Tag Archives: stretching

Let the Rhythm Move You!

Inspiration comes in many forms, for me music is a huge motivator.  I’ve always been a musically inclined person, even if I didn’t know it.  I started in elementary school playing the recorder, graduated to the clarinet for junior and senior high school, and I still play the clarinet today, mind you not nearly as well anymore.  I have always been able to feel and move to the beat of the song but don’t be mistaken, I dance like Elaine from “Seinfeld”.  There I go dating myself again.

Music is an expression of feeling or mood, even an expression of identity for some.  I have several playlists that I listen to when working out, and they’re all based what my program of the day consists of as well as the mood I am in walking into my workout.  I edit my playlists about once a month to update my motivation and keep from overplaying these delightful gems.

When I want to hit the cardio hard, I focus on pop music, whether it’s current top 40 or from another generation all together, if it makes me smile and want to dance, it makes the cut.  This week’s current cardio-killer favorites include Justin Timberlake’s “Cant Stop The Feeling”, Will.I.Am and Britney Spears “Scream & Shout”, Nicki Manaj “Super Bass”, and Men Without Hats “Safety Dance”. Love them or hate them my friends, but they make me smile and move a little bit faster.

Weight lifting/resistance training is a completely different beast for me.  My focus and mindset changes, as I suddenly have to pay close attention to my posture and form as well as breathing and core engagement.  With so many more factors to be considered, I need something rock to focus..  My favorite lifting anthems right now include Rise Against “Prayer Of The Refugee”, Metallica “Better Than You”, and Social Distortion “Story Of My Life”.

Cool down and stretching are important components of fitness that are forgotten or skipped quite frequently.  I have made my self an amazing chill playlist to enjoy at the end of my workout to inspire me to stay those five minutes longer and work on my balance, range of motion, and relaxation.  Current favorites include The Gaslight Anthem’s “Bring It On”, Pearl Jam’s “Release”, and Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You”.

I’m pretty passionate about both wellness and music, so I’m elated that the two can go hand in hand for me.  I feel like my musical tastes are a part of me and I’m happy to share a snippet of myself in the form of musical identity with you.  Take the time to build a stellar playlist.  Keep a list in your “notes” app on your phone of songs you hear and decide you love so you can download and add it later.  Something that makes you want to dance, sing and have a great time.  It’ll brighten up your day, kick up the intensity in your workout, and leave you feeling refreshed and in a better mood walking out of the gym.

Shake it Off!

Fitness Fundamentals

Fitness isn’t necessarily what it used to be.  Fitness is a word that brings specific images to mind and for a lot of us, that’s a very specific image of the roots of the word fitness: leg warmers, spandex, and more spandex.  Changing the idea of what fitness is has come over time but it looks like we’re going in a good direction, changing that image to one of overall Wellness. That wellness comes from five different aspects:

Cardiovascular Endurance – Conditioning of the cardiovascular system in the body.  The ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues, and take waste materials away for a sustained period of time Example – biking, running, swimming

Muscular Strength – The maximum force that a muscle can deliver force in in one repetition

Muscular Endurance –  The ability of a muscle to deliver force over a sustained period of time

Flexibility – The movement of a muscle around a joint in a full Range of Motion (ROM).  Important to note: flexibility is different from stretching, stretching actually increases flexibility

Body Composition – The body’s make up of lean muscle, bone, fat mass, and tissues/organs.  The ratio of these masses in the body is considered your body composition

So remember that fitness is more than spandex and leg-warmers.  It’s about our overall wellness, including our cardiovascular and muscular systems, lifestyle, sleep and eating patterns.

Let’s be well.


Give Fusion a try at the Eau Claire YMCA

Know that you need to add some stretching to your workouts but not sure where to start?

Try Fusion! Fusion is a blend of yoga, pilates and fitness, designed to develop strength, balance and flexibility -keys to staying young and feeling great!

Mondays 6:35-7:35pm at the Eau Claire YMCA.

Try a free class Monday March 25th and experience for yourself the benefits of this great workout.

For more information or to register please call 403-781-1684.


Give Fusion a try at the Eau Claire YMCA

Know that you need to add some stretching to your workouts but not sure where to start?

Try Fusion! Fusion is a blend of yoga, pilates and fitness, designed to develop strength, balance and flexibility -keys to staying young and feeling great!

Mondays 6:35-7:35pm at the Eau Claire YMCA.

Try a free class Monday March 25th and experience for yourself the benefits of this great workout.

For more information or to register please call 403-781-1684.


Contributing to a Healthy Community

Flexibility Training:

AAAhhhh – stretching, the feel-good, relaxation part of your workout.  Flexibility is much more than this, however; it is a critical component of your physical fitness.  Many people short-change themselves on this important aspect of fitness or, even worse, skip it altogether.  If we neglect our flexibility training, muscles become chronically shortened, leading to imbalances, tightness and decreased range of motion.  As we age, it can even lead to dependence on others for basic necessities.

In order to improve flexibility, stretches need to be held for a minimum of 30 seconds (1 minute is even better if you have the time) and every major muscle needs to be stretched every day.  If you are unsure of how to stretch certain muscles, one of our weight floor staff will be happy to help you, or come to a group exercise class and you’ll get a stretch at the end of class!

NIA – So What Is It Anyway? Read about the NIA Experience…

Tina Thrussel, Instructor, describes her experience with NIA:

The very first time I participated in a Nia class I cried… tears of joy!  I couldn’t help myself;  it just felt so good!  After years of feeling stiff and rigid, I felt at home in body, given permission to move my body’s way.  The music was uplifting and the movements were easy and fun.

This fusion fitness class seemed to be the answer to my prayers! The combination of the grace of the dance movements, the power of the martial arts and the relaxing stretching of yoga all felt so natural, so effortless… so freeing!!  I was hooked!

Shortly after that first class, I became a Nia teacher myself. I’ve been sharing the Joy of Movement through Nia for more than 6 years now and  I love Nia as much today as I did that first day.

Nia is:
Stress relief
A great workout
Dance-based, barefoot movement to uplifting music
Healing – on all levels!
A way to connect your mind, body and spirit
A place to feel the warmth of community

Nia is like chocolate – you just have to taste it to know how good it is!  Come and taste Nia at the FREE demo class at the Saddletowne YMCA on Wednesday, Feb 13 from 5-6 pm.

Woman Who Dances with Light
(Aka Tina Thrussell)

Inspiring you to bring more Life into your life.

The registered NIA session will run as follows:
Wednesdays Feb 20-March 20
M$40 NM$60 (5 classes)
Barcode: 83609
Call Member Services (403-237-2393) to register.

“Y” Yoga?

We hear it all the time, we should do cardio, and strength and stretching and eat well… No one really answers the “how do I fit it in?….”

Yoga is a great way to get the above workout and so much more! Here are some of the benefits a regular yoga class could bring to your life….

Physical: The movements of yoga will carve out a long, lean, strong, and confident body.

Mental: All those deep breaths reset your mind back to its natural state: calm, focused, and sharp.

Psychological: All the focusing inward illuminates our behaviors and tendencies. The same habits we have on our mat are the ones we have in our lives. We see this, and we gain the freedom of choice. Who do I want to be? We get to create or re- create ourselves each day. Regular practice gives you a clear mind and the inspiration and courage to be constantly expanding and improving your life.

Neurological: When your brain is “on yoga” your neurological system is brought back into balance and is conditioned to steer you naturally toward a healthy lifestyle. Our bodies are constantly rewired to make whatever we practice get easier. When we practice healthy, balanced living we get more healthy, balanced living.

Intuitive: When there is tension in the body and mind, your intuition gets buried and your body switches to survival mode. Your yoga practice makes space in your body physically, releases tension, and calms your mind, making room for your intuition to float to the surface and guide you.

Creative: Creative juices start to flow when your body and mind begin to release mental blocks. Creativity doesn’t like to come out when there are stressors, whether from physical tension or mental cloudiness. When the stress melts away, creativity can come out to play.

Connected: Yoga is the practice of getting connected. However you choose to view your spirituality, when you practice yoga, you remember that we all are connected, here to help each other, and that we have so much potential when we are kind to others.

It’s not too late to join a Winter yoga program at the Eau Claire YMCA!

Register today by calling 403-269-6701!

Monday – Level 2 – 5:15-6:30pm, Fusion (yoga and pilates) – 6:35-7:35pm, or Level 1-  7:40-8:40pm

Tuesday– Level 1 – 5:00-6:00 pm

Wednesday – Level 1 12:05-1:00pm

Thursday – Level 1 6:00-7:00am

Friday – Level 1 12:05-1:00pm

Source: Copyright © 2012 by Tara Stiles, author of Yoga Cures: Simple Routines to Conquer More Than 50 Common Ailments and Live Pain-Free


12 Days of Fitness at the Eau Claire YMCA

On the 7th day of Christmas the Eau Claire YMCA gave to me the gift of relaxation and regeneration.

Give yourself or someone you love a Yoga program this year and help them strengthen, stretch and reenergize their lives.

Beginner to advanced level classes available. For the runner in your life, how about our specialized Yoga for Runners, Mondays 7:40-8:40 pm starting January 7th.

Call 403-269-6701 for more information on this or any of our other programs.

Ideas for Staying Active at a Desk

For many people, a day at work means a day sitting at a desk. Sitting for long periods of time can cause bad posture, discomfort, numbness. Holding the body upright also increases tension and sore muscles and joints.

Find a Good Chair

A good chair can do wonders. Your shoulders should not be slouched, your back should be straight and the top of your computer screen should be level with your eyes. If you cannot work without looking up or down, then you need to adjust the height of your screen. Feet should be flat on the floor.

Stretching Exercises

Every so often, make sure you stretch your arms, legs, neck and torso while sitting. This will help prevent you from feeling stiff.

This article by Work Awesome has some great stretching and exercises to do while sitting.

Stand up Take a Walk

Continuous blood circulation in your body will keep it from discomfort or from getting too strained. If you can, take longer breaks such as a short walk outside and get some fresh air. Don’t forget to use the stairs.

Give your Eyes a Break.

Looking at a computer screen all day can also strain your eyes. Give your eyes a break by looking around the room every so often. If you’re lucky enough to work near a window, even better! This can help lower the chance of eye irritation and headaches. Another technique is to rub your hands together, then place your cupped hands over your eyes.

Convert to a Standing Desk

If your work allows it, a standing desk could help keep your body active. This article by Smarterware explains the benefits of a standing desk.

Other tips to keep your body moving throughout the day:

  • Park farther away.
  • Stand up and walk to the file cabinet instead of rolling your chair.
  • Don’t email but rather walk over and talk to a coworker.
  • Take the scenic route to the bathroom.
  • During lunch, go outside and take a long walk.

Warm Up and Cool Down Tips

Trainers Tip

Now that the winter months are starting to be a thing of the past and the temperature outside is increasing, I often see members skipping the warm-up portion of their workout. Even though we may not feel that we need to warm up because of the weather, warming up is a very essential part of your exercise program and should not be overlooked. Just like a car in the morning, your body needs to be warmed up before it can go full throttle.

A well established warm-up routine will make your body run more efficiently with a lower possibility of sustaining an injury during a hard workout. The warm-up actually prepares your body for the intense exercise that is about to happen. It does this by increasing the blood flow to the muscles which improves the flexibility and the elasticity of the muscles. A warmed up muscle also contracts more forcefully and relaxes more quickly which results in both increased speed and strength.

Here are a few guidelines when planning your warm-up:

  • A warm-up should be about 10 minutes in length and should increase your heart rate above resting and physically make you warmer.
  • Stretching is not a good warm-up. Stretching does not necessarily make your muscles warmer and stretching a “cold” muscle can actually cause damage to that muscle.
  • A warm-up should be light to moderate aerobic activity.

Cooling down after exercise is just as important as warming up:

  • A cool down allows the body to return to its normal resting state it was in before exercise.
  • Cooling down is good to prevent blood from pooling in the extremities and helps to improve flexibility.
  • Light aerobic activity and stretching are good examples of
    a cool down.

For more information around warming up and cooling down contact one of the many certified personal trainers at YMCA Calgary.