fit yoga practice

Shape Up, Don’t Bulk Up

People come in all different shapes and sizes, so when you decide you want to try something new to get your body moving, you first need to consider what your goals may be. For some, they want to increase their body appearance by building up their muscles and creating greater definition. For others, they may want to lose weight. Others may want to reduce cellulite but increase flexibility and strength, without adding visible muscle mass. For this latter group, there are certain classes that would greatly benefit their goals, such as Pilates (mat or reformer) and barre fitness classes.

While traditional fitness classes focus heavily on weights and repetitive movements to add girth to muscles, there is an alternative that allows the use of cardio (to reduce fat and help flush toxins from the body), to be paired with controlled strength training to fortify the core and also increase flexibility by lengthening muscles and creating a leaner frame. Favoured by dancers, Barre fitness classes draw on a lot of classical ballet and dancing techniques. Pilates was originally started to help train and treat injured ballet dancers in New York back in the 1940s, and these unique physical movement classes are really taking off in the modern-day society, with participants who have been on the search for a different kind of fitness.

We also mention here that some just want to attend classes for some time out (YOU TIME), improved fitness, and overall well being.

Pairing Fitness with Injury Recovery:

The focus of hatha yoga, barre, and Pilates (reformer and mat Pilates classes) is to increase strength in the core. This area is often overlooked in other fitness disciplines as traditionally people would only work out their core while they were trying to achieve a ‘6 pack’. The fact is, there doesn’t need to be any visible muscle definition to have an incredibly strong core, as the core muscles are located deep within the abdomen and are not visible to the naked eye. However, this very important muscle group supports the entire frame of your body and offers strength to your spine. When you don’t have strength in your core, the pressure and fatigue on the rest of your body can lead to injury and pain as other areas of your body carry the bulk of your weight that should otherwise be distributed evenly, leading to strain and injury.

A different body shape

Although there is only so much about your body that can be changed through diet and exercise, some subtle changes can make a huge difference.  For example, if you focus on strengthening your core, and taking a class such as yoga, barre fitness, or Pilates (mat or reformer), you will notice that not only will your appearance become more toned and lean, your posture will improve too. When your spine has the strength and support it needs to hold the frame of your body, it will allow you to sit/stand up straight, your shoulders will be back and your head will be held high.

This improvement to your posture can change your appearance sometimes even more noticeably than weight loss alone.  Barre, vinyasa yoga, and Mat Pilates classes aim to elongate muscles and focus on strength and flexibility, which will give your frame a strong yet leaner appearance. Vinyasa Yoga classes also promote flexibility as well as a trove of supplementary health benefits.

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