You must remember that you do not always have to indulge in cardio exercises to maintain a lean body. You can also take up less intense exercises, such as Pilates and yoga, to attain lean muscles. Both of these workouts are wonderful and are more beneficial than some people believe.
Many people look at yoga and think that it’s girly and that it’s not something that could possibly help them. Others look at it and think that there’s no way they’d ever be able to do the poses that others can. Both of these beliefs are wrong.
Yoga is incredibly beneficial to not only women but also to men. It is beneficial to anyone who wants to get in shape, lose weight, or become more flexible and balanced in their life. All of these are good reasons to give yoga a try. If you want to try something else,
Pilates is also incredibly useful. Pilates aims to do very similar things to what yoga does but in very different ways. That doesn’t make it any better or worse, but it is definitely interesting to look at both of them. Here are the best exercises from each for you to try out.
Best Pilates Moves
This set is best for women who cannot hit the gym and have only a little time to exercise. You can use this set to achieve a lean upper body. Pilates is a way to get a great workout in not too much time, because it focuses on developing good posture, flexibility, balance, and strength all at the same time.
It’s not quite a full-body workout, but it definitely works a lot on your body. It works your legs, your core, your glutes, and your back. The only one it doesn’t work is your arms, but with the other benefits that Pilates has, it doesn’t matter. You can work your arms doing different things after your Pilates workout.
It’s a low impact exercise – one that anyone can do. It focuses on working your muscles strong, but that doesn’t mean it can’t also be gentle. If you’re at home and just really can’t make it to the gym, doing this workout can be a great thing. All you need to perform this is a resistance band that you can buy from any sports equipment shop or order online.
There are 4 exercises that you can perform to achieve a good burn. Let us look at these 4 in detail. Remember that the quality of the moves is more important than quantity: make sure that each repetition is done as cleanly and strongly as possible, rather than focusing on the number of repetitions.
For beginners, focus on moving slowly and using the correct form; for those who are more advanced, you can try holding 1 to 2 lb dumbbells while you perform the moves.
Exercise 1: Start by standing with your feet spread out but your heels touching. Hold the resistance band in your hand. Now raise your heels and stretch the band over your head and then push it behind your head. You need to completely stretch each and every possible muscle in your body while doing so. Hold the position for a couple of seconds, and then release. You can do 15 repetitions and 3 sets of this exercise. You can increase it if you think it is possible for you to push your body more.
Exercise 2: Next, sit on the floor or the mat. Maintain a straight back, and splay your legs slightly. Place the resistance band across the arches below your feet and hold it stretched out. Now bend your knees slightly, and bend forward to try and touch your chest to your knees. You need to push the resistance band backwards in doing so. Maintain this pose for 5 seconds and release. You can do 15 repetitions and 5 sets of this exercise.
Exercise 3: Lie on your back, and place the resistance band on an anchor that is placed 1 foot above the ground. Now lift your legs in the air and bend them at the knees, such that your lower leg is parallel to the floor. Hold the resistance band, and pull it down while lifting your head, neck, and shoulder. This will help the muscles in your head, neck, and shoulders burn. You can do 15 repetitions and 3 sets of this.
Exercise 4: Sit on the floor, and stretch your legs out. Wrap the resistance band around the arches below your feet. Now tilt back a little, and lift your legs up. Don’t lose balance and fall back; the idea is to balance yourself on your butt. Now bend at the knees, and have your lower legs parallel to the floor. Stretch the resistance band, and try and bring your hands over your shoulders. You can do 15 repetitions and 3 sets of this and increase the number if your body is capable of taking on more.
If you do not have an exercise band and do not want to invest in one, or if you want to see whether Pilates is for you before you purchase an exercise band, you can try the following moves at home using only a workout mat or some other similar surface.
Exercise 1: The Pilates Curl
Lie on the floor face up, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Have your arms at your sides. While exhaling, curl your chin to your chest and bring your shoulders completely off the mat. Hold this position for 1 breath, then lower back down slowly. Lift from your breastbone to make sure that you are engaging your abs; this will also help you to avoid injuring your neck.
Exercise 2: The Hundred
Lie on the floor face up, and bring your knees toward your chest. Lift your head, neck, and shoulders off of the mat, and stretch your hands out to your sides with your palms facing the floor. Extend your legs out at a 45-degree angle, with your heels together and toes apart (this is called the Pilates stance). Pump your arms up and down while breathing in and out through your nose for 5 counts each. Repeat the move for 10 sets.
Exercise 3: The Roll-Up
To do this move, lie face-up on the floor with your arms extended toward the ceiling. While exhaling, curl your chin down to your chest and roll up to a sitting position with your arms reaching toward your feet. While inhaling, reverse and roll back down to the floor one vertebrae at a time. Make sure that you move slowly and smoothly, and that there is no forward jerking or lunging.
Exercise 4: The Ball Roll
Sit on your mat with your knees drawn toward your chest and your arms wrapped around your legs. Rock back onto your tailbone, with your feet just a few inches above the mat. Inhale and then roll backward until your shoulder blades touch the floor.
Exhale and roll forward to the starting position. Use your abdominal muscles to control your momentum, and make sure that you stop your movement forward before your feet touch the mat. You can do these exercises on a daily basis, and try to do them twice a day for the best results.
Best Yoga Poses
Yoga is an ancient Indian exercise program that has been performed for hundreds of years. The poses that yoga prescribes are capable of massaging your body from the inside. All of the poses that you do in yoga will benefit you in some way.
There are poses that relax you after having done some more intense poses, but even those will stretch you out and let your body take in everything it had just done. Yoga also has many benefits outside of the obvious. It can truly be a life-changing workout that can not only make your body stronger but also relax you. Let us look at these poses in detail.
Pose 1:Downward Facing Dog
This pose is meant to help your back, abs, and legs have a good burn. You can start by lying flat with your face to the ground. Now use your palms to push your upper body upwards and your feet to push your lower body upwards.
You, along with the floor, need to form a triangle. Now look in front, and raise your left leg high in the air. Push as much as you can. Hold the pose for 2 seconds and return the leg back to the ground. Now raise your right leg and hold for 2 seconds before returning it back. You can do 10 reps and 2 sets.
Pose 2: Surya Namaskar
The Surya Namaskar is a pose that helps the entire body and requires you to perform intense exercises successively. There are 12 poses in all, and they are as follows:
Start by standing straight and joining your hands to do Namaste. Now lift your hands and push them upwards and backwards, and do the same with your back and neck. Now quickly bend and touch your toes. Bend down and push your left leg backward, and perform a forward lunge.
Push your right leg back, and get into the upper plank position. Now quickly lie on the floor and lookup. Push yourself up to attain the downward facing dog neutral pose. Now perform the forward lunge with the left leg forward, and quickly get up to touch your toes. Bend backwards, and come back to the Namaste position again. Do 5 sets.
Pose 3: Wheel Pose
The wheel pose will stretch out your spine completely and work on your abs to firm them up. To perform this pose, start by lying face down on the floor. Now bring your heels towards your butt and raise your head, neck, and shoulders.
Bend your hands back to grab your feet, and pull them towards your bent head. Remain in this pose for 5 seconds, and then go to the neutral position. You can do 5 sets of this pose.
Pose 4: Warrior Pose
To perform the warrior pose, start by standing straight with your hands on your side and legs joined. Now place your right leg forward, such that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push your left leg backwards simultaneously.
Now join your hands, and lift them above your head. You can stare at your palms. Hold for a couple of seconds, and go back to the neutral position. Repeat this 5 times.
Pose 5: Bridge Stand
To perform the bridge pose, lie flat on your back. Now bend your legs, and place your heels as close to your butt as possible. Lift your lower torso and balance your upper body with your head, neck, and shoulder.
Join your hands between the gap that is created under your lower back. Hold for a few seconds and release. Do this 10 times. For beginners, you can make the pose easier by placing a stack of pillows under your tailbone.
Pose 6: Mountain Pose
To perform the mountain pose, put your feet together and stand tall. Relax your shoulders and make sure that your weight is distributed evenly through the soles of your feet. Start with your arms at your sides, then take a deep breath and lift your arms over your head, palms facing each other and arms straight. Reach toward the sky with your fingertips.
Pose 7: Tree Pose
To perform the tree pose, start by standing with your arms at your sides. Stand with all of your weight on your left leg, and be sure to keep your hips facing forward throughout the entire movement.
Pull your right foot up to rest on the inner part of your left thigh. Once you feel that you have balance, bring your hands in front of you in a prayer position, with your palms together. While inhaling, extend your arms over your shoulders, palms separated but still facing each other.
Stay in this position for 30 seconds, then lower your arms and repeat the pose on the opposite side. This position can be difficult at first. For beginners or those with difficulties balancing, you can bring your right foot to the inside of your left ankle, rather than your left thigh, and keep your toes on the floor. This will help with balance.
As you improve in doing this pose and develop better balance, you can move your foot to the inside of your left calf, then eventually up to your thigh.
Pose 8: Triangle Pose
For the triangle pose, stand with your feet about 36 inches apart, with the toes on your right foot turned out to 90 degrees and the toes on your left foot turned out to 45 degrees. Extend your arms out to your sides, and then bend over your right leg.
Let your right hand touch the floor or rest on your right leg just above or below your knee. Extend your left hand’s fingertips toward the ceiling. Look up to the ceiling and hold the pose for 5 breaths. Stand and repeat the pose on the opposite side.
Pose 9: Seated Twist
This pose stretches your shoulders, back, and hips, as well as increases your circulation and strengthens your abdominal muscles and your obliques. To perform the seated twist, sit on the floor with your legs extended in front of you.
Cross your right foot over the outside of your left thigh, and bend your left knee. Keep your right knee pointed up to the ceiling. Move your left elbow on the outside of your right knee, and keep your right hand flat on the floor behind you.
Twist to the right as far as you can, moving from your abdomen. Make sure to keep both sides of your butt on the floor. Stay in this position for 1 minute, then switch sides and repeat the pose.
For beginners, you can make this position easier by keeping your bottom leg straight and placing both of your hands on your raised knee. If you find that your lower back is rounding forward, sit on a folded blanket.
Pose 10: Cobra Pose
For the cobra pose, lie on the floor face down, thumbs placed directly under your shoulders. Extend your legs out, with the tops of your feet flat on the floor. Tighten your pelvic muscles, and pull your hips downward, squeezing your glutes. Press your shoulders down toward the floor and away from your ears.
Push down with your thumbs and index fingers while raising your chest toward the wall in front of you. Relax and repeat the pose 4 more times.
Pose 11: Pigeon Pose
This pose works on your piriformis, which is one of your deep gluteal muscles. To perform the pigeon pose, start in a full push-up position with your palms aligned under your shoulders. Place your left knee on the floor near your shoulder, with your left heel by your right hip.
Lower down onto your forearms, and bring your right leg down with the top of your right foot on the floor. Keep your chest lifted to the wall in front of you, but stay looking down. Pull your stomach in toward your spine, and tighten your pelvic floor muscles while contracting the right side of your glutes.
Curl your right toes under while pressing the ball of your foot into the floor, pushing through the heel. Bend your knee to the floor and release. Do 5 repetitions in total, then switch sides and repeat.
For more advanced or more flexible practitioners, instead of keeping your chest lifted toward the wall in front of you, you can bring your chest down to the floor and extend your arms in front of you. This will provide a deeper stretch and will work the target muscles more. You can perform these poses twice a day to receive their full benefits.
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