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    What is Lifestyle Fitness?

    Is fitness a lifestyle? Why or why not? The answer is yes: fitness can become a lifestyle because the person exercising gains positive, regular, and seamless benefits from it in relation to the rest of the life pursuits. People who have a fitness lifestyle exercise regularly for enjoyment and personal satisfaction. Working out becomes integral to their overall sense of well-being. Movement becomes a hobby and often connects them to like-minded communities. Those who practice lifestyle fitness are often more mindful of other parts of their lives, like nutrition, sleep, and self-care.How To Make Fitness Part Of Your Life1. Ditch the ScaleMaking health and fitness a part of your life has to be about more than your look or weight. Work out because you love your body, not because you hate it!2. Create a Flexible Workout RoutineWhen fitness becomes a lifestyle, it’s naturally easier to fit into a busy schedule. The key is to create a fluid program that allows you to move when and where it’s convenient. Try using different venues and styles. For instance, try doing HIIT at home when you’re short on time. Or, join your friends for mountain bike rides on the weekends. Off-set outdoor workouts with weight lifting at the gym. Mix up your pace by going on long jogs with adidas Runners.3. Focus on The FeelingMost people start a workout routine because they have a physique or health-related goal. So why keep exercising after reaching the goal? Because the process has its own benefits. That’s why fitness is a lifestyle.For many, the feeling of being fit is better than the physical results. And, feeling fitter can encourage other lifestyle changes. Once they’re more confident with their fitness, many people start working out with friends. They start eating to promote their training instead of exercising to offset consumption when fitness stops being about “self-control” and starts being about lifestyle.4. Be ConfidentLiving a fitness lifestyle means taking the lessons learned in your workouts “off the mat” (or out of the gym). Physical activity and a healthy diet often influence other areas of life. It’s not just about how you look in the mirror; it’s more about the confidence you gain in the workplace and your relationships. It’s about igniting the courage to share ideas, speak your mind, and go for the prize. Building confidence is one of the best reasons to stay fit!5. Practice Body AcceptanceWhen it comes to body image and fitness, try to appreciate your body for the incredible things it can do. Giving birth is more impressive for many women than any exercise accomplishment. After giving birth, many mothers set exercise goals around their quality of life rather than getting a six-pack. Sometimes it takes an extreme physical challenge to realize what’s truly important: being strong, healthy, and happy with who you are.6. Define Your “Why”Why do you exercise? Can that reason be more emotional than physical? For example, your “why” could be: so that I can watch my children grow up. Give a new “why” a try! You might find that your workouts naturally become more frequent and enjoyable.7. Be Body NeutralPhysical activity boosts endorphins and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Every workout is a little challenge and a little success. For many, regular training creates confidence in one’s capabilities.Since our bodies are incredibly complex, regular exercise may not result in physique changes. For instance, some people will never have a defined six-pack, no matter how healthy they are. One thing that working out as a lifestyle promotes is “body neutrality.” For many, body neutrality is emotionally more achievable than body positivity. Body neutral exercisers see fitness purely for what happens inside the body, not out. They appreciate the body’s ability to work rather than how it looks. People who view their bodies neutrally also tend to value physical anatomy. In today’s world, when exercise is promoted as a mechanism for changing one’s shape, body neutrality can transform unrealistic workouts into enjoyable movement. When Fitness is NOT a Lifestyle“Lifestyle Exercise” Is Something Else“Lifestyle exercise” is a term used in mental health. It describes turning everyday activities into exercise opportunities.(1) It’s true that raking your leaves is a great way to get movement in (and save money on gardening). But, lifestyle fitness involves actual workouts (whether they be in the gym, outdoors, or at home). For some, turning everyday activities into calorie-burning pursuits leads to exercise addiction.Exercise Addiction Is RealUnfortunately, exercise can be abused like anything else. “The dose makes the poison,” as the saying goes. Fitness is a lifestyle when it complements the other aspects of a balanced being. It is NOT a lifestyle when workouts become obsessive, consuming, and anxiety-provoking. A Hungarian study by a university and health professionals explains, “Regular physical activity plays a crucial role in health maintenance and disease prevention. However, excessive exercise has the potential to have adverse effects on both physical and mental health.”In a world that glorifies “being fit,” exercise addiction is a sneaky predator. It usually starts innocently, as a quest for a better look/life. But when exercise starts to take precedence over all other activities, it is no longer healthy. Excessive guilt over skipping a workout, avoiding food because it may affect a workout, repeatedly canceling plans to get a workout in, strict maintenance of a workout schedule, and obsessively planning all aspects of exercise are signs of addiction. Physical symptoms include lack of sleep, loss of period in women, constant fatigue, “brain fog,” and consistently sore muscles. Fitness as a lifestyle means that exercise is an enjoyable part of a balanced weekly schedule. It’s essential, like self-care, rest, time with loved ones, eating, work, and other things that make your life lovely.Lifestyle Fitness Is About EnjoymentPeople who make fitness a lifestyle find creative ways to fit it in. They bring exercise bands to their kids’ football practice so they can exercise on the playground. They invest in home fitness tools to get a workout during their lunch break. They don’t worry much about the time or the intensity. They move for enjoyment and power. And they’re curious about the journey. Ultimately, they respect and appreciate their body every step of the way.Let us join your fit lifestyle! Take a selfie during your next feel-good workout. Tell the world your “why” and tag @adidasRuntastic. We can’t wait to be your workout buddy!*** More

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    Yoga Fitness: 3 Ways to Make Yoga Part of Your Workout

    The body is built to move, so most exercise is healthy and beneficial. Yoga is one of the least intense and most unique forms of fitness. Many potential or current yogis ask: “Can you get fit and toned from yoga?” Here, we explore how yoga helps you stay fit.1. Yoga for Fitness: A Yoga WorkoutWhile yoga alone can help someone get in shape, this is highly dependent on your current fitness level, the style of yoga, and the intensity or frequency of yoga sessions. Launching A Fitness LifestyleYoga is a great way to launch a fitness journey, especially if you’re new to exercise or out-of-shape. Yoga activates and exercises every muscle in the body, burning calories and strengthening muscles. Someone new to yoga or exercise may see noticeable changes within weeks, no matter the type or intensity of yoga.Yoga For Strength or Aerobic TrainingThose who regularly work out may also notice changes in their fitness when practicing yoga, especially if they set clear goals for their practice. People who regularly strength-train should do cardio yoga versus runners who can do yoga to increase strength. Here are more details on what kind of yoga to do and why:Bikram yoga is a challenging style of yoga done in a sweltering room. It has been proven to help people increase the weight that they could deadlift.(1) And, it might help with cardiovascular wellness because of heart rate elevation due to heat. Yoga that involves holding challenging poses for a long time will increase strength. Staying in a pose until you feel muscle fatigue is the key to building more muscle. Styles like Ashtanga and Power yoga naturally integrate these kinds of isometric contractions.Fast-flowing styles of yoga, like Vinyasa yoga, can boost cardiovascular endurance and strength. First, learn a series of poses and then link them together (typically, one breath, one movement). Beware: certain yoga poses are dangerous when linked improperly in a flow. It’s best to learn a yoga flow from trained practitioners. Older adults are especially likely to gain cardiovascular benefits from yoga(2). So invite Grandma to join you! And even if you do not see a marked increase in your running splits, yoga is proven to improve overall cardiovascular health.(3) Your lungs will feel healthier!Yoga For FlexibilityWhile being flexible will not help you lose weight or build muscle, it is a measure of fitness and physical health. One study showed that a regular yoga practice increased the flexibility of computer users specifically. Even a simple and short chair yoga session can make you more flexible, especially when you do it frequently.If your sole goal is to increase flexibility and range of motion, you’ll need to do yoga at least two times per week. If you want certain parts of your body to become more flexible (for instance, your hamstrings or lower back), you’ll need to hold a static, relaxed stretch with that specific part of the body for at least five total minutes a week. You could hold the stretch for 2.5 minutes in two different sessions or 5 minutes in one session.(4) Yin yoga is one type of yoga that involves long-hold, relaxed static stretches. 2. Yoga As A Complement To Other Styles of FitnessFor people who already exercise frequently, yoga may not significantly impact strength or cardiovascular health. But it can make your other training sessions better. Here’s how.Yoga For Injury AvoidanceAs discussed in our blog post about yoga for back pain, yoga is a scientifically-proven way to relieve back pain related to injury or chronic pain.(5) A regular yoga practice may make your back healthier overall, reducing the risk of back injury in other sports.A lack of balance often causes blunt force injuries in sports. Yoga helps you to become more balanced, potentially helping avoid trips, falls, or collisions.(6) Tripping over dumbbells is one of the most common gym-based injuries. Yoga can help! (As can properly re-racking your weights, but gym etiquette deserves its blog post…)Yoga For Body AwarenessYoga increases general body awareness. Knowing where our body is in space is called kinesthetic awareness. Knowing where it is in relation to itself is called proprioception. These skills are critical components of effective movement. When we have a natural awareness of where our body is, we ensure better form and function. Body awareness helps us feel if our deadlift form is proper, how high to lift a knee when climbing stairs, and if our shoulders are over our elbows in plank. When you practice yoga, you’ll learn enough about your body to make the rest of your workouts more targeted and effective. Flexibility, coordination, and mobility are all skills learned in yoga to make the rest of your activities more effective.Interestingly, scientists have found that yoga reduces inflammation in the body, but they don’t understand why. Some posit that it’s due to body awareness; something about feeling very connected to one’s body serves as a natural anti-inflammatory.(7)Yoga For MobilityFlexibility occurs when a muscle expands in a passive, usually static position. Mobility is a group of muscles’ ability to expand integrally while in motion. Mobility is dynamic and active eccentric muscle contraction, whereas flexibility is passive and eccentric.(8) Mobility is the ability to move in and out of stretches with grace and sometimes with force. Less intense styles of yoga, like Yin yoga, help with flexibility. More movement-focused styles of yoga, like Vinyasa and Ashtanga, help with mobility.Interestingly, both passive yoga and more mobility-focused yoga help release muscle tension. Mobility training stimulates the nerves that contract muscles while lengthening them and the tissues surrounding them (i.e., fascia). Blood flow increases to the mobilized space, joint range of motion increases, and tension subsides.(9) Because the movements are controlled and span multiple body parts, yoga builds coordination and an intrinsic understanding of stabilization.Yoga for Athlete’s RecoveryFlexibility training that involves holding passive stretches (like yoga) can reduce sensations caused by the nervous system in that area. In other ways, yoga can help make physical feelings of soreness, pain, and burn to subside. That’s one reason why many athletes save yoga for after a training session, especially if muscles are inflamed or sore.(10)3. Yoga For Mental Health: A Mind-Body ExerciseYoga is proven to have more beneficial mental health impacts than other kinds of exercise.(11) You won’t burn as many calories as a run or build as much muscle as a barbell strength workout. But you will exercise your mind-body connection in a yoga class, and this may be the greatest exercise of them all.Yoga For Positive PsychologyStretching is proven to decrease cortisol levels in the body and has positive psychosocial outcomes, whether you do it independently or in a group class.(12) Women, in particular, are less likely to objectify themselves and less likely to suffer from an eating disorder when they practice yoga.(13)Yoga: A Mindfulness PhenomenonWhile mindfulness is a term thrown around often in popular culture, it carries actual psychological benefits. Mindfulness is a quality of non-judgmental, observational focus on one’s current experience. Being mindful means feeling curious, experiential, open, and accepting of one’s current state. Mindful people are proprioceptive and interceptive; they use their senses to interpret their bodies and their world. Very mindful people become more in-tune with their interpretations, beliefs, memories, conditioning, attitudes, and affect on the planet.Yoga is considered a mind-body therapy that teaches the practitioner mindfulness. Yogis often feel more confident in their public and private interactions. Scientists who study yoga even call it a “mindfulness phenomenon.”(14)How Does Yoga Help You To Stay Fit?If you’re getting started with or back into exercise, yoga will help you build muscle and cardiovascular health. If you already work out, yoga can complement your current training, making it more effective and less likely to cause injury. Finally, yoga helps everyone stay mentally fit.*** More

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    The Truth About Body Composition: Healthy Body Fat Percentage

    Most of us have been taught to believe that health is determined by visible body fat and weight. Actually, “looking fat” and the number on the scale are poor determinants of health. This blog post tells you the truth about body fat, body mass index (BMI), body composition, and how to find your body fat percentage. Remember:Only you can determine what health means to you! Educate yourself so that you can be your best self, naturally.Table of contentsWhat does Body Composition mean?In short, body composition measures body fat to lean tissue in the body.More thoroughly, body composition refers to the proportion of fat you have relative to the lean tissue in your body (muscles, bones, water stored in the body, organs, etcetera).(1)Not The Same As Body Mass IndexFor decades, Body Mass Index, or BMI, was THE go-to health analysis. But today’s scientists recognize BMI as a flawed system for determining well-being. According to the Center for Disease Control, BMI mislabels people as “overweight” because they have a high BMI when they’re relatively healthy. That’s because BMI analyzes only one’s weight and height. Someone short or very muscular is likely to be considered “fat” (muscle weighs more than fat). Being short or strong does NOT mean you’re unhealthy! Quite the contrary. Body mass composition was created to rectify BMI by measuring fat-free mass and body fat mass separately from BMI.(2)The Truth About Body FatBody fat and the macronutrient of fat are NOT the same! The clinical term for body fat is adipose tissue. Adipose tissue is imperative to the body’s metabolism, safety, and general functioning. Fat protects organs and bones, provides energy, balances appetite, and serves a vital role in overall cellular metabolization. Without fat, our body would never find homeostasis (physical equilibrium).(3, 4)Scientists recognize two kinds of adipose tissue: white cells and brown cells. White cells store energy for use in other organs. Brown tissue accumulates over time and regulates internal heat (called cold-induced adaptive thermogenesis). White cells store energy while brown cells dissipate it!(5)Fat Doesn’t Always Look FatMeasuring one’s body composition also hints at where fat is stored in the body. Have you ever heard the term “skinny fat?” It refers to how someone can have lots of body fat and still have a thin frame. “Skinny fat” can occur for a few reasons. The person has few muscles, so visible mass and measurable weight are composed of fat, connective tissues, organs, and bones. The person may be genetically predisposed to store fat deeper in the body, closer to bones and muscles. The person’s lifestyle may not promote healthy organs, so the fat in the body moves toward organs to assist with metabolization at the site and to support the organs. For instance, alcoholics have a great deal of fat around the liver. Or people with kyphosis (upper back curvature) whose thoracic spine is coated with protective fat.Watch Your WordsIt is rarely appropriate or necessary to comment about someone’s body! Instead, focus on their character and your relationship.Fat deep in the body and near the organs is called visceral adiposity and is the most dangerous kind of fat because it threatens the movement of fluids around organs and through veins(6). In this way, someone who “looks fat” because they naturally store fat nearer to the skin may be healthier than someone who “looks skinny” but has visceral adiposity.(7)Below The SurfaceHealth and fitness are so much more than the way you look. Genetics plays a significant role in the form the body assumes. Health happens below the surface of the skin. Only science and your sensations can tell you how to be healthy and when you’re there. Stop comparing yourself to others on Instagram! Education and self-awareness are the tickets to health.Is Fat Bad?Fat is not bad. On the contrary, it is necessary for our body’s basic functions. And the “low-fat” diets of the 1990’s ruined popular culture’s perception of the value of fat. They made people believe that being skinnier is better. Being low body fat composition and/or very low body density carries risks, just as being overweight or obese. Data shows that underweight children are more susceptible to infection than overweight children. In adults, being overweight and underweight presents an equal risk of infection. And the mortality rate for critically ill patients is higher in obese adults than in underweight adults.(8)The bottom line:Being underweight and being overweight is dangerous. Seek a healthy middle!Furthermore, having a high body fat percentage isn’t intrinsically dangerous. It’s fat storage and insulin regulation that matters. Obesity and being overweight are an enlargement of adipose tissue to store excess energy intake(9). Simply having extra fatty tissue is not dangerous, as long as it’s stored in healthy fat cells responsive to insulin. It’s when cells stop becoming responsive to insulin that problems arise. Obesity can lead to diabetes because excess adipose tissue affects insulin sensitivity.(10, 11) The thing is, it’s not the fat itself that affects insulin responsiveness, but genetics, nutrition, and lifestyle.Having a low body fat percentage reaps many physical and emotional problems. For women, Amenorrhea can occur (loss of a period and subsequent hormonal issues). Men and women can both suffer from lower cognitive function. The brain is 60% fat, so when the body is malnourished, the body will start using fat from the brain to fuel its daily activities.(12, 13) The same goes for muscles: without enough body fat, the body will take nutrients from muscles. When muscles become smaller, they stop releasing necessary hormones, resulting in depression and fatigue. Plus, low muscle mass leads to low bone mass, meaning a higher risk of osteoporosis and injury.Ultimately, body composition is not intended to reveal body fat. It describes the ratio of fat to other parts of the body and helps one understand what’s happening below the surface of their health. It’s an educational tool.  Why Muscles MatterStrong muscle helps to reduce the risk of injury, support a healthy lifestyle, and promote longevity. However, muscles naturally become less tough with aging. The National Institute of Health concluded in a study that muscle strength declines in people aged 40 years between 16.6% and 40.9%. The risk of falling and breaking bones increases as a result of reduced muscle strength and bone loss over the age of 40. A sedentary lifestyle accelerates this process. The body fat percentage also rises due to a redistribution of stored body fat, which heightens the risk of chronic diseases like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes. How Is Body Composition Calculated?Body composition is used less frequently than body mass index or body fat percentage because only trained professionals can provide a reliable assessment. They do so in one of two ways.1. Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA)Bioelectrical impedance (BIA) is one of the most precise and reliable methods to determine body composition. This method measures the opposition to the flow of electrical current through body tissue. A weak electrical field is created through two electrodes on a hand and foot. Don’t worry – it doesn’t hurt! BIA is the preferred measurement method in medicine and sports medicine because it is so fast and easy to do. If you want to find out whether your body fat percentage is healthy, ask a dietician.The following parameters can be determined with BIA:Body fatLean body massTotal body waterMuscle mass2. Hydrostatic weighingHydrostatic weighing makes its calculation based on water displacement. Weight is compared outside of water and in water to calculate density and thus the body composition. If you’re interested in this method, you’ll need to find a location in your area that provides this method — usually a medical facility.Finding Your Body Fat PercentageIf you’re unable to learn your body composition, you can use body fat percentage to start making educated decisions about nutrition and exercise. The easiest way to calculate your body fat percentage is with our online calculator: There are two other ways to find your body fat percentage.How to Calculate Your Body Fat Percentage at HomeThere are also ways to calculate your body fat percentage at home. These are less accurate than the methods above. But, they can give you a general idea of your current levels.1. Skin CalipersThis is done by pinching 3 different skin folds in the body — the measurements of your body fat percentage can be read directly on the tool. It’s the easiest to do at home with a friend or with your trainer. However, this method isn’t generally efficient for obese people and can have a large margin of error if being done by different professionals. If you are using this method, be sure to have the same person do it for you to ensure a more accurate comparison. It’s not the most precise of all the methods but doesn’t take much time at all. The advantage is that it’s a quick way to measure. 2. US Navy MethodIf you want to calculate your body fat percentage using the US Navy Method, all you need is a measuring tape to measure different parts of your body. The points at which you measure are different for men and women. How to measure correctly:Waist circumference: wrap the measuring tape around your waist at the height of your navel. Measure when you are relaxed after exhaling.Neck circumference: measure your neck just below the Adam’s apple. Hip circumference (only for women): measure at the widest part of your hips.What Is A Healthy Body Composition?It’s one thing to know the number. It’s another to understand it. Most major medical practitioners recognize the following percentage ranges.Women’s Body Fat PercentageMen’s Body Fat PercentageNote:Women can, and should, have a higher body fat percentage than men!Body Composition As A Measure of HealthInstead of focusing on what’s to be cut or lost, focus on what you can add and gain. Muscle is so much more important to health than fat. Having more muscle will naturally lead to a higher metabolism and lower body fat percentage. Instead of cutting calories to lose weight, focus on adding strength training to gain muscle. Instead of trying to become less, try to become more! Body recomposition is the process of changing the ratio of fat, lean muscle, and other tissue mass in the body. It refers to increasing muscle and skeletal mass while decreasing fat mass.(14) Read on for “body recomp” tips.How To Change Your Body CompositionIf you determine that your body fat percentage is outside the healthy range and you don’t feel as energized as you’d like, you can change your nutrition and exercise to build more muscle and reduce fat.Begin by calculating baseline data about yourself. After learning your starting body composition, use the following calculator to find out your natural energy expenditures (i.e., calories burned):Since relaxation and sleep are an essential part of muscle protein synthesis, use this sleep calculator, too:Then, you’ll be ready to make some profound changes!Monitor Calorie and Nutritional IntakeMonitoring one’s caloric intake is NOT dieting. It IS knowing that eating excess calories will cause the body to convert nutrition into fat, which can eventually lead to disease over time.(15)The most important intake to monitor is protein. Studies suggest that eating more protein every day can lead to natural body recomposition.(16) Make the most of your protein intake by eating higher protein within three hours of sport (or sooner).(17) Whey protein has been shown to increase body recomposition when eaten alongside aerobic training(18). Low carbohydrate diets help women lower their body fat and sleep better.(19)When attempting body recomposition, it’s imperative to find a balance between undereating and overeating. If you undereat, the stress hormone leptin will increase. Leptin is very sensitive to intake. If stimulated over long periods, it can cause neurological disorders and higher energy storage.(20) Furthermore, if you eat too few calories or cut out carbohydrates, any weight you lose will likely be muscle and water weight. You will lose weight, but your body fat percentage will be higher. And that’s not healthy!(21)Tip:Once you get your initial calculations, stop weighing yourself! Body composition is not about weight but muscle-to-fat ratio. Weight is a poor health marker; it’s just one data point!In fact, you might find that you need to GAIN body fat and weight. That’s perfectly normal (especially in today’s weight-obsessed society). Gaining weight is equally as important as losing weight. Gaining weight should be done just as carefully as losing it. Bulking and RefeedingMany professional athletes purposefully “bulk” before the competition. Bulking adds more calories than one’s average daily expenditure to load the body with extra nutrition. Then, the athlete focuses on strength training, thereby directing excess nutrition into the muscles. Bulking is a great way to build muscle mass for a short time, after which a regular calorie intake resumes. Refeeding refers to gaining weight after being underweight or malnourished. It can be dangerous, as getting too many calories too fast can result in refeeding syndrome.(22) If you’re mildly underweight, it is safe to add more calories into your diet over time gently. Like weight loss, a good rule of thumb for weight gain is ~1 pound per week. Check out our blog post for fun recipes for eating inspiration!1 For The WinWhether gaining or losing weight, changing your weight by 1 pound per week is a generally safe and effective goal!Exercise for Body RecompositionIn addition to dietary alterations, certain types of exercise promote body recomposition. When trying to gain muscle and lose fat, there are three workouts that are proven to benefit most people. HIIT: high-intensity interval training is proven to recompose muscles and fat with 12 weeks of regular workouts.(23) The thing about HIIT is that you must push yourself to your limits. Since your limits aren’t the same as other people’s, you’ve got to be honest with yourself, hold yourself accountable, and choose appropriate exercises. Here are some HIIT exercise ideas!Resistance Training: resistance training refers to lifting weights and using resistance bands. But, it can also apply bodyweight exercises, especially if you’re new to working out. These workouts can be done slowly with many repetitions and movements. You can also target specific muscle groups for easy-to-see gains!Low-intensity cardio: long walks, casual hikes, bike rides with friends, and swimming are all examples. These types of exercises cleanse, regenerate, and oxygenate new muscles. And these lower-intensity cardio movements are less likely to make you very hungry, helping to maintain your nutritional intake goals. If you’re brand-new to exercise, team sports in groups help people stick with a new fitness plan.(24) Frankly, when you’re new to fitness, ANY kind of exercise helps!(25)Try to mix in every one of these exercise styles in a week. Plan to exercise 3-5 times a week with adequate rest. Add variety, but focus on building muscle. Here’s an example of a training split that will help with body recomposition when paired with a high-protein diet:Monday: short and intense HIIT workoutTuesday: strength training (with or without weights)Wednesday: rest dayThursday: easy jogFriday: sports game with friendsSaturday: rest daySunday: strength training (with or without weights)Are you looking for more ways to train at home and outdoors? Download the adidas Training app!Aim For a Healthy MiddleBody fat is essential for our health. It provides energy, protects and insulates our organs, and regulates the production of hormones. Too much body fat is associated with higher cholesterol and blood pressure, both of which can lead to cardiovascular problems and strokes. The risk of Type 2 diabetes is also higher. However, if your body fat is too low, you lack energy, are more likely to get sick, and get cold faster. You may suffer from digestive problems, and low body fat can have a negative impact on your bone density and hormone level. The healthiest route is to aim for the middle of the range.Ultimately, if you feel healthy, you’re probably healthy. And if your blood tests come back positive, regardless of your weight, you’re probably healthy. There are many ways to determine “good” health. Because body composition is the most multi-faceted, it is generally regarded as the best.(26)Before starting a new exercise routine or diet, you might first ask yourself: do I feel good? Do I enjoy my workouts? Does my doctor deem me healthy? And if these questions are YES, but you still feel unsure of yourself, you might consider working on your body image. This blog post can help!Related posts: More

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    Yoga For Beginners: How to Begin Your Yoga Journey

    Even the easy yoga poses will be challenging the first time you attempt them. Plus, “easy” is not the same for everyone. Unlike many other types of sport and fitness, yoga has its own language, its own breath patterns, and is intensely tied to self-realization. Practicing yoga will likely transform how you approach other sports, your body, and your sense of self. Many people start noticing the benefits of yoga after their very first session; most people will see a change after three to six weeks. But getting started is the hardest part, especially if you have ZERO yoga experience! Here, we tell you everything you need to know about beginners’ yoga.Tip:Before you start, review our blog post about yoga basics and some benefits of yoga. The post familiarizes you with the language of yoga (Sanskrit), the history of yoga, and the most popular types of yoga.Table of ContentsStep 1: Set Up Your SpaceWhile outdoor yoga is inspiring, we recommend starting your yoga practice indoors, where you can more easily hear and see your instructor, app, or other guides. We’re not going to lie: yoga can feel awkward when you’re getting started! Becoming comfortable in odd positions is part of the resiliency that yoga develops. But it takes a while to feel “okay” having your glutes in the air and your head near the ground! It’s best to learn yoga in a quiet, safe, private space.Be sure that your space is large enough to practice. It should be a few feet longer than your body when you lay on the ground. The ceiling should be high enough to lift your arms overhead with straight elbows. You will be moving side-to-side while laying on the ground, so it’s best to have a few feet available to each side of your mat, too.Once you’ve memorized the poses and learned a few flows, you can take your practice outdoors. Again, we recommend finding a safe and relatively secluded place. An ideal outdoor practice space allows you to let your guard down and zone out in the flow. If you’re fair-skinned or overheat easily, find a place with some shade. Yoga Gear ChecklistLike most types of fitness training, a yoga class can still be successful even if you don’t have the perfect equipment. But, having all the gear you might need will make your first classes more streamlined. Here’s a recommended list of yoga gear that you might use during your yoga session. By the way, to follow the environmentally-conscious paradigms of yoga, we recommend sourcing sustainable yoga materials as often as possible!Note:Yogis call tools like blocks, blankets, mats, and straps “props.” You’ll often hear an instructor say, “Use a prop underneath your knees in this pose.” And yogis often use props without being told to! There are no rules. Whichever props you need to make your practice work for your body and ability level are the right ones to use.The following props can be helpful during a yoga practice, but they’re not required. Whichever works for you is the best prop for you to use!Mat: find a mat that’s not too slippery. Ensure it’s not a Pilates mat. Yoga mats are thinner; they should be only centimeters thick, like a blanket.Block: these blocks are about 23 centimeters long and 15 centimeters thick. They come in a variety of shapes, colors, and materials. Avoid getting a heavy block as they’re difficult to move. Consider purchasing two blocks (one for each hand). If you don’t have a block, you can use other things like a book, a shoebox, or a stiff pillow.Water bottle: even simple yoga poses will get your juices flowing! Keep hydrated.Towel: yoga may not be HIIT, but it’s likely to make you sweat, especially if you are a beginner yogi! A small amount of sweat on your mat can become a slip hazard. Plus, towels can also double as pillows!Pillow: small pillows are an underrated prop! Use them to lift the back of the head when laying down for more comfortable neck positioning. They can also pad the knees when kneeling on the ground. Warmer clothing: practicing yoga in a teeny-tiny-sports bra and shorts is great. But when you lay down for savasana, your heart rate and core temperature will quickly decrease. Take a brief pause before savasana to put on socks and a hoodie.Blanket: in addition to warm clothing, have a folded-up blanket nearby. You can use it to cover the body during savasana for extra-cozy meditation. You can also use it as a prop for poses like halasana (plow pose). Strap: there are specific straps created for yoga made of non-flexible materials with looping mechanisms at the ends. But any stiff fabric with open ends that can be tied in a circle also works (like a leather belt). Yogis use the straps as arm and hand extensions when challenged to reach (like in seated forward fold pose).Journal: for ultimate rebalancing, journal before and/or after a yoga session. For more guidance, read on! This blog post discusses journaling in the “mindfulness” section.Step 2. Learn About 12 Of The Most Common Yoga PosesAs you progress in your yoga journey, you’ll find all sorts of crazy pretzel-poses to experiment with. These wild poses are mostly newer versions of foundational yoga poses. Learning the foundational poses first is imperative to exploring more creative flows and poses later. And our yogi ancestors believed that inner-stillness develops in more basic poses. So: start small! Get to know the following 12 poses, how your body feels in them, and how to modify the poses so that they serve you. Note:“Modification” simply refers to variations from the original posture. When a yogi assumes a modified pose, it’s not because they’re weak or incapable. They use a modification because their body finds it more effective and enjoyable. Modify without judgment! Your body is unique and deserves to be treated as such.1. Table Top PositionFunction: to find symmetry between left/right, top/bottom, front/back. Activate core muscles. Form: back must be completely flat, which means no convex or concave curvature anywhere along the spine. Since most people have some thoracic and lumbar curvature, this means that the belly muscles must be strong to push the lower back up. Muscles between the shoulders are engaged. The back of the neck is long, gaze toward the ground.Errors: having hands and knees close together (remember: yoga is all about making space). Sagging in the lower back. Shoulder blades poking upward. Hands further toward the top of the mat than the head so the neck is tense and shoulders elevated. Head to drooping lower than the shoulders.Modifications: many people struggle with table top position because of pressure on the knees and ankles. If so, use a prop below the knees to cushion them.Inspiration: Personal grounding and feeling centered in the self. Inner reflection and silence. Preparing oneself mentally for what’s to come. Being self-supporting.2. Forward Fold and Seated Forward FoldFunction: both grounded and standing versions of the forward fold lengthen the hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Deep core muscle engagement and isometric contraction. Lengthen the spinal muscles.Form: legs are touching or hip-width distance apart. The lower belly is firm, pulling the spine into flexion. Flexion occurs at the hips, not the back. Knees can be bent, but try to straighten the knees as flexibility increases. Feet point toward the top of the mat or the sky while hands reach toward the feet. The head relaxes toward the legs.Errors: having feet too wide so that the lateral glute muscles are engaged. Allowing the toes to turn out to the sides. Intensely reaching with the shoulders and arms so that the neck is tight and shoulders are elevated (but the back is still curved). Folding from the back, rather than at the hips. Not engaging the core. Holding breath.Modifications: people with herniated discs in the back should be careful with this pose or avoid it altogether. A prop can be used between the legs and back to support the spine. A strap around the toes, held in hands, can help find depth.Inspiration: Reaching for goals and moving boldly toward challenges with a sense of self-awareness and reflection. Loving oneself even despite struggles.3. Halfway LiftFunction: reset the spine between forward fold and plank during vinyasa. To activate back and core muscles. Lengthen hamstrings.Form: halfway lift might be the most misunderstood and frequently repeated yoga pose! It’s table top position but in a vertical structure. Enter from standing forward fold or after stepping to the mat’s top from another inverted position. Lift the spine until it’s even with the hips, forming the shape of a table. Place hands on the calves or thighs (not the knees), lift the head to align with the shoulders and gaze toward the ground below the nose. On exhale, release back to forward fold or continue to the next pose. Errors: same as table top position. And allowing the front of the rib cage to jut toward the floor, creating a spinal extension. Not lifting head high enough. Looking forward instead of down. Using only the back muscles to lift without tightening the core muscles. Pressing hands onto knees (the knees don’t deal well with this kind of pressure). Hyperextending knees.Modifications: people with chronically tight lower back muscles may struggle with this pose; their lower back muscles might try to do all the work. If this pose bothers your lower back, simply skip it and take an extra breath in forward fold.Inspiration: Preparing to surmount a challenge or go toward a goal. Reminding oneself of the future but staying grounded in the present. Keeping sight of aspirations.4. Low and High LungeFunction: whether grounded or standing, these poses aim to create more mobile hips. Build strength in the legs (especially in the standing version). Learn proper recruitment of hip, core, and back muscles with arms elevated.Form: one leg is forward, and the other is back (in a low lunge, the back knee is on the ground). The front knee stacks over the front ankle. Both hips squared to the front of the back. The rear ankle stacks above the back toes (or lie flat on the ground in a low lunge). Back is straight; hips in a slight posterior pelvic tilt; front rib cage pulled into the core. Arms elevated, elbows straight, shoulders relaxed. Gaze forward. The spine is long, stalked vertically from the hips to the crown of the head.Errors: Legs in a straight line with feet directly behind one another (like walking on a tightrope). Rib cage jutting forward so that abs are relaxed and lower back organizes into a lordotic position with anterior pelvic tilt (tailbone lifted). Shoulders squeezed up toward ears. Leaning forward instead of stacking shoulders, spine, and hips. The front knee barely flexed.Modifications: this pose is a total-body workout, so start with a low lunge until you get the hang of it. If the back or shoulders hurt, keep hands in prayer position at heart or resting on the hips. If there is a pain in the front knee, move the foot forward or backward until the pain is gone. Or, do not lunge so deeply into the pose.Inspiration: Jumping from one point in life to another without hesitation or worry. Embracing the unknown with an open heart. Boldness, bravery.5. Downward-Facing DogFunction: lengthen all muscles along the posterior chain, from heels to back of the neck. Build strength in the shoulders and upper back muscles. Stimulate brain function. Strengthen deep abdominal muscles.Form: to find a proper “down dog,” start in a plank position on the hands. Then, lift the glutes straight up to the sky without moving the hands or feet. Once there, you can move the feet slightly closer to the head so that the heels are entirely on the ground. Eventually, your ankles will be flexible enough that you need not take an extra step. The body should look like an isosceles triangle: the arms to glutes, glutes to ankles, and space between the hands and feet are equal in length. Feet are hip-width distance apart. Abs are engaged so that tailbone gently tucks and the lower back muscles relax. Shoulders pull-down spine, away from ears. The front ribs gently tuck toward the belly. Fingers are spread wide on the ground; as much of the hand is pressing into the ground.Errors: Fingers closed and most of the hand lifted off the ground (which can cause wrist pain). Arching spine so that chest curves toward legs. Hands and feet too close together, so tailbone just toward the sky and spine compresses. Keeping ankles tight so heels can’t relax. Arms and legs are too narrow or too wide.Modifications: people with high or low blood pressure should avoid holding this pose for a long time or skip it entirely. Knees can be slightly bent if you experience hamstring or lower back compression. A child’s pose is a fantastic substitute for downward dog.Inspiration: Pausing in times of conflict or hardship to investigate one’s true intentions and desires. Resiliency when the expected does not happen. Belief in one’s abilities. Creative inner thoughtfulness.6. High Plank or Low PlankFunction: A high Plank is a plank with hands on the ground; a low plank is elbows down. Most flowing styles of yoga cue high plank because it’s extra effort to drop and lift elbows continuously. Both versions of the pose require core strength, shoulder strength, and quadriceps strength. Nearly every other muscle in the body strengthens isometrically.Form: shoulders are stacked directly over hands and ankles are stacked directly over toes. The back of the head, shoulders, spine, and hips are all in a flat line, like table top position. The gaze is toward the ground directly below the nose. Legs are together or hip-width distance. The front rib cage pulls toward the spine. Mild posterior pelvic tilt.Errors: Fingers close together with most of the hands lifted off the ground. Hands forward of the head so that shoulders are elevated and tight. Back muscles lengthened so that the spine bows toward the ground. Hips higher than lower back; tailbone poking out. Lower back sagging with hips below shoulder level. The feet spread wide. In low plank: elbows splayed out to the sides.Modifications: if the wrists hurt in plank, replace high plank with low plank on the elbows (although this is not recommended for vinyasa classes). Both versions can be done with the knees on the ground (just be sure to keep the abs equally engaged).Inspiration: development of resiliency. Fostering a sense of inner self and independence. Asking oneself difficult questions. Sitting with discomfort. Building one’s strength for the future by staying present in the moment. Self-worth.7. Cobra and Upward-Facing DogFunction: strengthen the spinal extensors, upper back muscles, and glutes. Lengthen muscles around the chest and fronts of the shoulders. Release hip flexors; activate hip extensors and engage glute muscles. Lengthen quadriceps. Form: start with hands directly under shoulders and elbows tucked in toward the chest. With hips squared toward the ground, lift the chest. You can start with slightly bent elbows and work towards full elbow extension. Contract the muscles between the shoulders blades to widen the chest. Engage the glutes, pressing hips closer to the ground. Ankles plantarflexed (toes pointed, laying on the ground). Gaze is forward with the back of the neck long, stacked directly above the shoulders. The only difference between upward-facing dog and cobra is that cobra presses the hips to the ground, whereas upward-facing dog features elevated hips.Errors: beginning with hands forward of the shoulders and elbows opened toward the sides. Lifting shoulders toward the ears instead of engaging upper back muscles. Letting hips lift off the ground using only lower back muscles and no glutes. Keeping feet dorsiflexed (heels over toes, rather than ankles long on the ground).Modifications: if you suffer from certain kinds of lower back pain or have a herniated disc, it’s best to take this pose easy (or avoid it altogether by staying in the plank position). However, there are many ways to modify this pose to put less pressure on the spine. First, you can keep your elbows against the ground so that your thoracic spine and cervical spine are the only parts that lift. Second, you can simply take a few breaths on the earth without lifting. Third, you can keep your feet dorsiflexed and arch the spine, dropping the hips slowly while maintaining a Plank Pose (keeping abs engaged). Inspiration: belief in one’s ability to conquer any challenge with an open heart. Sending love into the world. Being receptive to other people’s love and feedback. Self-pride, self-worth, and the ability to share it with humility.8. Warrior IIFunction: strengthen the front leg’s gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and quadriceps. Strengthen and stretch muscles around the pelvis, inner thighs, and shoulders. Develop proprioception.Form: organization of the feet is perhaps the most crucial aspect of warrior II. The back foot must be turned at a 90-degree angle to the front with heels aligned. The front foot faces the top of the mat, with the knee directly over the ankle. Both feet are flat on the ground. Hips and shoulders squared toward the side of the mat. Upper body vertically aligned from crown of the head to tip of the tailbone. Gaze is forward over front hand. Arms reaching toward front and back of mat (respectively), stacked over ankles. The front leg knee is horizontal to the ground; the back leg knee extends.Errors: “charging” by pushing the torso forward over the front leg. Having the front knee too far ahead or too far backward of the ankle. Not flexing the front knee enough. Arms out to sides rather than over ankles; arms weak, elbows bent. Lower back arched and ribs flared; pelvis in an anterior tilt. Back leg knee bowed inward and/or bent. The back foot turned out into an obtuse angle (rather than a 90-degree angle perpendicular to the front foot).Modifications: warrior II is one of the more safe and comfortable yoga poses (although it’s challenging for the muscles to hold). People with knee pain can shorten the stance and refrain from flexing the front knee. For any back, ankle, or knee pain, experiment with bending or straightening the knee until comfortable. Be sure the back foot is perpendicular to the front foot!Inspiration: hopefulness and courage toward the future. Respecting the nature of past, present, and future. Care and caution when “drawing one’s sword.” Focus on the present moment.9. Warrior IFunction: strengthening the quadriceps of the front leg and gluteus muscles of the back hip. Lengthening and strengthening muscles of the pelvis. Gentle abdominal contraction. Lengthen latissimus dorsi and serratus anterior muscles (with arms overhead). Stretch back ankle.Form: warrior I is a complex pose in that it blends warrior II and high lunge. The legs are arranged like a high lunge, but the back foot opens to a 45-degree angle. So, the back foot of warrior I is more acute than the back foot of warrior II. Like warrior II (and unlike high lunge), the heels are linear. Like high lunge, the hips and shoulders are square to the front of the mat, with arms held overhead. Traditionally, the hands are pressed together in a prayer position above the head with elbows extended. The front knee flexes until the thigh is parallel to the ground. Back knee extended. The pelvis tucks into a gentle posterior pelvic tilt; the front ribcage moves toward the back of the body; the spinal column is vertical and long.Errors: feet crossed like a curtsy lunge (this makes balance difficult). Jutting the front ribs forward, arching the lower back, anterior pelvic tilt. Lifting shoulders with arms raised overhead. Straightening front leg.Modifications: like warrior II, warrior I is a relatively gentle pose. If knee pain occurs, shorten the stance. If pain in the hips or lower back occurs, widen the stance. A wider stance also helps with balance.Inspiration: self-reflection and external analysis before diving in. Rising from the ashes of previous pain and form to become a more robust version of yourself. Willingness to fight the good fight. Defending and serving one’s community.10. Child’s PoseFunction: lengthening the spinal extensors and compression of the spinal flexors (compression being a positive impact). Lengthening muscles along lateral edges of the torso. Stretching glutes, front of calves, and ankles. Compression and stretching of knees. Relaxation of neck muscles. Form: knees are open wider than torso, toes are touching. The torso relaxes between the knees. Arms are extended overhead, resting on the mat, with elbows straight. Eyes can be closed. The head rests on the ground between elbows. Glutes hover over or rest on the heels.Errors: keeping knees closer together (this is a different pose, called “ball pose”). Dorsiflexion of ankles rather than plantarflexion. Arms toward the edges of the mat rather than directly overhead. Stiffness in the belly that prohibits glutes from sinking toward heels.Modifications: while a child’s pose is considered a resting pose, it can be excruciating on some yogis’ knees. There are several modifications. First, pad below the knees with a pillow. Second, place a cushion between the knees and thighs to lift the hips off the ankles. Finally, keep the hips directly above the knees in a tabletop position. If the neck or shoulders are irritated with arms overhead, bring the hands back toward the feet with palms face-upInspiration: self-reflection and internal connection; understanding one’s existence as a small part of a big world. Relaxation, stress relief, independence, awe, and creativity.11. ChaturangaFunction: strengthening every muscle in the body, like a push-up. Especially the muscles of the triceps, shoulders, and core. Development of shoulder and wrist mobility. Form: chaturanga begins in plank pose. With elbows pulled tight to the body, perform a reverse tricep push-up. The less-intense version involves lowering oneself to the ground. The more-intense version consists of hovering above the ground with upper arm bones horizontal to the ground. Gaze toward the ground below the nose with head is as high as the shoulders (no lower). Entire back is flat, like table top position, with no curvature of spine. Shoulder blades pulled together. Feet dorsiflexed. Inhale to prepare, exhale to lower.Errors: chaturanga is a challenging pose that gets easier with practice. Issues occur when the lower back sags, shoulder blades peel apart, and the head drops below the shoulders. The pose should move like a plank lowering to the ground, not a snake curving and flopping down! Elbows being too broad is also an error. Holding the breath.Modifications: lower the knees to the ground and lower the chest and chin next. Hips are last to touch the floor. Ask a partner to place their hands on your elbows while standing above to help you feel the sensation of elbows tucked close to the body. Look forward so that the head stays elevated. Place hands on yoga blocks with the fingers hanging off the front edge to support wrist mobilization.Inspiration: overcoming challenges and the continuous work toward personal development. Self-confidence. Ability to speak one’s truths with humility.12. Standing Side BendFunction: stretch and strengthen the obliques, rectus abdominis, lower back muscles, and shoulders. Strengthen inner thigh muscles. Balance. Form: Like all other side bends, the standing side bend requires a neutral pelvis and spine. Only the muscles on the sides of the body contract and extend. Keeping ribs stacked over hips, the obliques on one side of the body contract and shorten. The opposite obliques lengthen and stretch. Arms raise overhead with fingers clasped in a “steeple grip” (i.e., only the first fingers are outstretched). Elbows straight, knees straight, legs locked together. Hips are horizontal, square, and symmetrical.Errors: lumbar curve and forward ribs so that the pose resembles a back-bend rather than a side bend. Standing with legs wide apart so that one hip also lifts. Elbows bent.Modifications: if the shoulders are irritated or elbows cannot straighten with arms overhead, drop the arm you’re bending toward and only keep one arm aloft. For balance issues, stand with the feet slightly wider. If you have lower back pain, focus on maintaining a mild posterior pelvic tilted posteriorly and engaging the lower abs.Inspiration: bending but not breaking. Choosing unique and creative paths in life. Leaning into discomfort. Exploration of the inner and outer self. Sense of strength in unexpected and irregular situations. Step 3. Practice MindfulnessYoga carries fantastic physical and athletic benefits. It’s one of the most accessible ways to increase flexibility and mobility. But it’s a special kind of exercise in that it carries elements of spirituality, meditation, and mindfulness. These elements do not reflect religion but are inspired by the mind-body connection. Do not discount this element of the journey! Here are a few things you can do to practice mindfulness.JournalWe’ve got an entire blog post dedicated to this very idea! Journaling is a fantastic way to keep track of the subtle and beautiful changes in the body, mind, and spirit that may (or may not) occur during your yoga practice. Try checking in with yourself BEFORE you begin to set intentions for the session. Then, check in with your feelings after the session to notice if any changes have occurred. Listen To Your BodyYoga goals aren’t like other fitness goals: they value the experience of the practice rather than the outcome. You can set unique goals before every session based on your present needs. In yoga, taking modifications, up-leveling, and down-leveling, are signs of self-awareness and self-love. Yogis allow their bodies to dictate the intensity of the class and even individual poses. Such attunement and adjustment to the minute details of one’s body might seem hyper-vigilant at first. Eventually, such perception will become natural and calming.ExperimentYoga promotes a sense of curiosity and exploration (it’s no wonder so many travel bloggers post images of themselves doing yoga poses in incredible places). Just as you experiment with new foods, styles of make-up, outfits, and sports, so should your yoga practice be a chance to escape the mundane and find delight! Here are a few ways to mix up your practice:Try a class in person at a local studioDo yoga with other sports, like at the top of a hike or after a soccer game Invite friends to join you! Teach each other your favorite posesChallenge yourself to a wild-n-wacky pose. Laugh when you fall out of it!Buy a spunky new outfit to practice inDo your yoga class at different times of day and adjust the intensity accordinglyTry different types of yoga, just for fun (aerial hoop, anyone?!)Lean Into ItStarting a yoga practice can feel confusing, complex, and downright weird. If you feel that way, you’re doing it right! Yoga is unlike any other form of exercise, mindfulness practice, or physical therapy because it blends all those things into one. By educating yourself on the practice before you begin and showing yourself grace through your initial struggles, you’ll find that the practice feels easier every time you get to the mat. Who knows? You might even find that your body, mind, and spirit crave it. About the AuthorEmily Stewart is a freelance writer at Runtastic. She’s a 200-Hour and nearly 500-Hour certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor. And, she’s a certified Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor. She’s taught yoga in the USA, England, Malta, and Austria (and online). She’s attended and hosted yoga retreats around the world. She spent six months studying abroad in India, where she practiced at an inner-city Sivananda Vedanta Yoga ashram at least twice weekly. She spent three days at their forest ashram in Tamil Nadu, India. She has served as a Mentor and Teacher Trainee with The Kaivalya Yoga Method Teacher Training.*** More

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    Yoga Basics: Background and Benefits of Yoga

    Everyone seems to be doing yoga these days, from Russell Brand to Madonna. Many of us Runtastics started doing easy yoga for beginners at Runtastic’s free weekly yoga sessions. It was an “ah-ha!” moment for a lot of us. After we personally felt the benefits of yoga, we decided to make yoga a central part of the adidas Training workouts.Here, we share some of the fun facts that we’ve learned about yoga. We’ll also explain four scientifically-backed benefits of yoga. There’s more! Stay tuned to this blog for more information on why we love yoga and think you will, too.What Is Yoga?Yoga, as it’s commonly regarded and practiced today, refers to a series of postures that the practitioner completes in a certain order. The poses are intended to stimulate the physical and emotional body. Some of the goals of yoga are to prime the self for seated meditation, increase overall vitality, and create a sense of connectedness between yogis and their world.Yoga was founded upon the language of Sanskrit. You will hear many Sanksrit words used in a yoga class. Using Sanskrit names is a way of respecting yoga’s ancient origins. It’s also a way of creating a community across languages and borders. The language of yoga is unique, and once you know it, you can practice yoga anywhere in the world.The poses and postures that we do in a yoga class are collectively referred to as asana. Yoga asana refers to what happens in a typical yoga class; it refers to the physical movements of yoga.What Does Yoga Mean?Etymologically, the word yoga comes from the term “to yoke.” This “yoking” is interpreted in different ways. Some practitioners think of it as connecting body and mind; others, as connection breath with movement; others, as connecting the individual with all things (the microcosm with the macrocosm). No matter how the yogi interprets it, yoga means a sense of connection and oneness.Types of YogaOver the years, yoga has spread from Asia to the rest of the world. Originally a Buddhist practice, it was eventually picked up by Hinduism (hence the many yoga poses named after Hindu Gods), parlayed back into Buddhism, and then distributed amongst many other faiths and communities. Today, there are a few very popular and recognized styles of yoga, plus many offshoots. The best style of yoga is the one that makes you happiest! Hatha yoga: the oldest form of yoga. Traditionally, an equal amount of time is spent on the ground and standing. Poses are held for 5-10 breaths each. Hatha poses are generally considered easy yoga poses. The aim of Hatha is to promote stillness.Power yoga: a more modern version of Hatha. In Power Yoga, intense poses are held for at least 10 breaths.Vinyasa yoga: a modern take on the idea of “breath with movement.” Poses are linked in a flowing way: one breath, one movement. Classes can be vigorous and are aimed at improving circulation.Ashtanga yoga: a challenging style of yoga, Ashtanga is all about developing strength. There are six levels of the Ashtanga series, each with increasing intensity. Most Ashtanga classes have no instructor. Rather, students memorize the poses and help each other. Yin yoga: another more modern style, Yin Yoga involves holding relaxed yoga poses for up to 10 minutes. Many props will be used to support the body and create comfort. The room is often kept very cool. Yin is regarded as the most low-intensity style of yoga, aimed at pain alleviation.Bikram yoga: considered by some to be a literal interpretation of yoga practiced in the warmest regions of India. The room is heated to around 105 degrees Fahrenheit with 40% humidity. The exact same yoga poses are completed in sequence every session.Is Yoga a Religion?No, yoga is not a religion. Yoga is literally a movement practice. Versions of yoga were formed around the same time period in different locations and within different religious communities. Like many other social constructs, yoga was co-opted by religions as a way to get more people interested in joining. However, yoga is traditionally a personal practice to promote health and aid meditation, regardless of religious beliefs.What Happens In A Yoga Practice?A traditional yoga session can be divided into subcategories. Usually, the practice starts with pranayama (breathing exercises). Next, posture-holding exercises (asanas). Finally, meditation (Saha). In most yoga classes today, the meditation part is shorted to savasana. “Corpse Pose,” as it’s commonly known, is actually an asana that requires lying still on the ground for at least two minutes.(1)Is Yoga Exercise?The short answer: it depends on how vigorous your practice is and how fit you are. Some styles of yoga, like Power, can be considered strength-training exercises because they involve isometric holds in challenging poses. Some styles, like Vinyasa, can be used as a cardiovascular workout if the yogi moves quickly between poses. A study comparing yoga and other physical exercise found that yoga was more beneficial to overall health because of the mindfulness, breathwork, and emphasis on correct posturing.(2)A regular yoga practice will most likely increase one’s flexibility. Most scientists believe that flexibility is a deterrent to injury, although this tends to be sport-specific.(3) Still, there are enough athletes, fitness enthusiasts, and everyday people who swear that yoga makes their bodies feel better. We think so, too!Benefits of YogaWhile scientific analysis is still trying to determine what exactly happens psychologically during a yoga practice, societies around the world have put a stamp of approval on yoga. Here’s why.1. Mental HealthWe know that exercise has a positive impact on mental health. Yoga carries its own unique benefits. The first comes from the mindfulness of the practice. Mindfulness refers to momentary and complete focus on a single activity. Such thoughtfulness is actually extremely cleansing for the brain; yogis report feeling more grounded and alert after a class. One study suggests that this mindfulness was a result of the breathing, meditation, and technical posturing of yoga. This combination of activities increases brain wave activity. Such brain wave activity increases gray matter and activates the amygdala and frontal cortex of the brain. The clinical trial proved that such frontal lobe activation was present after a yoga session. How awesome is that?!(4)Many studies show that yoga helps with perceived stress.5) Yoga is also proven to decrease the feelings of anxiety and depression in those with anxiety disorders.(6)Interestingly enough, a higher-intensity style of yoga has a greater positive impact on depression.(7) 2. Chronic Back PainOne of the most oft-cited benefits of yoga is its assistance with chronic back pain. Doctors and clinicians are advised to recommend yoga to their patients before more invasive chronic back pain treatments.(8)3. SleepEven yoga that’s practiced during the day has been shown to improve sleep. One study found that after just four weeks of yoga, chronically stressed nurses were able to sleep better.(9) Another study showed improved sleep after six weeks of higher-intensity yoga.(10) Yet another study showed that women, in particular, experienced more satiating sleep when they practice yoga regularly.(11) Many individuals use Yin Yoga as a way of preparing the body physically for rest. Or, they do Vinyasa in the morning routines to help wake up. Creating a yoga practice reflective of your sleep schedule is a great way to tune up your circadian rhythm!4. MobilityMobility is the body’s ability to move with ease and grace by employing multiple body parts at a time. It’s basically flexibility and movement combined. Mobile people are often less prone to injury because they’re able to activate certain muscles or muscle families while allowing others to rest (or simply stay out of the way). Yoga practices inspire mobility by helping us feel how different parts of the body move in relation to each other (also called kinesthetic awareness). And, it challenges us to find more depth, strength, and fluidity in movement. Even simple chair yoga movements can contribute greatly to the overall mobility of key joints, like hips and ankles.Start a Yoga JourneyNow that you know the what and the why, it’s time to learn HOW! We’re always adding more great content to the adidas Training app. Check out our new guided workout with American yoga instructor, Adriene Mishler. Gift yourself 23 minutes for this relaxing Vinyasa flow. And stay tuned! There are more incredible yoga workouts on the way. All you need is the adidas Training app, a yoga mat or soft ground, and a sense of commitment. If you lose motivation, we’re here to support you! We’ll be posting more articles about the intricate details of yoga, from journaling to breathwork. About the AuthorEmily Stewart is a freelance writer at Runtastic. She’s a 200-Hour and nearly 500-Hour certified Vinyasa Yoga Instructor. She is also a certified Trauma-Informed Yoga Instructor. She’s taught in the USA, England, Malta, and Austria. She’s attended and hosted yoga retreats around the world. She spent 6 months studying abroad in India, where she attended an inner-city Sivananda Vedanta Yoga ashram at least twice weekly. She also spent three days at their forest ashram in Tamil Nadu, India. She has served as a Mentor and Teacher Trainee with The Kaivalya Yoga Method Teacher Training.  More

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    7 Common Sports Injuries: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

    Low side plank twists are a rotator cuff workout that strengthen shoulder stabilizer muscles. 5. Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s ElbowCause: Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow do not just affect tennis players and golfers. Any athlete or professional who uses their forearm muscles repeatedly and regularly can suffer. Both are a result of tiny tears in the muscle caused by inflammation of the tissues around the elbow. Tennis elbow pain is felt on the outside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow creates pain on the inside of the elbow.Prevention: Surprisingly, lack of mobility in the wrist and shoulder are often culprits of elbow pain. Include wrist and shoulder warm-ups, activation, and mobilization exercises in your normal workouts. Consider doing them before any activity that requires repetitive arm movements, like gardening or typing on a laptop.Treatment: An injured elbow can get better with time and rest. Cold compresses during moments of pain help reduce inflammation as does a diet of anti-inflammatory foods. A physical therapist may also provide wrist, elbow, and shoulder exercises. In very bad cases, surgery may be required to remove damaged tissues.(6)  Caption: Stretching the shoulders and wrists before a workout can help with elbow pain. 6. Groin Strain and Sports HerniaCause: Sports hernias are clinically named athletic pubalgia. These and general groin strains are most common to athletes who change direction quickly, tennis players. Sports that require frequent twisting and bending (like rowing) can also cause groin strains. These injuries are more typically related to overuse. But, any biomechanical pattern could cause these injuries. For instance, many people have one leg that’s longer than the other. These kinds of muscle imbalances can cause problems throughout the kinetic chain that put pressure on the groin during movement. Long-distance runners, women with relative osteoporosis, and anyone with nutritional and hormonal imbalances are also susceptible to groin injuries.Prevention: The best way to prevent any injury around the pelvis is with hip stretching and stability exercises. Lower and deep core work are very beneficial. Getting to know your own muscle imbalances is important. Then, you can train in such a way as to strengthen opposing muscles and correct postural imbalances. Because having strong bones is a big precursor to a healthy pelvis, proper sports nutrition is key (i.e., enough calories, enough macronutrients, and enough micronutrients). Finally, changes in the training surface or shoes can cause groin strain. Start with shorter workouts when venturing out onto new terrain or wearing new shoes.Treatment: Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid intense physical movements until the pain subsides. Because issues in the groin and pelvis are so difficult to diagnose, most cases require sports physiotherapy.  The sports physician will determine the rehabilitation plan based on the location of the tear. Some types of injury require rest, while others require more aggressive movement therapy. In the worst case scenario, surgery may be required.(7, 8, 9)  Single leg bridges are a great way to strengthen the muscles of the pelvis and low back.7. Hamstring injuryCause: Hamstring tears and pulled hamstrings most often occur when one pushes off the ground to walk, run, or climb. For folks with very weak or tight hamstrings, this injury can even occur when standing up from a seated position. Any one of the three hamstrings muscles may be affected. Older adults are more likely to suffer from hamstring injury than young people.Prevention: The best way to prevent hamstring issues is by training them with strength and flexibility workouts. Simply exercises like deadlifts and seated forward folds go a long way.Treatment: Hamstring pain is difficult to treat because it affects so many basic actions, like moving from seated to standing. It can heal on its own with rest. But in case of intense pain, walking with a cane or crutches helps. Icing the area and wrapping it can keep inflammation down. Consider working with a physiotherapist if the pain does not subside on its own in three weeks. With physical therapy, the recovery time typically takes six to eight weeks.(10) Moving in and out of this stretch is a dynamic warm-up for hamstring mobility.Nutritional Advice for Sports InjuriesWhen recovering from a sports injury, one of the best things you can do is eat well. Here is a list of micro- and macronutrients that can aid in recovery. We recommend eating whole, fresh foods containing these nutrients.1. Protein-rich foodsProtein, especially that derived from mammals and fish, enhances the body’s muscle-building processes (vegan protein sources should be supplemented with amino acids like Lutein).(11)2. Vitamin CCollagen rebuilds tissues and is anti-inflammatory. Citrus fruit and leafy green vegetables are rich in Vitamin C, which helps the body to produce collagen. 3. Omega-3 Fatty AcidsOmega-3s are anti-inflammatory and building blocks for the body’s cellular recovery processes. Salmon, sardines, chia seeds, walnuts, and soybeans are all-natural sources of Omega-3 fats.4. Calcium and Vitamin DFractures, dislocations, and sports hernias are all related to weak or impacted bones. Calcium builds bones. Milk, cheese, yogurt, some fish, almonds, and kale are all great sources of calcium. But without Vitamin D, the body cannot absorb calcium. So eat some egg yolks or go for a jog in the sun! Both fill you up with Vitamin D.Prevention is The Best MedicineUnfortunately, most athletes will at some point find themselves injured. It’s part of being alive, of having a complex body and love of movement! But the best way to prevent an injury is to be thoughtful about movement, health, and body awareness. Cross-training, taking time to recover, eating well, and listening to your body are, ultimately, the best medicine for sports injuries.*** More

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    Understanding and Overcoming Plateaus in Sports Performance

    Popular media is full of stories of people conquering challenges no matter what. New employees learn the company’s goals first and their own tasks second. Every year Olympic athletes break their own personal records. We’re led to believe that setting goals, and then working arduously to achieve them, will lead to success.But what if you’ve been working toward a fitness goal for weeks, years, or months, and suddenly hit a plateau? Here’s how to cope with a workout plateau. The first thing to recognize is that it won’t last forever. The second thing is that you don’t deserve all the blame. There are many factors at-play when it comes to workout goals, including sports nutrition and overtraining.What is a Plateau?According to analyst Wu Xiangming,“The plateau phenomenon… refers to the stagnation or even regression of an athlete’s performance within a certain period of time after the rapid progress in years of training.” Xiangming identifies that there are “internal and external” causes for such a plateau(1).While the above study examined South Korean athletes over the course of years, fitness plateaus can still happen to everyday athletes over the course of weeks or months. Basically, an exercise plateau occurs when the athlete is unable to successfully increase the intensity of a workout or earn a new personal best. Intensity can refer to any exercise stimulus, from duration to volume to velocity. Are you unable to go faster, lift heavier, or go higher? Then you’ve probably reached a workout plateau.There are two kinds of plateaus that may affect everyday and competitive athletes: a mental plateau and a physical plateau. For most athletes, a mental plateau expresses itself as a negative and unmotivated attitude toward exercise. A physical plateau is the literal inability to progress in a movement or sport. Usually, athletes experience both in conjunction. Sports psychology analyzes both aspects when identifying athletes’ performance.What Causes A Plateau in Performance?In fact, the “Plateau Effect” is a natural occurrence in sport. As an athlete gets fitter, they must continually add on more intensity to improve. Performance will reach a plateau if the training load is kept constant.(2)Blaming yourself for being “unmotivated” or “lazy” won’t help with sports plateaus. There are many reasons why an athlete might not be progressing. Understanding those reasons is the first step to overcoming them. Ask yourself the following questions.#1: Are My Goals Right For Me?When setting achievable goals it’s important to be honest with yourself about what you want and why you want it. Maybe the goal is to run 5km, and you can’t seem to move past 3km. But what was the reason behind running 5km? If you only intend to lose weight, and you’ve indeed gone down in a pant size, then you can be happy with 3km.Truthfully, getting started with a new workout routine is the most difficult part. Once an initial increase in fitness has been realized, it takes much less physical effort to maintain. If you love your 5km runs and easily maintain them in your schedule, then you might make a new goal of simply maintaining your workout schedule. At some point, the goal could be simply to “maintain” rather than “gain.” Here’s another thing that Instagrammers don’t share: most of them are in the maintenance phase. They talk about “gains” but they’ve already put in years of effort to get where they are. Now, they’re in a relatively normalized state, where they eat and train to maintain their current form.Of course, competitive athletes are always striving to win. But, the everyday athlete must weigh their perception of fitness with the creation of goals that are personally fulfilling, sustainable, and achievable. Ask yourself: what are your needs, desires, and motivations? Set goals that match. For more guidance, see our goals setting guide.#2: Have I Given Myself Enough Time?Most people who’ve achieved notable success have been working on their craft for a long time. It takes several years of regular physical movement to change one’s physiology. Set small, incremental goals on your way toward a larger goal. Be willing to give the incremental goals all the time they require.#3: Am I Rested?There’s a reason why some of our most popular articles deal with overtraining and knowing when to take a rest day. Over-exercising is both a cause for and symptom of performance plateaus. The body requires adequate recovery between sets and sessions. Rest isn’t just taking physical days off. It’s everything that makes you feel lively again: sleep, food, creative time, vacations, etcetera. Your nervous system is complex. It rules the mind and body. When it’s undernourished and full of cortisol, it’s going to underperform. The result? Feeling physically and emotionally unwell. Determining just how much rest to get is tricky. That’s why we’ve written this training tips blog post about guidelines for recovery periods and days. Our post on sleep advocates for creating a sleep schedule alongside a workout schedule.#4: Am I Getting Enough Variety?Elite athletes only train intensely two or three times a week. The rest of the week is spent cross-training, lower-intensity exercise, mobility work and active recovery. Even non-competitive athletes do better when they vary the training style and intensity throughout the week. Why is cross-training important? First: injury prevention. Train supporting muscles so that when primary muscles fatigue the secondary muscles kick-in. This helps to prevent unnatural pressure on a joint. Second, cross-training keeps the mind and body curious about movement, increasing enjoyment and motor skill development. Third, it provides active rest days to flush the system of lactate and keep the body supple (if you don’t push it too hard).Here are three ways to introduce variety into your training schedule:Do the opposite. If your goal is running, try swimming. If your goal is to get rock-hard abs, try soft yoga. Let your body use all of its functions in as many ways as possible.Vary bodyweight versus barbells. Bodyweight training builds muscle without using weights. Bodyweight exercises tend to be compound movements, which work multiple parts of the body at once. They’re an easy way to build muscle if you’re focused on cardiovascular endurance and boost the metabolism if you’re focused on hypertrophy.Do something for fun. What is Pilates? Is dancing actually a workout? Do you have an old pair of rollerblades collecting dust in the closet? Take them for a spin! Find new and novel ways to move. You’ll be amazed at what you can do and laugh at what you can’t. #5: Am I Using Sports Nutrition?The field of sports nutrition is complex and ever-expanding. The goal is to promote muscle development and cardiovascular endurance while minimizing fat storage. Thanks to the world wide web, it’s easier than ever to get nutrition advice. From intuitive eating to intermittent fasting, Keto to vegan, someone on YouTube probably has a channel dedicated to telling you why their diet is the best diet. Knowing where to start, and who to trust, is the hard part.Ultimately, what feels good in your body is the best diet for you. But, there are some basic, science-backed sports nutrition truths. Read on! ProteinAdequate protein intake is crucial when overcoming a workout plateau. Protein builds muscles and can be used as fuel when carbohydrate sources are depleted. It is a longer-lasting energy source for the body. Protein also contributes to feeling satiated (which can help with weight-loss goals). Unfortunately, the “right amount” of protein remains undetermined in the scientific community.What we do know is that the body maximizes protein differently depending on age and activity level. Protein is valuable because of amino acids, and vegetarian-based protein sources need to be combined with other amino acid sources in order to create the complete protein that muscles require. It’s not a bad thing to eat more protein than the body requires, but it also doesn’t help. Extra protein is oxidized or transaminated to other organic acids in the body (basically, it’s converted to something other than protein). However, current studies are based on fast-digesting proteins like supplements and powders. More research needs to be done about natural proteins that are bound with other macronutrients, i.e. carbohydrates and fats.(3)You can use our protein calculator to learn a ballpack range of how much protein overall your body requires. If you’re very focused on building physique, lean muscle, and strength training, then you can add many more grams of protein per day to this initial amount.Fats and CarbohydratesThe fitness world is obsessed with protein (for good reason, as shown above). But inadequate overall nutrition will cause the body to steal protein from muscle, rather than fats and carbohydrates.(4) Fast-acting carbohydrates are the first thing that the body uses when cardiovascular intensity increases. Fats are used once carbohydrates are naturally depleted and on endurance-based workouts (like long runs). If you’re underfueling on fats and carbs then your body will use its own muscles as a protein source. Muscle mass will decline, as will overall performance.Nutritional TimingTiming nutritional intake to optimize sports performance is tricky. An athlete must consume enough calories to offset energy expenditure, otherwise they’ll get sick, stressed, and less fit. Try eating several times a day, including nutrient-rich supplements like energy bars that are easier to digest before or during a workout.(5) Most sports scientists advise to spread protein throughout the day, too.6: Am I Enjoying It?So you’re eating properly and working out on-schedule… but you’re still stuck in a training rut. Have you stopped to ask yourself: “Am I actually enjoying this?”Turning an enjoyable activity into a task takes all the fun out of it. Like, turning your relaxing daily run into a never-ending chore to go faster or longer.We may also be lacking personal trust. We may be worried about the “slippery slope” if we miss a workout or over-eat. Sometimes, self-confidence and self-mastery are confused with deprivation and control.When a plateau does occur, it can lead to self-doubt. A sports plateau has a negative and significant effect on exercise satisfaction and exercise commitment.(6)Anxiety around performance– success or failure– can be the reason behind performance plateaus. Acceptance and forgiveness can help an athlete move past a plateau. Keeping exercise fun and entertaining ensures that you’ll keep coming back for more.Three Simple Tips to Overcoming a Performance PlateauYou may find that, once you’ve taken time to listen to your mind and body, your plateau naturally fades away. But if you’re still struggling to move on, try these three simple tips.Shake it up with apps. If you’re a runner, mix it by downloading the adidas Training app. If you’re focused on strength or mobility training, download the adidas Running app. These apps will provide training tips for all fitness levels (beginner to advanced). The apps can help you to:Set new goals and edit old ones. Goals can be short- or long-term.Connect with adidas Runners groups in your area. Meet new workout buddies and learn new running routes.Challenge and inspire you with virtual races and challenges.Hire a personal trainer or take group fitness classes. Personal trainers and fitness instructors will kindly critique your form and exercise function. They will give you new workouts and ensure that you stay accountable to your reps and frequency. A fitness professional’s job is to motivate and encourage you.Work with a nutritionist or dietician. Trying to make your own nutrition plan can be frustrating, intimidating, and downright irritating. So, hire a trained professional. They can help you with gentle nutrition that serves your training needs. Many healthcare plans include nutritionists and dieticians. ConclusionTrying to push past a plateau is like trying to break down a locked door. Instead, listen and feel what the plateau is saying about your lifestyle. A plateau in performance tells you something much larger than the goals you’re NOT achieving. It shows that something in your training plan or lifestyle requires adjustment. The issue could be unrelated to your fitness, like sleep or food or time to relax. Use a workout plateau to learn about what your body and mind really need. Feel free to scale back your exercise, to forget about the goal for a while. Try new ways of living. You might find that when you return with a fresh plan and fresh mindset, you’ll go further than you ever imagined!*** More

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    Effective Workouts: Training Tips to Get Results

    It’s so important to set goals when pursuing a new workout regimen or training plan. Having success markers in-mind can help you stay motivated on days when you’re tired. Goals help you to choose what kinds of exercises to do and their frequency.So, after putting in all of this effort, how long does it take to see results?Most new exercisers notice that they feel more energetic within a couple of weeks. Your posture will improve and you’ll feel more muscle tone. Gains in performance, like lean muscle mass and cardiovascular endurance, require around three months of regular effort. (1, 2)Here are five tips that can help you reach your new fitness goals in a fun, sustainable way! Use them, and you’ll cut down how long to see results from working out.1. Start slowlySo, when do you start seeing results from working out? Slowly, and that’s a good thing. Since people are generally very motivated when they start working out, the tendency is to overdo it. Training very frequently and intensely might feel effective at first, but this will drain your body of energy pretty quickly (both in the workout and days afterward). The result is a drop in performance, which may affect motivation and make the workouts less fun.Exercise Science 101:Your circulatory system needs time to adjust to exercise and frequency. This can take days or even weeks, depending on the exercise intensity. Your muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments require a similar adaption time. And this adaptation is mostly physical! Amazingly, neurons adapt their ability to transmit electrical impulses between the brain and muscles within minutes.Give your body the time it needs! Keep your mind focused on the end-goal. Learn more about neuromuscular adaptations to specific kinds of exercise in this Physiopedia article.Starting slowly, but frequently, will help you get through the initial (irksome) hump of training. In fact, after you’ve created a regular workout schedule and stuck to it, maintaining your fitness might literally be a walk in the park. The Center for Disease Control states that, “After a person has obtained gains in VO˙2 max by performing cardiorespiratory exercise six times per week, two to four times per week is the optimal frequency of training to maintain those gains.” In summary: work hard and regularly now, relax later, and continue to reap the benefits.2. Set goalsWhen setting goals, it helps to have a specific target in mind. It might be something quantitative, like completing a cycling race. It could also be qualitative, like feeling more energetic every day. The important thing is to also plan medium-term goals. These will motivate you along the way and help you to keep an eye on your current fitness levels. Participating in relaxed races throughout the year is a strategy to keep you motivated, help you stay focused, and a great way to meet new workout buddies!The goal you set defines your training:Lose weight, gain muscle, or improve endurance without losing muscle mass — the training method and combination of workouts you choose depends on your goal. Don’t forget to pay attention to your nutrition. After all, how you fuel your body has a powerful impact on your progress. You can find loads of helpful nutrition and workout tips on our blog.These 5 tips can help you set your personal goal:[embedded content]3. Make a long-term planThe best part about setting medium-term goals is that you’re more likely to reach them — and feel the associated positive buzz from success. But what happens next? Fitness is a habit, a lifestyle, and a contributor to longevity. Yes, sticking to a new training plan is the first hurdle. But ignoring the end-of-the-end is a recipe for slipping back into “Netflix and chill.”While you are still in the first training phase, plan how your medium-term goals will stack up to an overall change in your quality of life. What will it feel like when you can run a 5K with ease? What new adventures will you be able to pursue? As you consider kickstarting your new exercise schedule, start researching hiking vacations, sporty hobbies, and even life-altering decisions (like having a child) as well. Once you’re fit enough to accept them, the world will send many opportunities your way! By musing on the long-term while following a short-term schedule with medium-term goals, you’ll be able to envision a fit life. Changing your diet and setting new goals can help you maintain the progress you’ve made or move things up a notch.Find a plan that works for you:Don’t get discouraged if your friends lose weight or gain muscle faster than you. All people respond differently to the same exercise program (none of us has the same DNA). No matter whether your training is focused on strength or cardiovascular endurance: long-term goals have to be right for you, and your progress is specific to you. The most effective workouts are ones that fit the needs of the person doing them!4. Exercise Regularly And ContinuouslyThere is one important question you should ask yourself right at the start: how much time and energy do you want to invest in your training? Make a realistic plan based on your feasible time commitments. There are always interruptions, but you’ll be less likely to fall off your training with foresight and planning. Beginners and those returning to exercise after a break will see results quite quickly (yay!). Your continuous commitment will ensure that you continue to see fitness gains. The more advanced you are, the harder it might be to see a tangible improvement to your performance. Don’t get discouraged!For the most noticeable changes in physique, try strength training. Especially for those new to exercise, strength training results in a metabolic boost that will continue throughout cardio exercise and in daily life. 5. Implement Progressive Overload And Adequate RecoveryIn order to achieve any gains in fitness, you must continuously challenge your physical body to near-failure. Don’t worry: in the exercise world, the term “training to failure” is a good thing! Progressive overload occurs within a single workout and with each workout over time. For instance, in a sprint workout with 4 sets of 100 meters, the runner should strive to go faster with each dash. Over the course of a month, every time that the athlete does this workout, they should try to start/ end faster than the last.According to the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM), “With any training regimen the body is always in a state of adaptation. To continuously improve performance over time, your training must be modified to increase the acute variables and progressively overload the muscles.” Of course, this isn’t always possible. Some weeks are easier than others (especially for women). But, tracking your progress and bumping up the challenge when a workout gets easy ensures that you will never plateau. Or, worse, muscle atrophy.The progressive overload followed by an appropriate recovery phase helps you get the most out of your training. The supercompensation model leads to a drop in performance when not followed by adequate rest time for muscular regeneration. If you don’t give yourself time to recover, you will end up overtraining, which has a negative effect on your results. As this University of New Mexico (UNM) article dictates, there are three kinds of recovery:Natural recovery that happens during movement, like the rest one leg while the other leg strides (“immediate recovery”)Rest between sets or repetitions of an exercise (“short term recovery”)Rest between workout sessions (“training recovery”)The authors explain, “The greater the stress of the workout, the greater the overall muscle recruitment, and the greater the potential for muscle damage and soreness, therefore the need for longer recovery time.”So, how much recovery time should you get?The UNM article states: “For untrained individuals and trained individuals a frequency of 3 and 2 days, respectively, per week per muscle group is optimal, which translates to 1-2 days rest between sessions. However, this will vary depending on total volume of resistance training, individual training status, and overall goals (e.g., training for hypertrophy, strength, endurance, etc.).”Remember:Start slowly and give your body time to adjust to new training stress.6. Use The Right Exercise TechniqueFast, hard, and frequent — these are the words often used to describe what people imagine to be the perfect workout. But if you have poor form when you do the exercises, you’ll likely work other muscles/ functions than those that you’re intending to target. Worse yet, you can injure a muscle instead of strengthening it. Problems that arise from improper training are often noticed later on. By then, you may have already learned to do many exercises the wrong way. In order to get the results you want, you have to do the exercises correctly.7. Physiological Differences Between GendersNot too long ago, many sports practitioners thought that women should train just like men do. As we gain scientific understanding of the difference between men’s and women’s bodies, we’re learning that men and women should train differently, and will react to training differently. It is true that men and women are physiologically similar in that both burn fat by building and maintaining muscle mass. The main difference is that women don’t tire as easily(3) and recover faster than men. This is partially because women have less body mass, which means their muscles can be supplied with oxygen more efficiently. According to one study, estrogen may have protective effects on skeletal muscle  and may therefore shorten necessary recovery time.What’s that mean? Women may benefit from more frequent lower-intensity exercise. Men’s bodies may respond better to less-frequent, higher-intensity sessions. Good to know:Genetically, women have more body fat and lower muscle mass than men. Men also have more than ten times more testosterone. When women exercise, the fat-burning process is stimulated to a higher degree, while muscle growth is activated more easily in men. You can read more about muscle growth in women on our blog. Both women and men experience increased testosterone levels when they exercise, although men to a greater extent.The Bottom LineWith commitment, time, progressive overload and rest, you will see results and gains within three months of beginning your new fitness plan. Consider the tips listed above when planning your training goals and workouts. The key is to assess how much time you are prepared to invest in your workout. That way, you’ll have the most realistic expectations and the greatest ease sticking to a plan.Need help getting started? The adidas Training and adidas Running apps are full of workout plans and accountability mechanisms! *** More