Fun & Fit Under the Sun

It’s high time to enjoy the glorious outdoors and get back into shape.  Here are three great exercises that are sure to make your body toned, your spirit alive and your mind free:

Originally used as an ancient mode of transportation, kayaking is now famous as a sport for leisure and exploration.  It allows you to glide on the water with a long paddle in surrender to the beautiful scenery, in appreciation of your independence, and in building upper body strength.  The intense motion of paddling stems from your core.  You tone your shoulders and strengthen your arms while navigating your glide, thus exerting power from your abdomen and lower back. So if you paddle for an hour, you do an average of 1,500 repetitions of low-impact upper body movements, which burns up 400 calories. This is perfect for turning those love handles into a 6-pack stomach.  Take a single if you want to have full control of your momentum or a double if you want to share this rewarding experience with your loved one.

Now for toning your core all the way to your lower body, just lace up your good ol’ running shoes and walk or run along the road.  Walking or Running is a moderate intensity workout that can be done as a form of meditation or as a social event.  It clears your mind and lets you connect with your thoughts, while the endorphin that your heart releases lifts you up into doing more of this personal exploration. However, be aware of your posture; keep your head up, your shoulders relaxed, your chest lifted, your abs tight, and tightly swing your arms so you breathe easily throughout your strides. With just 30 minutes three times a week, you can yield its benefits, such as a lower blood pressure, lower risk of osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease, an improved cholesterol profile, and fat loss.Being the most accessible sport ever, walking or running can be done on the road, along the beach, on the desert and even on shallow water.  Try walking instead of taking a cab to the market when shopping for your needs.  This will keep you in shape without trying.  Just put on a hat and a sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, and remember to carry a small bottle of low-sodium drinking water to hydrate yourself from time to time.

Last, but certainly not the least is Yoga.  Derived from the Sanskrit root word ‘yuj’, meaning ‘to yoke or to join’, yoga is an ancient system of physical and mental disciplines, practiced to attain optimum health and well-being.  It is a combination of eight asanas or poses that help in stretching and toning your body, as well as correct breathing, relaxation, diet and positive thinking through meditation.  Mahatma Ghandhi defined yoga as “the yoking of all the powers of the body, mind and soul; the disciplining of the intellect, the motions, and the will power”, which enables one to look at life in all its aspects evenly, whether it is pleasure or pain.

By practicing yoga daily, you become in tune with yourself and your energy.  Your diet,  posture, breathing, health and concentration are improved, your body is toned, you become beautiful inside out, your body and mind are relaxed, you receive inner peace and greater awareness of your body, your body becomes flexible and strong, and you become happy.  Apart from these, yoga cures asthma, improves circulation, aligns muscles and bones, purifies and strengthens the nervous system, strengthens joins, improves eyesight, gets rid of backaches and releases tension.

Practice yoga anywhere you feel the energy is right.  Wear loose comfortable clothes and carry a yoga mat to the beach or drive to a peaceful spot in the forest away from the noise or join a class.  It is best done in the early morning or at sunset when almost everything around you is still and quiet.

Generally, exercising boosts fantastic health benefits to your body, mind and spirit.  But with any form of exercise you do, always take time to stretch before and after to increase flexibility and reduce injury.  Better yet, practice a few yoga poses like Sun Salutation before and after your workout so you maximize the full rewards of your exercise.

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