It's that time of year again when Mass Media amps up toxic messages about diet and exercise. They promise you drastic changes--"want a NEW body?"--with minimal efforts--"want to avoid GRUELING HOURS in the gym?"--at risk of TOTAL FAILURE. And they play up only the most superficial of successes--what you're gonna look like "when you're done," as if you could maintain any of it without considerable and continuous effort and attention.
You've heard these messages, as well as all the supporting messages that sow discontent, jealousy, and competition. They echo and cultivate and invent your fears. They put pressure on your "pain points," as it's called in marketing lingo, and encourage you to believe that you aren't good enough as is, that happiness comes from being skinny and the envy of all your friends.
Can anything be positive if it comes from and runs on a place of negativity?
So let's reframe our collective view of exercise. There are so many benefits to exercise that have nothing to do with what you look like or how others perceive you. It's about YOUR BODY and that EXERCISE positively affects (i.e. improves the function of) many if not all major systems of the body. The list goes on and on, but here are a few of the ways that exercise really improves your life:
Exercise reduces stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol and releases endorphins like seratonin. Seratonin is a natural pain inhibitor. It regulates mood and sexual function. Seratonin directly or indirectly influences most of our 40 million brain cells. To activate these feel-good hormones, do at least 15 minutes of high-intensity exercise.
Bone and Connective Tissue Health
Just as physical activity strengthens muscles, it also strengthens bones and connective tissues. In response to exercise, the body reinforces the bones with more calcium. Exercise also lubricates the connective tissue and promotes collagen production. Strong bones, muscles, and connective tissues improve balance and coordination and reduce the risk of injury. Do 30 minutes of weight-bearing and resistance activity 3-4 times a week.
Exercise improves blood and lymph circulation. The lymph system is part of your immune system and it's instrumental in flushing toxins from the body. The system has no pump of its own, like the circulatory system, so it relies on movements of the organs and muscles to push the fluid towards the heart so it can be cleaned. Exercise also increases intestinal contractions, speeding the elimination of waste.
We encourage you to think about exercise like water, sleep, and healthy food--basic things your body needs to survive. In 2022, let's stop viewing our bodies through a lens of disappointment and focus on all the ways our bodies excite, fascinate, amuse, and serve us.
Anniversary Treat Recipes
Thank you again to those of you who came out and celebrated our 7th Anniversary with us! We danced outside, enjoyed some homemade treats, raffled prizes and showcased our most popular classes. We received tons of compliments about the healthier blondies and autumn-themed cocktails we served and we're happy to share the recipes with you below - enjoy!
EXERCISE AND PREGNANCY
The female body goes through subtle and obvious changes during pregnancy. Your belly swells, your skin stretches, your muscles separate, your joints relax, your blood flow diverts, your organs shift, your energy changes. Mentally, physically, and emotionally, each woman responds to these changes in her own way. It makes it hard to feel like yourself or to know exactly how to adjust to your new body.
You might wonder if you can exercise during pregnancy, and you might be surprised that it's often encouraged and can benefit pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Before participating, please do discuss exercise with your doctor. There are many benefits to pregnancy, but there are also considerations, like to avoid jumping and bouncing, which is why low-impact exercise like Barre is ideal. Several of our instructors are certified in Pre and Post Natal exercise. With your doctor's advice and approval, we can help you safely exercise during pregnancy. Let us know, and we can walk you through our Pregnancy exercise guide
Exercise during pregnancy can help reduce diastasis recti (ab separation), hypertension, incontinence, thrombosis, and gestational diabetes. It also improves posture (extra helpful as your center of gravity changes), circulation, energy levels, stress, and insomnia. Weight bearing exercise reduces Caesarean births, the use of labor-inducing drugs, fetal heart rate abnormalities, and Caesarean births. Frequently check in with your medical professionals about your exercise routine. Keep us posted on any of your doctor’s recommendations, become aware of and prioritize these simple safety precautions, and be prepared to substitute some exercises with our pregnancy-friendly core exercises.
Safety Considerations With Pregnancy
Although this list of what to avoid seems long, we assure you, the list of things you CAN do is longer. We can show you how to safely exercise throughout your pregnancy with our Pregnancy Exercise Guide (modeled by our lovely Xabeat instructor Devan). You'll focus on developing deep ab strength to improve core support, reduce the risk of injury and ab separation, assist during labor, and help you recuperate faster. We can tell you which exercises to avoid and what to do instead. Talk to your doctor and then talk to your instructor so that you can exercise safely during pregnancy.
Regular aerobic activity (aka cardiovascular training), whether it's walking, swimming, or your beloved 305 Fitness class, can help you live a longer and healthier life. Regardless of age, weight or athletic ability, aerobic exercise is good for you. Most people know the effect cardio exercise has on the heart (lowers your risk of heart disease, improves blood flow, lowers your cholesterol, improves workout efficiency, etc) but the benefits go way beyond this organ...
5 Often-Overlooked Benefits of Cardiovascular Training
Cardio at Straightline
There are cardio components to each of our group fitness formats, although there are a few that are more cardio focused. To add more cardio to your fitness routine, try 305 Fitness, Xabeat, Sweat & Stretch, or PILOXING. While 305 Fitness and Xabeat are more steady-state cardio-dance classes, Sweat & Stretch and PILOXING are interval formats. Interval training is a more efficient way to build cardiovascular endurance. Interval Training alternates short, high intensity bursts of activity with periods of rest (or low-intensity movement) in between. With this type of training you can experience a greater caloric burn, improved oxygen consumption, and gain muscle more quickly.
Get moving with us and reap the rewards of regular aerobic training! Join us from home or in the studio! Click below to view our schedule and get started. New to Straightline? Get our Intro Offer!
We all know that exercise is important, but what about stretching? Stretching lengthens the muscles as well as the tendons, ligaments, and connective tissues. This prevents the muscles from developing in a shortened state and encourages a greater range of motion. Stretching aids in the recovery process by increasing blood flow and delivering oxygen, hydration, and nutrients throughout your body. Straightline incorporates stretching in classes via dynamic warms ups and calming cool downs. You might be tempted to just go through the motions, but here's why you should think twice before skipping the stretching...
5 Benefits of Stretching
Tips for Safe Stretching
All Straightline classes include a cool-down with stretches to maximize the benefits of your workout time. We urge you not to skip the stretch! While Barre is known to increase flexibility, some of our classes include an extra yummy stretch sesh. We recommend trying Sweat & Stretch and Yoga Stretch & Restore. Want stretching anytime? Our on-demand Equipment Corp includes several prop-assisted routines to encourage deeper and more effective stretching.
Try some of our instructor's favorite stretches!
Like most people, you may believe cardio is the best way to get fit. While cardiovascular training is an important component of fitness, strength training prioritizes building lean muscle mass, which is a gift that keeps on giving.
Strength training (aka resistance or weight training) can be anything from body-weighted exercises to lifting very heavy weights. It is a key component of overall health and fitness for everyone.
Although you can build strength with just your bodyweight, adding equipment to your workouts will help you achieve faster results. When it comes to the goods, we're partial to the ones below because they are versatile, inexpensive, and easy to store. Click below to purchase or keep reading to find out how you can rent them from us for FREE.
Join the Equipment Corp
The Equipment Corp is a great way to add Strength Training to your fitness routine. Our team has created a library of targeted workouts that will challenge you in new ways and keep you motivated from home.
Equipment Corp Includes:
-Weekly Video Releases using equipment
-Prop Rental: a ball and resistance band for the length of your corp contract
-10-30 minute on-demand library of targeted equipment workouts including stretches
Limited Time Offer - Join the Corp for only $45/month ($25 for autopay members) AND get access to our daily Zoom du Jour recorded classes. That's access to over 40 different workouts per month!
While operating an online studio, it's been wonderful to see an influx of pregnant women and new mamas join our classes. Whether on-demand or live, virtual workouts are perfectly suited for parenthood. Convenience without the commute is appealing when you don't have a lot of extra time (and no babysitter needed!). To make sure you're safe in virtual classes, it's important to keep a few things in mind. First, always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program. Once approved, reach out to us. The pre/post natal specialists on our team can guide you on the precautions you should take when exercising while pregnant or after giving birth. In the meantime, learning how to properly engage your deepest ab muscles is a skill for a lifetime.
Core Work is Key
Whether you're a mama-to-be, a new mama, or an old one like me, lol, proper core engagement is key. Your goal is to train a mindful connection to your abs to readily engage core support throughout daily movement and during Straightline classes. The exercises below target your deepest abdominal layer, the transverse abdominis (TVA), which functions like a corset and helps stabilize the core.
Do these Exercises to Activate Your TVA
Start with the first exercise and once you master that, progress down the list. Perform each move for 10 reps, adding more reps as you gain strength. These exercises can be done laying on your back, seated, or seated leaning against a ball, which is a really useful tool for training your abs. (Note: Pregnant ladies, after the first trimester, should do these exercises seated or at an incline by leaning against the ball or your forearms.)
Deep Abdominal Breathing: This action is the foundation for the other exercises that follow. Sit tall or lay on your back, knees bent, with the arch of your back pressed down (flat spine). Hold the ball above your belly and breath in. Exhale, contract your abdominal muscles, and pull your belly button away from the ball. You should feel your navel go closer to your spine and your rib cage soften and close a bit. This action is the foundation for all of the other exercises to follow.
Toe Taps: Lie on your back and lift the knees over the hips. Make sure the knees do not come any closer to the chest. Place your hands on your tummy or at your sides, wherever it’s comfortable. As you exhale, on foot down to the floor and tap your toes. Lift the leg again and lower the other leg down to tap. Exhale as you tap. Keep your back to the mat at all times. Modification: Come to your elbows.
Heel Slides: Lean against a ball (or lay on your back knees bent). With back flat and belly tight, extend one leg by sliding your heel against the floor. Drag the heel back in, keeping your abs held in and exhaling.
Make Modifications and Take it Slow
It takes time to rebuild core strength after having a baby, your body is designed to go out and back in--you just have to guide it. These exercises take a lot of mindfulness, not a lot of extra force. Once you're comfortable with being able to hold your belly in and stable, and you have approval from your doc, come to class. This could take days or weeks, don't rush it. Once you return to Straightline classes, be mindful of your alignment and core activation--keep your hips and shoulders square while keeping your belly in during exertion (not just in ab work but throughout the entire class). While your ab muscles are growing back together, omit moves that lean or twist, which encourage abdominal separation. During the ab section of a class, feel free to opt out and perform the exercises above. This will help you be safe while you build up to a regular class.
Wondering which Straightline class to start with? Our signature Barre class is a safe, low-impact option and will help you build stamina, strength and endurance. We can't wait to see you on Zoom (and hopefully in person again in the near future)!
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