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Erin Nitschke

If you’re someone who is a frequent gym goer and have logged enough miles on a treadmill for a hundred marathons, maybe it’s time to switch up the routine. Alterative exercise modalities are gaining more attention in mainstream media and many approaches offer enormous health benefits.

The body and mind can both succumb to boredom and soon you start to dread hitting the gym. It’s ok – all of us can experience a physical and mental plateau. Sometimes all it takes to move beyond a stalemate is a new approach. Infuse fun and flare into your next session by trying some new techniques.

Restorative Yoga

Restorative yoga is a style of hatha yoga that uses basic elementary poses to promote self-healing and relaxation. This approach is easier than more traditional yoga classes focused on strength and challenging poses and inversions. If you are experiencing high levels of stress or feel unusually fatigued, give this a try. Research has uncovered valuable health benefits as result of regular yoga practice. Such benefits include improved flexibility, increased balance control, reduced symptoms of insomnia, and improved blood lipid profiles (ACE, 2014).

Qigong

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Qigong is an ancient exercise technique that is over 3,000 years old. Qigong is a self-healing practice that uses meditation, healing postures, breathwork and visualization. Most poses are executed at a low-intensity and include movements that are performed from standing, seated, or supine (face up) positions. The end goal of this modality is to not only restore the body, but to center the mind and improve coordination and balance. Exercise does not always need to be performed at a high intensity to be effective. Research in Qigong has highlighted decreased incidence of stroke and increased bone mineral density (ACE, 2014).

Dance Arts (Spiritual and Ethnic)

Styles of dance vary from ballroom, to expressive, to capoeira, to Zumba and hula. There are endless versions of dance as exercise. Dance involves the movement of large muscle groups and multiple joints throughout the routine or pattern of choregraphed movements.

One such popular form is Neuromuscular Integrative Action Technique – or NIA. This form of exercise was created by Debbie and Carlos Rosas in the nineteen eighties. The most unique aspect of NIA is that it doesn’t employ a single style of dance. Instead, the sequences draw from martial arts, dance and healing arts, as well as qigong. The best part – it’s considered non-impact aerobic activity so it is beneficial and feasible for a wide variety of demographics and skill levels. “Participants are taught to move with self-expression and couple movement tempo with their emotion” (ACE, 2014).

There’s no right or wrong way to be active. Just move and move often. The most important aspect of any routine is that it be enjoyable and safe for the individual.

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Dr. Erin Nitschke, NFPT-CPT, NSCA-CPT, ACE Health Coach, Fitness Nutrition Specialist, Therapeutic Exercise Specialist and Pn1 is a health and human performance college professor, fitness blogger, mother and passionate fitness professional. Visit her personal blog at belivestaywell.com. She can be reached at erinmd03@gmail.com

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