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Health and Wellbeing - February 2017

01 Feb 2017

Row, row, row your body

By Andrew Ward

Indoor rowing is one of a few excellent low impact (almost no impact) activities you will find in a gym today. Taken as a warm up, short cardio blast or a longer endurance activity, rowing has many great benefits for the participant.

Commercial-grade indoor rowers come in two distinct variations in the modern fitness facility – a fan based rower that uses air as the resistance (eg the Concept C2) or a water rower that has a turbine that uses water as the resistance. Both are excellent machines, selection purely comes down to personal preference.

Group rowing is tipped to be one of the hottest workouts in 2017 – here you get the benefits of rowing with the motivation and music found in a group class, all under the leadership of an instructor or coach. This is one class worth putting on your 2017 fitness to-do list!

Here are some great benefits of rowing for your fitness knowledge bank:

  • Rowing is a very low impact exercise that creates minimal stresses to the joints and spine;
  • Rowing helps promote weight loss – you can burn 300-400 Calories in a 30-minute session;
  • Rowing dramatically improves cardio vascular fitness;
  • Like other forms of exercise, rowing helps reduce stress with the release of endorphins; and
  • Rowing helps Improve strength and muscle tone – a full body activity with variable resistance that involves the legs, core and upper body.

Proper rowing technique and execution promotes improved posture and spinal condition and function. Make sure you spend some more time on a rower in 2017!

Healthy hearts

Even though I am ageing, one of my own personal goals for the 2017 calendar year is to finish the year in an improved physical, emotional and mental state.

How will I know that I have achieved this lofty goal when December 31 ticks over? As they say in business, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” and I think that applies to health and wellbeing, so some objective assessments will be necessary.

One of those measurements or tests will be my blood pressure as this simple and painless test can give a good indication of the circulatory system’s health and condition – and we all know how important heart health is.

When was the last time you had your blood pressure taken? Do you know what blood pressure measures and what is the healthy range?

A healthy target for blood pressure is 120/80. Blood pressure can be tested by health professionals of all types, including your personal trainer or staff at your local fitness centre. Many pharmacists across the country also offer free blood pressure checks (visit http://www.strokefoundation.com.au for locations).

While exercise is well-known as an activity that helps reduce blood pressure and improve circulatory system health, a reading outside of a normal range normally results with a recommendation to visit your GP for further investigation as to cause and solution. Other solutions often involve modifications to eating patterns and nutritional intake.

The Stroke Foundation of Australia has a number of public events throughout the year to increase awareness of Stroke, high blood pressure and the associated risk factors. The Nation’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check and later in the year, Know Your Numbers is another campaign driven by the Stroke Foundation.

Pilates works!

Whether you take Pilates for improvements in fitness, wellbeing or for rehabilitation purposes, Pilates works and, with consistency, you will be rewarded with the results you strive for. Here are some of the great benefits of the exercising using the Pilates method:

1) Improved posture and alignment

Pilates helps correct imbalances in posture and alignment by training muscle groups equally and evenly. When the body is out of alignment, excessive stress is placed on the joints, ligaments and spine. Once improvements are made, the body functions more efficiently and injuries are avoided.

2) Improved flexibility

Many workouts, especially those with heavy resistance and weights focus on muscular contractions and muscle shortening. Stretches performed (if any) are typically static. With Pilates, movements and stretches are mostly dynamic and there is a focus on both shortening and lengthening the muscles.

3) Relaxation and stress relief

Pilates methods incorporate a strict focus on deep and regular breathing which brings on a sense of calm and wellbeing.

4) Muscle tone and strength

Pilates is not easy. Hard work and excellent execution of moves and sequences will bring with it improvements in strength without creating bulky muscles. Better muscle tone, especially around the thighs, hips and waist is readily achieved with time.

5) Improved physical and mental endurance

Pilates is a true mind and body workout. Body weight exercises and sequences challenge the physical capacity and ability. Completion of repetitions, combinations and sets with targets for achievement will engage and will challenge the mind.

Pilates is a wonderful way to exercise for men and women of all ages.

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