If you’re a fan of the exercise machines at your gym, you might put more thought into how to time your visit so there’s actually one free than to what you do when you’re on it, or how it’s benefitting your body. The truth is, getting the most out of a machine takes strategy, and if you’re looking to maximize your time at the gym, some machines are better than others.If a low-resistance stationary bike session or leisurely elliptical hour feels easy, that’s probably because you’re not expending as much energy as you could be. There are plenty of benefits to going slow and steady—it’s great for cardiovascular health, and can help build your endurance and speed—but it’s not going to give you a hardcore calorie burn.Quick note here: If weight loss is your goal, burning calories through cardio work alone isn’t going to do it. You also need to build lean muscle through strength training, and most importantly focus on eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and managing your stress.With all this in mind, here are the ultra-efficient, expert-approved exercise machines you should focus on if your goal is to hit the gym, hit it hard, and hit the road.1. Rowing MachineRowing machines have become gym-floor mainstays, and are excellent tools for raising your heart rate and strengthening your legs, arms, and core—all while sitting down! Not that it’s a walk (er, row?) in the park. “Because the entire body is working at once, energy expenditure is very high,” Jeff Halevy, CEO of Halevy Life in NYC, previously told SELF.“They challenge the user to be powerful and efficient,” adds Crunch master trainer Ariel Iasevoli. They work using wind or water resistance, so the more effort you put in, the harder it becomes (she recommends setting it at a level five to start).The key to the cardio and strength benefits, though, is making sure you’re using the machine the way it’s designed to be used. “Yes, you can hop on one and use it incorrectly and still get an OK workout, but learning the proper timing and technique will provide an even greater workout,” explains Iasevoli.Start seated near the front of the machine with your legs bent and holding the handles in your hands and with a slight lean forward.Push back powerfully with your legs then follow with your arms by bringing the bar to your ribs and lean back slightly. Pause here for a moment.Straighten your arms back out, then bend your knees to bring your body back to the starting position (repeat: legs, arms, arms, legs).It’s all about control and power—if you’re speeding through, you probably aren’t using proper form. “A great rower looks like they’re are going ‘slow.’ Every stroke is powerful, so they don’t need to rush,” says Iasevoli. This will help prevent you from getting exhausted too quickly.2. Stair ClimberUsing these machines (often known as StepMills or StairMasters) is like climbing a set of stairs that just never ends. It’s not pleasant, but it’s effective. “I like the stair climber because the user is standing the entire time, is time efficient, and it forces the user to keep moving the entire time,” says Iasevoli. It’s cardio on cardio on cardio.But you’re also strengthening your lower body, too. After a few flights you’re going to feel the burn in your quads, butt, and hamstrings. “Climbing stairs puts all of your body weight on a single leg at a time in a lunge pattern,” Halevy explains. “The large muscle groups of the legs are being worked, so energy expenditure is very high.”In addition to expending a ton of energy while you’re on the machine, having strong leg muscles is particularly great for increasing your basal metabolic rate (BMR)—because these lower-body muscles are so big, they’re some of the most metabolically active muscles in your body (muscle mass requires more energy to maintain, so you burn more calories at rest). And when you’re climbing with proper posture your core is working to keep you upright and balanced, too.To get started, Iasevoli suggests doing minute-on, minute-off intervals for 10 to 20 minutes, alternating between a faster and a slower speed. (Make sure your entire foot hits the stair with each step.)The cardinal rule of stair climbing, according to Iasevoli and Halevy? No holding onto the arm rails for support. You can lightly rest your fingertips for balance, but for max benefits, don’t put weight into them.3. TreadmillLike the stair climber, “I like the treadmill because it forces the user to keep moving throughout the workout,” says Iasevoli. Two efficient ways to use it for heart-pumping cardio are high-intensity intervals and walking with the incline set high.Treadmills are one of the simplest ways to incorporate high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which is an effective and efficient way to train. Because you’re “revving” your heart rate multiple times during a HIIT session, your body uses more energy to return to a resting state after the workout is over, burning more calories in the process. This is known as excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), or the “afterburn effect.” (Here are 10 treadmill interval workouts to try.)There’s no need to drive your heart rate through the roof during every workout session, though. It’s efficient for burning fat, but it puts a lot of stress on your body, so you don’t want to do it every day. Treadmills have an answer for that. Walking at a significant incline is an excellent way to burn fat without putting as much pressure on your joints. The afterburn effect isn’t as great, but because you’re keeping your heart rate in a moderate zone, you’ll still burn more calories from fat than from carbohydrates, explains Iasevoli.Iasevoli recommends, “Walk at a moderate speed and increase the incline every couple of minutes until you get to about 8. Stay at 8 for 5 to 10 minutes and work yourself back down. You may also do an entire workout at 5 to 7 grade, increasing and decreasing the speed (slow walk to speed walk) every other minute.” Here’s a low-impact, beginner-friendly walking interval workout you can follow along with.4. Fan BikeOne of the most challenging cardio machines out there is the fan bike (also referred to as the Assault Air or Airdyne bike). It looks similar to a stationary bike, but it has a large fan as a front wheel, and two handlebars that are higher than the seat. Unlike a stationary bike though, this equipment requires you to move your arms as well as your legs in order to peddle, and since you’re expending more energy to get it done, you’re burning more calories. Like rowing machines, the bikes use wind resistance to create work. “Wind resistance is exponential, so the harder you pedal, the more challenging the workout,” adds Iasevoli.Because this machine is so intense, Iasevoli recommends starting with 10 seconds of all-out work followed by 50 seconds of rest, and repeat that for a total of 10 minutes. As you get more advanced, you can decrease your ratio of work to rest.Ultimately, the machine you choose is up to personal preference. No matter what your goal is, the most effective and efficient machines are the ones you can be consistent with. So if you consider the treadmill the dreadmill, no sweat—try the rowing machine. And if you actually enjoy the elliptical, that’s cool, too. It’s all about making sure the intensity is there and putting in the work.You may also like: The Ultimate Fat-Burning, Butt-Lifting Workout You Can Do At Home
5 Lifestyle Changes You Should Do in 2020
Doing various lifestyle changes can be difficult especially when you attempt to initiate huge modifications that merely remain unfulfilled over time. Experts assert that planning small changes is more practical and achievable in real life.
Drink more water
The regular intake of water provides a multitude of benefits. Water helps reduce the frequency of migraines; it helps slow down aging; it aids in digestion; it assists in weight loss, among others. Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water each day provides you with more energy, enabling you to manage the daily grind.
Go for daily walks
We all know that exercise helps keep us healthy, as well. However, not everyone has the time—or inclination—to start a rigorous and time-consuming exercise routine. Nonetheless, you can still keep yourself healthy by taking daily walks. You can start by taking a walk after you get up from bed each day and then do another round when you get home from work in the afternoon. If you are working from home, take several breaks and walk in your front yard or garden for a few minutes each time.
Begin writing a gratitude journal
Stress gets accumulated due to the many upheavals of daily life. There is a lot to complain about and work can become too stressful at times. You should know, though, that stress and worry can be debilitating to your health. Starting a gratitude diary allows you to destress yourself, realize how blessed you are, and allow catharsis to unfold.
Do a few minutes of reflection and meditation
Because you tend to be so busy each day, you forget to find time to reassess all the things that you are already blessed with. Worries are everyday facts of living. However, you do not have to dwell on them all the time. Find a few minutes to reflect upon the good things in life. Stay still and silent for a bit. Listen to the birds and smell some flowers if you can.
Ask for help when you need it
The funny thing about most people is that it is considered a crime to ask help from others. Most people think that admitting the need for help is tantamount to admitting weakness—a terrible blunder for one’s dignity. However, it is essential to remember that no one’s perfect and that a lot of us need assistance from time to time. Learning to lower yourself and admit the need for aid ultimately lightens your soul—and even helps you learn the virtue of humility.
It is necessary to plan some changes in your life. These changes can help lighten your everyday burden and eventually welcome more positivity in the different aspects of your existence. However, you should start with doing small modifications. Keeping them small allows you to easily fulfill them because big goals tend to be too difficult especially when you’re too busy trying to keep up with the daily hustle and bustle. Also, laugh a little. Accept your frailty and be at peace with the world.
Yoga: The Ultimate Solution to Chronic Pain
A recent study found that patients with chronic disease and depression found a sort of release upon trying a mindful-based stress reduction course. The study proved that there was a considerable improvement in the participants’ mood, functional capacity, and perceptions of pain upon participating in the activity. According to the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, it was found that 89% of the study’s respondents claimed that the program helped them in various ways. Despite having 11% of the participants remaining neutral, most of them agreed that the activity allowed them to better cope with the pain. Chronic pain may be common, but this ailment is considered one of the most severe medical conditions out there. The medical condition is believed to have affected over 100 million people in the United States and correlates to an annual cost of $635 billion.
The Effects of Chronic Pain
A small-scale study was conducted in a semi-rural population in Oregon, wherein issues about affordability, addiction, and access to care are abundant. During eight weeks, the participants were instructed to try a mindfulness meditation followed by a mindful hatha yoga exercise. According to Cynthia Marske, an osteopathic physician, and director of graduate medical education at the Community Health Clinics of Benton and Linn Counties, she claims that numerous people have lost hope because of the possibility of chronic not being fully resolved. However, she believes that mindful yoga and meditation can help the body’s structure and function and cater to the healing process.
The Difference Between Healing and Curing
According to Dr. Marske, he claims that healing is becoming whole again, while curing is the point of eliminating the disease. He believes that yoga and meditation can help make things manageable during the chronic pain healing process. A study conducted found that mindful meditation and yoga led to notable improvements in a person’s perspective on pain, disability, and depression. In the Patient Health Questionnaire, also known as PHQ-9, it was found that the scores of the standard measure of depression dropped by 3.7 points on a 27-point scale. Dr. Marske concluded that some patients often experience a similar drop from the use of anti-depressants.
Depression and Chronic Pain
Dr. Marske claims that depression and chronic pain go hand in hand. However, he believes that mindfulness-based meditation and yoga can, indeed, restore a patient’s physical and mental health. He believes that both of these combined are effective alone or infused with other medication and therapy treatments. Participants also received instructions from MBSR, a systematic educational program that trains people to raise awareness of the self in the present time and a nonjudgmental manner. The results support other claims on how MBSR can help treat chronic pain while healing from perceived depression. Dr. Marske says that the bottom line is that patients are looking for new ways to endure chronic pain and effective non-pharmaceutical remedies available. However, he firmly believes that yoga and meditation are the go-to plans for patients searching for relief from chronic pain.
Lady Gaga, Ray Dalio, and Oprah Swear That TM, a Meditation and Yoga Derivative. Works for Them
Mental health is a major aspect of our well-being. It affects everything else, from decision-making to stress management. Meditation and yoga are key techniques in maintaining excellent mental health. However, there’s a trending derivative that’s currently making the rounds among celebrities—Transcendental Meditation (TM).
Personalities at Twitter, including Square CEO Jack Dorsey and Beyonce swear that this new technique works as it helps them improve creativity, control stress, and boost energy levels.
During Oprah Winfrey’s “2020 Vision Your Life in Focus Tour” conducted at Fort Lauderdale, Florida on Saturday, Winfrey and Stefani Germanotta aka Lady Gaga discussed their love for TM and its corresponding benefits in their lives. These celebrities, including Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio, share that they learned TM from their teacher, Bob Roth, CEO of The David Lynch Foundation.
What is Transcendental Meditation?
Transcendental Meditation or TM is an exclusive practice. Its followers—or would-be followers—are taught by certified instructors through a 4-day course that’s made available for $380 to $960, depending on the student’s level of advancement.
According to Roth, TM is a simple meditation technique that requires you to sit for 20 minutes twice a day while uttering a repeated mantra. In his 2014 YouTube video, Roth adds that TM differs from other meditation techniques because it “allows the active thinking mind to just, all of it to just settle down, and experience quieter levels of thought” as compared to other techniques that prompt you to focus on your breathing or observe your thoughts.
More Important Than Work
Winfrey, in her 2018 Super Soul Conversations interview with Amy Schumer, asserts that TM is “one of the most life-enhancing things [she] ever did”. After the said TM experience, Winfrey shared in her 2011 interview with “The Dr. Oz Show” that she hired a TM coach to teach her Harpos Studios production crew how to meditate.
She says that her staff would, then, take a couple of breaks each day as the practice of meditation is “more important than the work you are doing. [TM] brings a kind of energy and an intensity of energy, an intention that we have never had before.”
Reason for Success
In his 2018 Facebook post, Dalio attests that TM is possibly “the single most important reason for whatever success [he’s] had.” Dalio, 70, shares that he first came across TM during his early 20s. In his book entitled “Principles”, he says that TM “has enhanced my open-mindedness, higher-level perspective, equanimity and creativity. It helps slow things down so that I can act calmly, even in the face of chaos, just like a ninja in a street fight.”
Dalio asserts recommends those who are curious about the positive effects of transcendental meditation to get a copy of Roth’s 2018 meditation book, “Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation.”
Meditation and yoga have long been used to correct certain mental health issues. Recent studies report that transcendental meditation, a newer derivative of these techniques, poses possible health benefits. In a 2009 research, experts discovered that young individuals who practiced TM for 3 months displayed lower levels of anxiety, anger, depression, hostility, and even blood pressure.
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