Health & Fitness By Dr.James Parsons

2011-10-13
                                              Mood-Boosting Workouts!

 
                                                                              

                              
 
                                                             5 Mood - Boosting Workouts 


1. To feel more content, try YOGA

 The Science: A little down? Assume upward dog. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine examined the anxiety levels and moods
of people who practiced yoga for an hour three times a week.Yoga practiced is associated with increased levels of GABA, an amino acid and neurotransmitter that may help reduce anxiety.Also, slow, deep yogic breathing increases oxygen flow, which leads to optimal functioning of all your organs - including your brain.

2. To sleep better, try PILATES

The Science: Recently published research from Appalachian State University, in Boone, North Carolina, found that practicing Pilates associated with better snoozing.
Study participants who did Pilates on a mat twice weekly for 75 minutes or three times a week for 50 minutes, for 15 weeks, were less likely to experience troubled sleep.
These sleep improvements may be linked to an increased bodily awareness. One theory holds that when you're more in tune with yourself, you're better able to let go
of stress and feel relaxed. 
 
3. To increase your energy, try CYCLING
 
The Science: Researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens (UGA) found that after a single 30 minute session of stationary cycling, subjects reported a boost in their energy levels. The cycling seemed to activate brain neural circuits that make a person feel energized. Try cycling "at a light to moderate pace" on a stationary bike for 15 minutes three times a week if hitting the road doesn't work for you!
 
4. To reduce stress, try TAI CHI
 
The Science: Tai Chi was linked to reduced stress in two separate studies last year - the British Journal of Sports Medicine and the the Journal of American College Health. In Tai-Chi which is traditionally done in a standing position, you repeatedly shift your weight back and forth, engaging the muscles in both your upper and lower body, as well as employing rhythmic breathing. Because the shifts are slow and fluid, they relax your muscles and calm your mind while improving your balance, strength and flexibility.
 
New to Tai-Chi? Consider learning the basic series of movements at home with a DVD, such as Tai Chi Beginning Practice DVD, with David -Dorian Ross ($15, gaiam.com) and seek out more advanced study with a teacher (listings are available for some US states at taichifoundation.org) For maximum benefits, strive to practice for up to 20 minutes every morning.
 
 
5. To achieve clarity, try WEIGHTS

The Science: In a November 2010 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, older adults who did simple, low-intensity weight-training exercises three to five times a week for one month performed significantly better on cognitive tests than did the control group, which did no weight-training. Specifically, the weight training group improved in executive function, which includes the ability to plan, regulate behavior and multitask.
 
How to put it into practice: Try a body sculpting class at a local gym or a DVD (like Step-by-Step Strength Training, with Petra Kolber, $15, amazon.com). Skip a day between workouts so your muscles have some time to rest.
 
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