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Entries in yoga (18)


5 Types of Exercise for People with Dementia

The following is an excerpt from a Department of Health & Human Services blog post written by Alexandra Black, health promotion manager for IHRSA. 

Regular physical activity can reduce the likelihood of developing dementia. Physical activity can also help improve cognition in adults with some mild cognitive decline. Some research has also found benefits for people with fully progressed Alzheimer’s disease—in one study cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with reduced brain atrophy. 

Older adults, particularly those over 55, may experience a number of barriers to exercise including cost, lack of mobility, existing chronic illness, fear of injury, intimidation, and low self-efficacy. 

Recreational and community fitness centers are well positioned to help people at risk for or dealing with dementia improve their health and quality of life. Group exercise classes can be especially beneficial, as they involve social interaction. Below are five types of exercise classes that recreational facilities can offer that are great for people at risk for or in the early stages of dementia. 

1. Restorative Yoga 

Restorative yoga is a lower intensity form of yoga focused on breathing, posture, and gentle movements. Yoga can improve balance and flexibility, which are both important for a group at higher risk for falls. Chair yoga is also a good alternative for people who have lost some mobility or have a lower body injury.

2. Functional Training 

Many older adults rate independence as a top priority, and its loss in older adults often results from reduced ability to perform movements required for everyday life like sitting and standing from a chair or reaching food off the top shelf. Classes and activities focused on strengthening the muscles and coordination required to perform these activities can help people stay independent longer.

3. Aquatic Exercise

Water’s buoyance means workouts done in the pool generate less impact on bones and joints. This makes aquatic aerobics or swimming a good option for people looking to improve aerobic fitness under lower impact conditions. Aerobic exercise can also help stimulate blood flow to the brain and help improve sleep qualityExternal Link: You are leaving

4. Dance-based Fitness 

During dance fitness classes, participants often need to remember different steps, and in some cases interact with a partner.  This offers participants a fun way to be physically active, build aerobic fitness, be social, and challenge the mind and memory.

5. Tai Chi

Tai Chi is a relaxing, low impact form of exercise that has been shown to help improve sleep quality, muscle strength, balance, and flexibility.

Continue reading "5 Types of Exercise for People with Dementia" on HHS' Be Active Your Way blog.


Happy International Day of Yoga

Tuesday, June 21 marks International Day of Yoga, celebrated by the United Nations as a day to raise awareness about the many benefits of practicing yoga. 

Yoga has been shown to decrease stress, improve muscle strength, help maintain balance, and increase flexibility. Many clubs offer yoga as part of their group exercise offerings, and some clubs offer yoga for specific groups like prenatal yoga and yoga class for older adults. 

According to the latest IHRSA Consumer Report, 9.9 million consumers participated in yoga in 2014, one of the most popular group exercise offerings for people under 24. Stretching and calisthenics were one of the most popular offerings to adults over 55. And, according to the Sport and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), 25.2 million health club members participated in yoga in 2015. 

IHRSA members offer a wide variety of yoga styles, from meditative and restorative yoga to higher intensity Vinyasa and power yoga classes, as well as Bikram yoga, or yoga performed in a heated room. Some clubs and boutiques have taken a more interesting route—trying out yoga with cats, beer, and even salt. 

Are you celebrating International Day of Yoga? Tag us on Twitter @IHRSA or add the hashtag #WhyGetActive. 


This Week in the Fitness Industry: Legislators Attend #WhyGetActive Health Policy Fair on Capitol Hill

U.S. Legislators Attend 3rd Annual #WhyGetActive Health Policy Fair
IHRSA and the Congressional Fitness Caucus hosted the third annual #WhyGetActive Health Policy Fair on Capitol Hill this Thursday, gathering members of Congress to highlight national efforts and policies to promote physical activity. The day-long event featured interactive exhibits from IHRSA members and IHRSA allies, free body composition screenings, massages, and a group workout. “This is so, so important,” Rep. Ron Kind (WI) said in a speech during the fair. “As we know, we’ve got to change the culture in America, we’ve got to make it easy for more people to be more active. Basically, we have to make healthy choice the easy choice in peoples lives—that means not only physical activity, but nutrition.” Rep. Bob Dold (IL), Rep. Brenda Lawrence (MI), Carolos Cubelo (FL), Rep. Peter DeFazio (OR), and a number of congressional staff also attended.

Rep. Robert Dold (IL)

Social Media Might Be Behind Popularity of Inversion Yoga Poses
A growing number of yoga participants are striving to master inversion poses, according to The New York Times. The fixation could be caused by social media, where images of yogis doing handstands and other complex poses are popular. An analyst with market research firm IBISWorld said yoga poses lend themselves to showing off—a statement supported by Instagram search results, where the hashtag #yogaeverydamnday has more than five million posts, and #handstand and #handstands have over 400,000. “There’s a level of badassness to it,” Metta Murdaya, 41, told The Times. Murdaya, who has been working on her handstand for two years, said her inversion practice made her feel more confident, fearless, and focused. “Literally, you succeed because you refuse to fail.”

Running Boom Slows as Millennials Opt for Noncompetitive Fitness
After two decades of growth, the popularity of competitive running is starting to slow due to decreased participation from millennials,
The Wall Street Journal reports. The sport is traditionally dominated by young adults, but statistics show those aged 18 to 34 years old are choosing noncompetitive fitness over running. The number of footrace finishers decreased by 9% in 2015, according to Running USA. While the research group reported the sport reached an all-time peak of 19 million runners in 2013, it has since dropped to 17 million in 2015. “Of course, most runners don’t compete in marathons, half-marathons, 10Ks or 5Ks,” The Journal reports. “But the larger pool of noncompetitive runners also is shrinking—especially among millennials, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Overall, the number of adults who run 50 times a year or more declined 11% from 2013 to 2015.”

Fitness Trackers Move to Basketballs and Socks
Fitness trackers have evolved from the clip-on pedometer to the ubiquitous wristband. Now, The New York Times reports that the next iteration of fitness trackers is taking new forms. In the article, The Times details several fitness trackers that are embedded in basketballs, socks, and other unconventional items. The Wilson X Connected Basketball costs $199, and was created to track shots in real time to help players develop shooting skills. A sensor embedded inside the ball records made and missed shots, which it relays to an app. Sensoria’s Fitness Smart Socks, $199, feature textile sensors that transmit data to a mobile app via anklets that are connected to the socks. “As cumbersome as that sounds, the socks are comfortable and the anklets are unnoticeable and stay securely attached,” the reporter wrote. “When used with the Sensoria Fitness app, the socks produce a wealth of real-time feedback on cadence, foot landing, pace and speed (for instance, I found out that I landed on my heel too often when I ran).”


This Week in the Fitness Industry: First IMAX Cycling Studio Opens in NYC

First IMAX Cycling Studio Opens in New York City
The first IMAX cycling studio opened in a warehouse under the Manhattan Bridge in New York City this week, reports CNBC. The warehouse has been renovated to fit 50 spin bikes on five levels in front of a 40-by-24-foot screen. “I pedaled through snow-capped mountains first, just to get warmed up,” the CNBC reporter wrote. “Then I moved effortlessly over a still blue sea. Until the tunnel. That's when it went techno. Streaming lines, thumping rhythms, all blending (well, not really blending) with the blaring encouragement of a top fitness trainer in a tiny sport top.” Classes are $34 each with monthly packages running about $350. "Imax is always looking for opportunities to take the brand, the technology and, frankly, the focus on larger-than-life experiences to different places," said Bryan Marcovici, CEO of IMAX Shift. "With fitness, you have a market where people are migrating from big-box gyms to more boutique personal engaging experiences. We have an opportunity to accelerate that trend." 

Study: To Avoid Obesity, Exercise Matters More than Diet
Exercise may be more important than diet when it comes to avoiding obesity, according to a study by researchers at the University of Missouri. For the study, researchers split obesity-prone rats into three groups: a control group, a sedentary dieting group, and an exercise group with unlimited access to food. At the end of the study, the control group had become obese, but the dieting and exercise groups had maintained a healthy weight. However, they found that the rats that exercised were metabolically healthier, with better insulin sensitivity and lower levels of bad cholesterol than the dieters. They also burned more fat each day for fuel, according to their metabolic readings, and had more cellular markers related to metabolic activity within their brown fat than the dieting group. Additionally, the exercise group “showed no signs of compensatory eating or compensatory inactivity,” the researcher who oversaw the study told The New York Times

IHRSA Represents at Prestigious BIAC Forum on Innovation in Health and Well-being
Several IHRSA representatives, including Helen Durkin, IHRSA's executive vice president of global public policy, Kilian Fisher, IHRSA's global public policy advisor, and IHRSA members Martin Seibold and Catherine Carty, are representing the fitness industry at the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) Forum on Innovation in Health and Well-being. The forum, held May 3-4, 2016 in Paris at the OECD headquarters, is a unique two-day event that brings together senior representatives from government, the OECD, the leaders of multi-national consumer corporations, and leading experts in health and wellbeing to exchange solutions and policy recommendations. "With so many multi-national food and drink companies and trade associations involved, this is our opportunity as one of the few 'positive' industries involved to really drive the health and wellness message, especially with regard to what the fitness and health club industry can offer to help addressing the global health crisis," Kilian Fisher said when speaking about the opportunities presented in attending this event. Read our full coverage of the BIAC Forum. 

Yoga May Improve Symptoms, Quality of Life for Asthma Sufferers
Asthma sufferers who practice yoga may see small improvements in their symptoms and quality of life, according to a new review. The findings come from a doctor in Hong Kong who looked at the results of 15 studies involving more than 1,000 asthma patients to determine whether yoga provided significant benefits. “One third of these studies included only yoga breathing exercises, and the rest included breathing, postures, and meditation,” Reuters reports. “The yoga practice lasted anywhere from two weeks to four and a half years, though it was less than six months in most studies. Overall, yoga slightly improved symptoms and quality of life and reduced the need for medications.”


This Week In the Fitness Industry: Former Twitter CEO Announces Fitness Platform, SoulCycle Partners with Target

SoulCycle Partners with Target for 10-City Retail Tour, Apparel Collaboration
SoulCycle is teaming with retail chain Target to bring co-branded workout attire and cycling classes at select stores in 10 U.S. cities. “SoulCycle’s signature studio cycling classes are a rising trend—the 45-minute, high-intensity workouts (complete with candlelight and rocking music) have already captivated fitness enthusiasts in several U.S. cities,” said a Target press release. “Now, we’re broadening the program’s reach to give even more guests unprecedented access to this highly sought-after experience." The SoulCycle parternship is Target's first fitness collaboration; past partnerships have involved high-end fashion houses, such as Lilly Pulitzer and Rodarte. Read more in The Atlantic’s “Sweat: The Hottest Accessory.”

Brunswick Adds Cybex to Its Life Fitness Division for $195 Million
Brunswick Corporation, owner of Life Fitness, announced that it has acquired fitness equipment maker Cybex International for $195 million. Cybex’s cardiovascular and strength products span the commercial fitness market, including treadmills, exercise bikes, the Cybex Arc Trainer, plate-loaded weight equipment, and free weights. Cybex’s 2015 sales were estimated at about $169 million. Read IHRSA’s coverage of the acquisition here.

Study: Yoga Improves Mobility for Adults Over 60
Yoga can improve mobility for adults over age 60 and may help to prevent falls, according to research by The University of Sydney. For the study, researchers analyzed six trials, with a total of about 300 participants. The programs were each led by a certified yoga instructor and tended to include 60 to 90 minutes of yoga once or twice weekly for a total of two to six months. “These results are exciting but not particularly surprising since there is evidence from other research that similar types of exercise programs, Tai Chi, for example, can improve balance and mobility in older people,” the study’s senior author told Reuters. “What is exciting about the results is that significant improvements occurred in balance and mobility as a result of relatively short programs of yoga—the average number of hours offered was 20 hours.”

Former Twitter CEO Plans to Launch Personal Fitness Platform
Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said he is launching a new personal fitness platform, according to The Wall Street Journal. He co-founded the company with Bryan Oki, CEO of health and wellness consulting firm Fitify Inc. "We're building a software platform that reimagines the path to personal fitness," Costolo wrote in his announcement on Twitter. "This platform will go beyond measurement to motivate and drive improvement and make the road to personal transformation fun and social. For wellness professionals, from fitness coaches to physical therapists and nutritionists and more, out platform will be the easiest and most flexible way to extend expertise and guidance by orders of magnitude."

Study: Fitness Trackers Encourage Walking, Discourage Fun
A new study has found that, while fitness trackers succeed in encouraging wearers to walk more, it also zaps users' fun. Researchers from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business conducted six experiments for the study, which will publish in the April issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, New York Magazine reports. They gave 100 participants pedometers and covered some of the displays with tape. Results showed that 70% of those with visible displays checked them regularly and it made them take more steps, but ultimately made walking feel like work.


Like-Minded MyFitness Pal Users Creating Tribes 

A tribe is defined as a group of like-minded individuals.

MyFitnessPal, an online and app-based program that aids those looking to lose weight and get in better shape by exercising, has discovered that its users have created their own tribes - Fitness Tribes as MyFitnessPal is now calling it.

The company started to produce trend reports from its data and survey results and learned some interesting information:

  • 64% surveyed belong to at least one Fitness Tribe
  • top group workouts for 2013 and so far in 2014 are yoga, Zumba and group indoor cycling.
  • 24% joined a gym with another tribe member

And using the stats and survey results from its 65 million users it has also discovered that those who use MyFitnessPal’s food diary lose twice as much weight.

MyFitnessPal has created a free eBook, The Rise of the Fitness Tribe from MyFitnessPal, which delves deeper into Fitness Tribes.

For more, visit the MyFitnessPal website.



YogaFit creates program for soldiers with PTSD

Photo courtesy of YogaFitYogaFit Training Systems Worldwide is unveiling a new DVD that is aimed at helping soldiers suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

YogaFit for Warriors calms thoughts, tension and emotions through transformational language, slower movements and focused breathing exercises. Meditation imagery techniques addressing PTSD are also employed.

Part of the proceeds will be donated to the Wounded Warriors Project and toward a scholarship for yoga teachers to become certified in YogaFit for Warriors Teaching teacher training.

Visit for more information and to order the DVD.


The Weymouth Club is not afraid of change

The Weymouth Club, a beautifully designed, meticulously maintained, 100,000-square-foot multipurpose club in Weymouth, Mass., that has some 4,000 memberships, prides itself on ongoing innovation - so much so, it’s undergone 14 upgrades over its 25-year history. 

Yes, that’s 14! This just might be a record among IHRSA members.

The club’s owners, the husband-and-wife team of Steve and Sally Goldman, have been willing to endure the headaches, the inconvenience, and the expense of a renovation - things that few operators look forward to - because there’s a tremendous payoff.

Read on to see how their dreams turn into reality.


New yoga classes attracting wide variety of participants

Lazy Dog PaddleYogaIt’s not just about downward dog anymore …

Recently, yoga has been taking on some unusual new forms, and begun showing up in some unlikely places. In the process, it’s been attracting interest and gaining converts. 

In fact, this mind/body phenomenon’s new tagline could very well be “expect the unexpected.” 

Read the complete story here.


Study: yoga can help immune system

Yoga has been practiced for more than 5,000 years, so there must be a good reason for its longevity.

Most know that it assists with one's strength, flexibility and balance. But a new study out of Norway suggests that it also makes a positive impact on your immune system.

The study shows that doing yoga can have a long-term effect on gene expression - whether protein or RNA product is being made.

For more, click here.