscle groups. Let your trainer or instructor know if you're feeling sore so they can adjust your workout. Normal activity should resume once you feel strong enough to do so.
Unlike soreness, an injury will typically show itself as a sharp stabbing pain. If this occurs, it is time to see a medical professional. Sometimes though, an injury is not as obvious and can disguise itself as common soreness. The difference between an injury and soreness is the length of recovery. Soreness should only last a few days, and anything longer than that could potentially be a sign of underlying injury. If movement is hindered and home treatments like icing are not working, it is time to make an appointment to let a professional determine what is causing your pain.
Physical therapy can help in both treating an injury and preventing injuries from occurring in the first place. Before you begin a workout regimen, consult a physical therapist to determine what your body can handle and to learn proper techniques when working out. If an injury occurs, a physical therapist can create an individualized workout plan to get you back to full strength and back in the gym.
For more information about the differences between soreness and injury and how physical therapy can help with these problems, contact the team at Staszak Physical Therapy & Wellness Center at 541-505-8180. Their team of therapists and trainers (some of whom also teach here at Evolve Fitness Studios) wants to help you reach your full potential. Together, we will focus on you and your situation to create a fitness plan that will help you achieve your goals.
If you've never tried Pilates, there are many reasons why you might want to add it to your fitness routine. One of the biggest reasons for this is that it helps you form a foundation for your fitness routine by focusing on core strength and stability. To help you have a better understanding of what Pilates is all about, the following is a primer to get you up to speed.
Pilates was developed by Joseph Pilates during World War I when he was held in an internment camp. While there, he devised a fitness training regimen for other prisoners and hospital patients using various props. When the war was over, Joseph continued to refine his regimen, and over the years, his workouts have become the "go to" workout for dancers around the world.
Pilates focuses on helping you tone your muscles rather than build bulk. Because of this, Pilates is popular with people who want to be strong, stable, and flexible. During workouts, there is a strong emphasis on breathing and instructors often give students cues on when and how to breathe at different times. In addition, every workout begins with some form of abdominal engagement and spinal alignment — making sure you have good form is key. While Pilates is not an intense cardio workout, know that you will likely work up a good sweat as you work through each move or pose.
Types of Pilates Classes
There are different types of Pilates classes: mat and reformer.
Mat classes require limited equipment and are a great place to start for beginners as the learning curve is not as steep. In a mat Pilates class, you are likely to work through a mix of core exercises like various forms of sit-ups, planks, and balance routines.
Reformer classes involve working with a piece of fitness equipment that has a movable carriage on rails where you are seated, standing, or laying on during the workout. Your movements are regulated by your body weight and resistance from the springs that work to keep the carriage in place. In a reformer class, you will also use straps and pulleys to work through different exercises. While a reformer class works your core, it is also better at working your arms and legs.
Here at Evolve Fitness Studios, we offer a variety of mat and reformer classes for people of all abilities. Check out our class schedule online and sign up for a class today. We'd love to see you!
by Tina O'Sullivan, Certified Pilates Instructor
If you know me at all you know I LOVE to be upside down, and I usually get one of two response when I share my inverted experience… either ‘WOW’ or ‘OW.’ Although I want everyone else to be as excited as I am to get upside down, I totally understand the initial “OW” reaction.
Inversions are not all about being flashy on Instagram, and showing off how cool I look with all the blood rushing to my face… #joking. There are actually many benefits to getting a different view of things every once and a while (on and off the mat).
***Practice SAFELY and under the supervision of your personal trainer/instructor.
Don’t let all the beautiful half-naked women on Instagram intimidate you. You don’t need to be able to hold a handstand for a minute to get the benefits of being upside down. You can use different props/equipment to help you gain a better understanding of the “upside-down.”
My recommendation is to take it slow and LISTEN TO YOUR BODY! It took me over 3 years to even be able to hold a headstand without support. I am still working on my handstand daily, its a process, and enjoy the ride!!!
by Skye Nacel, Certified Personal Trainer (MovNat Level 2), Certified Broga Instructor
The Steel Mace is an ancient training tool dating back over 2000 years ago. It was an important part of training for Hindu Warriors who used the Gada as a weapon and the Mace as possibly the first ever cross training tool (albeit for war). Early versions were usually a long bamboo stick with a heavy stone attached to the end. This style of training continued to be used for generations but has just entered a renaissance of sorts with there now being several modern manufactured versions available.
We are pleased to announce that we have steel maces at Evolve and have been using them regularly in our classes ranging from Fit Fusion to Movement Fundamentals as well as with personal training clients and physical therapy patients. The benefits of steel mace training are numerous! Since the mace holds almost all of its weight in the ball head, this results in an uneven weight distribution which really engages stabilizing muscles around our joints.
Core strength is required to keep the mace in position as we move through positions which includes lots of rotation. Grip strength is also a very huge benefit and as we know, there are several research studies linking grip strength and mortality. We think of it as one of the most functional tools you can possibly use which is why we brought them in and trained the staff in their usage.
We have a range of 10 and 15 pound Set for Set Steel maces. Feel free to ask one of our trainers about them and arrange a short demo so you can see some ways to use them. Feel free to check out this video by our friends Anthony Rock and Set for Set to see them in action.
by Brandy Krumdieck, Certified Personal Trainer (ACSM), CoreAlign Instructor
There are a lot of health benefits associated with inversion (being in a position where your heart is above your head), and I believe that everybody should reap some rewards by inverting regularly. To many people, inversion is seen as a scary advanced/acrobatic-like form of exercise. And it can be, yes, but inverting can be as simple as lying on your back with your legs resting up against a wall.
Some of the benefits of being upside-down include:
Improved Blood Flow & Brain Function
Being inverted increases blood flow to the heart, giving it a break from having to work hard to pump, making your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Blood flow increases to the brain as well, giving it more oxygen and nutrients. This allows the brain to function more efficiently, improving concentration, memory, observation and clear thinking. Stagnant blood from the legs and feet is also moved while inverted, which decreases inflammation and leg pain (I do the legs-up-the-wall pose as recovery after an intense lower body workout).
Improved Hormone Production
Being inverted stimulates all of the glands of the body (adrenal, thyroid, pituitary, etc.), increasing hormone production and balance. We rely on hormones to regulate our mood, skin, bones and metabolism. Yes, spending a little time in inversion can boost your mood and metabolism... and it’s been thought to help clear your skin and improve hair growth. Cortisol (the stress, “fight or flight” hormone) is also decreased while being inverted, which calms the body and mind. If you have trouble sleeping, try inverting right before bed. It will make a difference.
Unlike the circulatory system with the heart, the lymphatic (immune) system doesn’t have an automatic pump to circulate lymphatic fluid throughout the body. Being upside down increases lymphatic drainage, boosting your immunity. Do you get sick a lot? If so, start inverting daily!
Being inverted increases movement through the bowels, helping to clear your digestive system. When you’re dealing with indigestion, spend some time upside down.
Improved Upper Body Strength
Headstands (when supported correctly), forearm stands, and handstands require a lot of work from your shoulders/arms to keep you supported. If you invert in either of those positions regularly, your upper body strength will increase.
If being upside down scares you, it’s okay. Like I mentioned above, inverting can be any position where your heart is above your head. If you work on progressing to a more difficult inversion, conquering that fear will greatly increase your confidence, improving your awesomeness. If you have no desire to progress your inverting, that’s okay! You’ll notice a difference in how you think and feel after regularly inverting, which will also improve your awesomeness. It’s a win-win!
Important things to keep in mind… if you deal with neck pain/issues, be very careful. If you do a shoulder stand, DO NOT turn your neck to the side. If you’re doing a headstand, have your weight on the crown of your head, NOT YOUR FOREHEAD! There should be NO pain or strain anywhere, so please be cautious and listen to your body. Also, you shouldn’t stay inverted if you start to feel dizzy, or like your head is about to explode. Invert at your own risk. Start simple, then progress from there.
Now get upside down!!
by Beth Ballantyne, Stott Certified Pilates Instructor
Hungry and short on time? Here is my go-to pick-me-up smoothie. It also makes a great breakfast on the go paired with some protein.
Favorite Green Smoothie
Blend, pour into a jar with a well-fitting lid and off you go.
Besides being a veritable cornucopia of vitamins and minerals, spinach is low in fat and cholesterol, has a dash of protein, and is a great source of dietary fiber.
Mint has been associated with health benefits in many areas: digestion, nausea and headache, respiratory disorders, asthma, breast feeding, depression and fatigue, skin care, memory loss, weight loss, sterility, oral care, allergies and hay fever, and cancer.
Vitamins B6, A, and C. These are also a good source of natural sweetness and dietary fiber.
Just go easy on these as they are mostly sugar. You can choose to use more water and less juice if you are watching your sugar intake.
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