What Does the Rowing Machine Target? 5 Essentials You Need to Know

Notorious for burning up to 50% more calories than the treadmill, rowing machines offer more than just an upper body workout. Effectively targeting all the muscle groups in your back, shoulders, arms and legs, these training machines have become a popular option for building strength and shredding kilos.

The rowing machine is designed to offer a non-impact full body workout, so it’s become an ideal mechanism for fitness enthusiasts with joint and lower back problems. Boosting cadio fitness, muscular strength and endurance and working to tone your muscles, rowing machines can also work in reducing stress levels and building stamina. But like with any fitness machine it’s absolutely essential to use it properly and avoid the common mistakes. Here’s what you need to know about your rowing machine workout.

sport, fitness, lifestyle, technology and people concept - woman with trainer working out on exercise bike in gym

sport, fitness, lifestyle, technology and people concept – woman with trainer working out on exercise bike in gym

1. Building Core Strength and Stamina

When rowing machines are used properly, they are a fantastic training tool for building core strength and stamina. For people that struggle to get-up-and-go, using a rowing machine (also known as a cross trainer) 20 minutes a day can boost endurance. Whilst the workouts may feel exhausting at first, the long term benefits of giving you more energy, building stamina and you metabolism are huge.

Because the rowing machine works all your major muscle groups it helps to define your abs and build muscles around the area. Your core strength is one of these targeted groups of muscles and through the low-impact, high intensity workouts offered by the cross trainer it’s possible to get maximum results.

Tip: If you’re looking to build core strength and stamina through a rowing machine, opt for a higher intensity exercise so it isn’t just the cardio you’re working on.  The impact on your abs and core is based on the strength of your rowing so the harder the workout, the better it will work for this area.

2. Toning Arms and Legs

Rowing machines are ideal for both an upper body and lower body workout. Because the machine forces you to ‘row’ the arms are used extensively and muscles in this area will begin to tone (particularly the biceps and forearms).  As you pull, your back muscles help to complete the rowing technique with your shoulder blades retracting together.

The rowing stroke should behind with the legs – the most powerful part of the body, with your back kept straight throughout. As the machine starts to utilise every major muscle group, your arms, back and legs muscles will activate and tone over time.

Tip: If you want to increase the rate of which you build and tone muscle, adjust the rowing machine to create a tighter resistance. With the right workouts and technique, this can help to tone your arms and legs quicker.

3. Strengthening Back Muscles

The benefits of a stronger back and shoulders are great for improving posture and eliminating back pain. Because rowing machines work the back and shoulder muscles, it doesn’t take long for this area to strengthen and better support the rest of your body.

The trapezius in the lower and upper back as well as the rhomboids in your shoulder will receive a great workout. Whilst the cross trainer workout starts with driving through the legs and engaging your quads, your upper body and back muscles are involved at the end of the extension.

Tip: People often make the mistake of driving hard with the legs and keeping the shoulders in front of the hips so that that when the slide stops the rest of the body swings through. This can be hard on the lower back so aim for everything to end at the same time in a fluid motion for best results.

4. Know What Settings to Work

The damper setting (like the gears of a bicycle) should be set for 3-5 for the best workout. Many people make the mistake of setting it to 10, especially athletes, because the higher number gives the impression the workout will be more challenging. Really the challenge lies in the ability to accelerate the flywheel at a lower damper setting as the higher setting will mimic a slow heavy rowboat instead. This will only exhaust your muscles before you’ve had a shot at a proper cardio workout. Keeping it set for 3-5 will give the feeling similar to being on water, like a rowing machine is intended for.

The resistance setting will determine how much energy you use on each stroke. This dial is on the machine’s flywheel and should be high enough to maintain a fast, smooth rowing motion. Setting it too low will give a workout that doesn’t tone or strengthen, whilst setting it too high can result in muscle fatigue and injury.

5. Avoid the Biggest Cross Trainer Mistakes

  • Don’t row with only your arms: Use the power of your legs for each stroke and keep your feet strapped in. Pull through with your back, shoulders and arms for a full body workout.
  • Don’t hunch your back during strokes: Keep your back straight and sit tall with a straight posture to avoid damage. Keep your core engaged to help with the potions and put your spine in neutral.
  • Don’t ignore the stroke rate: Stroke rates build a better workout and determine how hard you’re pulling. To focus on the power of spinning the flywheel, think of a rowing ratio of 1 beat for every 2 beats you travel up the slide. For example: A good target stroke, measured in strokes per minute) will range between 24-30.
  • Don’t ignore the foot strap: It should be fastened so your feet feel very secure. This can make a massive difference when it comes to pushing your legs for power.

Author Bio

This article is written by Jayde Ferguson who recommends Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment and cross trainers in Perth. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

Optimal Workout Equipment Settings for Your Fitness Goals

Young fit woman rowing indoor on a rowing machine

With the range of equipment on the market these days it’s important you’re not just choosing the right workout piece, but engaging in the right settings to achieve your goals too. Whether you want to push for weight loss with summer around the corner or need to build muscle tone and strength, sometimes the ‘right’ equipment can be very wrong for you when you’re not using it properly.

Regardless of it you love training at the gym or you’ve purchased a few key workout pieces to set up in your home gym, finding the optimal settings can help kick those fitness goals more effectively. Get more out of what you’re using with these tips:

1. Exercise Bikes

Getting fit for summer on an exercise bike is a popular option because of the level of comfort it provides. Great for those that prefer to sit down whilst exercising, this piece will help to burn calories and boost cardio exercise. For those that want an extra level of support on the exercise bike, recumbent bikes are designed to have a reclined body seat and pedals in front of the bike instead of under the body like a regular bike. This offers the use more comfort and a better leg workout.

To get the most out of your workout, you’ll want the speed level to sit between 80-100 RPM. It’s crucial you don’t pedal at the same speed for the full workout though – especially if you’re wanting to burn calories. Instead, mix it up by riding at lower speed (50-70 RPM) and then crank to 120-140 RPM. The lower speeds will help to build leg muscle, whilst the switch to more intense speeds will assist in shredding weight and boost endurance.

You’ll also want to consider the resistance and heart rate monitor settings. By alternating between low and medium resistance settings, fat-burning will happen quicker. For the most effective workout, keep your heart rate between 50-85%.

2. Treadmills

If you’re looking to build muscles in your calves, quads and glutes your treadmill should be set to 9% incline. This is the ideal setting for marathon training, boosting endurance and slashing kilos too and will give you that burning sensation in your legs after a workout. If you’re just looking to boost those running skills though, a simple 1.5% incline will mimic outdoor running. For extreme marathon or steep hike training change the incline closer to 15%.

Both the speed and incline of the treadmill should never be too high where you find yourself walking, sprinting or running without moving your hands. Like with the exercise bike, you want to switch your speed and incline settings to mix the workout up. This will save your body getting too comfortable in a certain setting – as soon as you’re ‘comfortable’ your body is burning less calories! To build endurance, use high-intensity workouts and switch between a 4-5% to a 0% incline during various running intervals. Walkers and slow joggers will only need to a speed of 10-12km/h whilst serious joggers and runners should go for 16-20km/h.

3. Elliptical Machines

A steady 20 minute workout on an elliptical machine can shred that extra weight and get your heart rate up, boosting endurance and strength training.  But to get the full effect, the right settings are important. As far as cardio equipment goes elliptical machines, also known as cross trainers, are the powerhouse of cardio equipment; having the potential to burn 270-400 calories in less than 30 minutes.

Interval workouts are the best on these machines to boost metabolism and burn more calories. Because it gets your whole body moving, it’s ideal for strength training too. To boost strength and improve weight loss, the resistance of the machine needs to be increased – the more you turn that dial up, the more strength you’ll be building.

For a medium workout on the cross trainer, aim for a RPM of 90. Keep increasing the resistance and incline though to ensure your heart rate is high. For a full-intensity hard work out to get everything burning (including calories!) you can still go for a 90 RPM but aim for a maximum heart rate between 90-100%, as opposed to a medium work out of 85-90%. Resistance is key to achieving fitness goals on a cross trainer; once this level is bumped up, your arms and legs have to work harder to keep the machine moving. This offers a full body workout to build endurance and strength. For a more intense interval, adjust the incline to a higher level too.

4. Rowing Machine

These machines have a reputation for offering a low-impact workout that increases stamina, builds on muscle strength and drops those calories. The biggest problem with this machine is users tend to forget the damper setting – a crucial lever on the side of the rower’s wheel that can give you a solid cardio workout.

Before using this setting, make sure your rowing form is in top notch. Like gears on a bicycle, the damper setting will offer a heavier feel on the body the higher the gear. Start it on between 3-5 which will mimic the feeling of rowing in the water, and build it up to power your legs and upper body. You should feel it working your legs, butt, arms and back muscles.
Author Bio

Jayde Ferguson writes for Orbit Fitness – the largest supplier of fitness equipment in Perth. You can catch Jayde on Google+ to discuss this piece.

6 Week Boot Camp – train like a Champion!

 

This is your free step by step program to lose six kilos in six weeks! Your new you starts HERE!

To help you on the journey we have put together;

  1.  A full six week diet plan from Jo Beer at Revitalise.
  2. Download your food diary.
  3. Weekly video coaching instructions from our dietician & diabetes educator Jo Beer and boot camp coach Justine.
  4. Step by step 30 minute exercise routines, one per day and suggested active rest Yoga routines for the days when you need a break.
  5. See more at Revitalise and Babes on the run, the people who donated their time for free to make this happen.

Let’s start, week 1 exercise routine.

Week 1

Coaching video 1 is here! These are just some tips from real people that train mums and have advised allot of people what you need to do to stay in a health weight range for the long haul.

Here are the workout videos;

  1. Day 1, 6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Full Body Workout
  2. Day 2, Interval Training Workout
  3. Day 3, Total Body Workout Beginner

  4. Day 4, Pilates Essentials

  5. Day 5, Interval Training Workout Part 2
  6. Day 6, Tone up with Yoga routine
  7.  Day 7, 6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Full Body Workout

Week 2

Check-in coaching video 2 is here! Use this to stay motivated and on track! Yes it is hard, but it is supposed to be right? Now keep going!!!! Enjoy feeling better.

  1. Day 8, 6 Week Boot Camp Core Full Body Workout
  2. Day 9,6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Full Body Workout
  3. Day 10,Interval Training Workout

  4. Day 11, Pilates Essentials
  5. Day 12, Interval Training Workout Part 2
  6. Day 13, Hatha Yoga routine with Holly
  7. Day 14, 6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Full Body Workout

Week 3

Check-in coaching video 3 is here! Some more of what to expect and some tips and tricks to stay motivated and on track!

  1. Day 15, 6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Interval Full Body Workout
  2. Day 16,6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Full Body Workout
  3. Day 17,6 Week Boot Camp Core Full Body Workout
  4. Day 18, Pilates Flat Abbs
  5. Day 19, Interval Training Workout Part 2
  6. Day 20, Yoga routine with Valerie
  7. Day 21, 6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Full Body Workout

Week 4

Check-in coaching video 4 is here! OMG passed half way! I’m sooo excited! Watch the coaching video get advice about fatigue, sleeping right and new mum advice!

You can substitute in a shorter Yoga routine for active rest and we have posted several routines to do just that!

  1. Day 22, 6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Interval week 4 Full Body Workout
  2. Day 23,6 Week Boot Camp Core Full Body Workout
  3. Day 24,6 Week Boot Camp Core Full Body Workout
  4. Day 25, Pilates Essentials with Angela
  5. Day 26, 6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Full Body Workout
  6. Day 27, Full total body workout
  7. Day 28, 30 minute Yoga routine

Week 5

Check-in coaching video 5 is here!  Are you still with us? WOW what could possibly go wrong?

Don’t forget you can substitute any of our Valerie’s shorter Yoga routines for active rest and she has posted several routines for you to do!

  1. Day 29, Six Week boot camp workout, week 5 workout, with Justine
  2. Day 30, Interval Training Workout Part 2
  3. Day 31, Interval Training Workout

  4. Day 32, Pilates Essentials with Angela
  5. Day 33, 6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Full Body Workout
  6. Day 34, Full total body workout
  7. Day 35, 30 minutes of Yoga with Valerie

Week 6

Check-in guidance for  week 6 is here! 

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”; Walt Disney, ok so that’s not totally relevant but an incredible quote from an amazing entrepreneur that did some pretty amazing stuff; keep moving forward!

  1. Day 36, Six Week boot camp workout, week 6 workout, with Justine and Vanessa.
  2. Day 37, Interval Training Workout

  3. Day 38, 6 Week Boot Camp Core Full Body Workout
  4. Day 39, Pilates Essentials with Angela
  5. Day 40, Interval Training Workout Part 2
  6. Day 41, 6 Week Boot Camp Cardio Interval workout
  7. Day 42, 30 minutes of Yoga with Valerie

Substitute this  active rest Yoga routine if you don’t feel like doing a full 30 minute routine.

Don’t stop here! now you are in the swing of things keep working out using our routines!  This is a change for life not a fad, “lock in the new you”.

Additional Resources below….

There are more free recipes here from Jo.

We recommend MyFitnessPal Mobile Apps tools you need to successfully take weight off – and keep it off. And best of all, everything on the site is 100% FREE.

Check your BMI with this Body Mass Index Calculator. BMI is a ratio between weight and height. It is a mathematical formula that correlates with body fat, used to tell if you are at an unhealthy weight (given a certain height). BMI value is more useful for predicting health risks than the weight alone (for ages 18 and over).

Calories burned??

Use a calorie calculator like this one or google another one. You will need to know stuff like your height, weight, age type of exercise, the length of time you did it. We would have included a calorie burn estimate for every video but as you can see there are a number of variable that would make our estimates inaccurate.

Tip: you may want to try using this portion plate from the Revitalise website.

Best of all it’s free so you can’t afford not to do this starting right now!

How Calories Correlated With Weight Loss

If you’re looking to lose weight and starting up workouts at a pilates studio or in a local gym, you’ll want to start coming to terms with how many calories you’re eating on a day to day basis.

Calories do play a significant role in the weight loss process and if you aren’t consuming the right amount, you won’t be seeing the results that you’re after.

Let’s have a look at how calories factor into the equation so that you can make sure that your intake is set up properly for success.

Calories In Versus Calories Out

The first thing to note is that for weight loss to occur, you’re essentially looking for a calories in versus calories out set-up. Basically, to lose body fat, you need to burn more calories than you consume.  It’s really that simple.

If you provide more energy to your body than it needs, it clearly is not going to be needing to turn to body fat stores any time soon for energy – it has enough from the foods you’re eating.

If you consume fewer calories however, your body does have to seek alternative fuel and the fuel it’ll find is your body fat stores (provided you are eating healthy food choices, of course).

The Danger Of Too Few Calories

Now, don’t let this lead you to think that if low calorie is good, very low must be better. There are limits with this that you need to make note of.

If you start taking in too few calories, you will see your metabolism start to slow down as your body is going to protect itself from a famine situation setting in.

Basically, it’s going to try to keep you alive by burning up as little energy as possible throughout the day. The end result?

Your weight loss comes to a crawl.

Clearly this is not going to be an ideal situation, which is why using a very low calorie intake is never a wise move.

While you may be able to get away with it for a day or two, after that, you need to use a more moderate calorie level.

So there you have the key points to know about how your calorie intake relates to the weight loss results that you see. If you choose your calorie level properly, you can move forward and get the weight loss results you desire.

Burn Fat Fast With HIIT

Fitness by HIF Health Expert and Gabriel Method Fitness Coach Brian Killian

What I’m writing about today I’m hoping you will take on board and change the way you exercise forever.

If I was tell you with only 8 minutes of exercise every 3 days, you can help turn your body into a fat-burning super engine, would you be interested? If so, read on.

I worked out very early in life I was blessed with some speed in my legs. With older brothers this ability to run fast came in very handy, and I’ve used it to enjoy a fun athletics career. However it’s the type of training I did and its effect on my body shape, which I want to pay closer attention to.

Fortunately I am and have always been fairly lean, but have definitely not always eaten the right foods. With 3 kids, a wife, a business, I am no stranger to stress either, and come from a family who are all shapes and sizes. So what is it I’m doing which helps to keep my body fat levels down?

The answer is HIGH INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT), and you can do it too!

What is HIIT?

A typical HIIT session consists of a warm up period of exercise, followed by 6 to 10 repetitions of high intensity exercise [EFFORT], separated by low to medium intensity exercise [REST], and ending with a period of cool down exercise.

The EFFORT should be done at close to your maximum intensity, with the REST being no more than 50% intensity.  One proven protocol for HIIT sets a 2:1 ratio of EFFORT to REST periods.

For example, 30 seconds of hard sprinting or your fastest walking, alternated with 15 seconds of jogging or slower walking. You perform this cycle 6 to 10 times. This protocol can be used effectively for swimming, skipping, cycling or any other form of aerobic type exercise you enjoy.

My own training experience, and that of the body shape displayed by sprint athletes, suggests this short, intense training is effective in encouraging your brain to reduce body fat and lay down muscle tissue.

But why? The key is HIIT tricks your brain into initiating your Fight/Flight stress response and as a result a cascade of hormones are released. These hormones cause a liberation of fat, an increase in muscle tissue and an improvement in aerobic capacity, even while you’re resting. Let me explain this in more detail.

FACT: Exercise is stress on your body. Your brain must always  interpret any stress, respond to this stress and subsequently adapt to it. Regardless of the origin of the stress, your brain interprets ALL as a physical threat and responds. For example when nervous I have the sensation of ‘butterflies in my stomach’, now I’m pretty sure there aren’t any in there but it sure feels like it! This is just one example of the direct correlation between a mental stress and a physical response, and it happens all the time.

HIIT is a stress on your body, it’s high intensity, short and powerful and very similar to the stress say, if you were getting chased by a predator or fighting for your life. Your brain adapts to this stress, that is, it prepares your body to reduce the risk of this type of threat ending your life. Your brain wants to keep you alive, that’s its job. So it’s appropriate then for you to be faster, stronger, leaner so you don’t get caught by the predator or you can fight off the predator, otherwise you’re dead. Your brain is in control, it controls what hormones are released, and it responds to HIIT by releasing the hormones which make you slimmer, faster and stronger.

 A word of warning though, HIIT may result in injury. The protocol I suggested isn’t set in stone, if you need more REST have it. The key is in the EFFORT and doing it once, twice or eight times doesn’t really matter, do what you can at your present level of fitness and health. Always warm-up appropriately and check you’re performing the exercises correctly and safely.

Warm regards

 

Brian Killian

Try this 15 minute routine at home now. You will need a fit ball.

Can You Lose Weight Doing Pilates?

If you’ve set the goal to focus on fat loss for the time being, you may be wondering whether you can in fact lose weight by doing pilates training.  Will pilates provide enough of a total calorie burn in order to get weight loss taking place or do you need to succumb to doing cardio or resistance training instead?

In order to answer this question, there are a few things that you need to know and consider.

The Calorie Burn Factor

The very first thing that you must know and remember is the calorie burn factor. Basically, how many calories does a pilates session burn?

If you do pilates quite intensely, you can burn anywhere for 200-400 calories per hour, depending on the particular exercises that you’re doing and how much rest you’re using between each exercise.

The faster paced the workout is, generally speaking, the higher your calorie burn is going to be.

The Muscle Enhancement Factor

Second, one thing that you must remember about pilates is the fact that it will also help to enhance your degree of muscle mass.   Because it is strength training oriented, if you go on to increase your total lean body weight because of that pilates session, this can mean that you will see an enhanced resting metabolic rate, meaning you’ll burn more calories 24/7.

This helps significantly with fat loss results, so not something to be overlooked.  The faster your metabolism is on a day to day basis, the faster you will see success.

The Diet Factor

Finally, the last thing to consider when questioning whether or not pilates can be used for fat loss results is the diet that you’re using.

Always remember that when it comes to seeing optimal fat burning, diet is king. If you can focus on making sure you’re taking in the right amount of calories with your diet plan, then you don’t need to worry as much about how many calories a particular exercise you’re doing is burning since the diet alone will take care of things.  If you need help setting up a diet, be sure to check out LiveLighter for assistance.

Then you can simply focus on the strengthening benefits that pilates provides.

So there you have the primary points to remember. If you perform your pilates sessions with a good intensity level and make sure that you are also following an optimal diet plan, then you can definitely get the results that you’re hoping for from your pilates workout.

Start here and try these pilates workouts from Elizabeth Wilson at Perth Pilates Studio!

Raisin Toast with Ricotta and Berries

2 slices raisin toast

40g fresh ricotta

1/2 tsp caster sugar

a pinch of ground cinnamon

4 strawberries, washed, hulled and sliced

Drizzle of honey, to serve

 

Method

Toast raisin toast to your preference. Combine ricotta, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the toast. Arrange strawberries on top of the ricotta mixture. Drizzle over honey and serve immediately.

 

Healthy Snack of the Week – Avocado Dip

Avocado Dip

2 large avocados, chopped

1 small tomato, deseeded, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tablespoons lime juice

Place avocado in a bowl. Using a fork, mash until almost smooth. Add tomato, garlic and lime juice. Stir to combine. Serve with Multigrain chips.

 

Multigrain Chips

2 Multigrain Wraps

Olive Oil cooking spray

1 ½ teaspoons dried Italian herbs

Preheat oven to 200°C/180°C fan-forced. Spray 1 side of each wrap with oil. Sprinkle each with herbs. Season with salt and pepper. Cut each wrap into 16 triangles. Place, in a single layer, on a baking tray

Bake for 4 to 5 minutes or until crisp.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with dip.

(Super Food Ideas – February 2011 , Page 65 
Recipe by Nadia French)

So you think snacking is bad??

Snacking between meals has been given a bad reputation. Many people believe that if you are going to lose weight or diet that there is no place for snacking and that sticking to 3 meals a day will lead to weight loss.

Losing weight does not mean that you have to feel starving hungry all day. It is not the snacks that are the problem it is what we are choosing to snack on that is often laden with extra calories.

Most of us will choose crunchy, salty foods such as nuts, pretzels chips cakes and cookies. When the energy levels run low through the day that dose of sugar may make you feel better for a short time but will quickly lead to weight gain and other more serious health issues.

Snacks need not be a guilty pleasure they can be incorporated into your weight loss plan.

  • Plan your snacks so you are not left reaching for the biscuits.
  • Think of the calories. 1 banana is more calories than but 40 blueberries.
  • Don’t drink your calories stick to water and avoid soft drinks.
  • Swap sugar laden snacks for fruit.
  • Swap a chocolate bar for a small low fat chocolate drink.
  • Eat berries full of antioxidants instead of lollies full of sugar.
  • Have frozen yogurt instead of ice cream.

Foods with a higher fibre and water content will have fewer KJ. Choose from fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts (unsalted) and seeds and low fat dairy products.

Keep a food diary and write down everything. This way you can see if your snacking is healthy and encourages us to consume less calories and make better choices.

Remember to keep a balance and moderation in mind when choosing your snacks and you will find you will not only feel better but your waistline will thank you.

Glands, Hormones and Yoga

The thought of yoga typically implies the strengthening of muscles, becoming more flexible and making the exterior of the body fit. It can do that; however, do you think that is all that really needs some attention? Take your concept of fitness a little deeper. You will learn the fitness of even the smallest of “parts” make an impact on the bigger “parts” of the body. These little “parts” are your glands and they play a BIG role in how you feel and function.

First of all, what is a gland? The definition is: “An organ or group of specialized cells in the body that produces and secretes a specific substance, such as a hormone.” Translated, the glands in the body release the chemicals that get other internal parts to work at the optimal level. Unhealthy glands, such as the thyroid, have a major effect on your overall well-being. The practice of yoga actually gives it some attention that it needs to function better.

Consider your glands your body’s overall energy system. There are seven glands that have significant power in how well your body functions. Consider them the coaches of the various special teams (0rgans) that play 24/7 so you can just be. The physical twists, inversions, and focused breathing that you do during a yoga practice have a very positive impact on them. Show these “coaches” some love and they can make the whole “team” play to win!

Considered the “head coach” by most is the hypothalamus. This little piece in your brain does A LOT. It controls your autonomic nervous system. This system is what controls functions below the conscious level such as heart rate, blood pressure, hunger, thirst, body temperature, alertness, digestion and sleep. It gives signals to next important coach…the pituitary gland.

The pituitary gland is another small piece (like the size of a pea) that is instrumental in releasing 9 hormones essential for well-being. In addition to other functions, it helps with water regulation in the body, growth, and the process of childbirth. If you are stressed, this gland tells the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline. The purpose of this is called the “fight or flight” mode which helps you respond to an emergency quickly. Unfortunately, staying in a stressed mode releases too much of these hormones. We are designed to live in a state of homestasis or balance. Being overloaded with anything will have a negative impact. Yoga practice helps you find balance.

Moving down to the throat is your thyroid and parathyroid glands. These glands stimulate the metabolism and energy levels in the body. They help keep the cholesterol in balance, increase calcium in the bone to prevent osteoporosis. A large portion of the hormones produced help the spleen, liver, and kidneys. Working that gland can help you keep a good flow of energy vs. feeling lethargic during the day.

The adrenal glands are located right above your kidneys. They regulate salt levels, carbohydrate metabolism and sexual functions. It releases the hormone cortisol. Like stated earlier, too much of something is not good. Too much cortisol in the body also causes weight problems, high blood pressure, insulin problems, dehydration of cells and sleep disorders…just to name a few issues.

The practice of certain yoga moves ignite the release of the “relaxing” hormones to overcome the onslaught of “stress” hormones. Calmness enables your body to work better. Just like you interact with others better when you’re not stressed out, the body’s glands and organs function better when they are not overloaded with cortisol and adrenaline. Too much cortisol over time has very adverse effects on the entire body and mind.

Lastly, the neuroendocrine glands of the pancreas play a key part. They help control blood sugar and the function of the cells of the digestive tract. The pancreas is right near your liver and gall bladder. They all work very hard to clean out what is not good for the body. Give those glands and organs a few twists and good oxygen so they can get “cleaned”. Now, don’t assume you can still eat a lot of unhealthy food and clean it out with a few yoga practices! A healthy lifestyle while off the mat is imperative.

When you think of your single body as a group of collective team members, you start to understand the interconnectedness of the body’s parts. If one “team member” is not feeling well, it impacts the whole “team”. Everything you do, consume, and even think ultimately has an effect on the internal. Integrate the practice of yoga in your life and you will quickly notice some positive changes.

Do it long enough and you will wonder how you lived without doing it.

Valerie’s site is Yoga Revelation visit it here.