LookingForClues - Article

  Exercising

Disclaimer: The information provided on this page is not intended to be medical advice. Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program!

Different people exercise for different reasons. Some may want to bulk up, to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. Others may want to lose weight. If you want to get a sleek toned dancer's body, or even if you just want to tone up and lose some weight, we have a great article for you! Our article, posted below, will introduce you to three popular workout programs: Yoga, Pilates and Callanetics. Then it will discuss some fun and sexy workouts for women: Strip workouts and Pole Dancing!

There are many different ways that you can add exercise to your schedule. Start by reading our articles. Read the one below and the others that we link to. Then pick a workout that looks like fun and get a book or video and try it out! If you think about all the benefits of regular exercise, you will be motivated to start your program. If you miss a few sessions, analyze the reasons that caused this. If it happened because of illness or a bad day at work, don't beat yourself up over it, just begin again. If the workout is not fun anymore, pick another routine. Do what you need to do, in order to fit your exercise plan into your schedule; the effort will be worth it!

Related Links:

  • Elliptical Machines For the latest in Elliptical Machines visit Lifecorefitness.com
  • There is a site named Yoga.com which "was created to help people all around the world to tap into yoga, massage, fitness and wellness. The founders of Yoga.com came together with a mission of creating an online community and a single source for users to access information, trends, capable instructors, and the latest products around yoga and general wellness/fitness."
  • About.com has a comprehensive page on Yoga.
  • Wikipedia has a very informative page on Yoga.
  • Here is a link to the official Winsor Pilates web site.
  • Wikipedia also has a very informative page on Pilates.
  • The Callanetics Studio of Chicago has a web page on Callanetics.
  • Please read OUR article on Diet and Exercise for more easy exercise tips. Thanks!
  • Please also read OUR article on Weight Loss Tips and learn more tricks and methods for losing the pounds. Thanks!

For more information on Exercise, we recommend the following books:

Enjoy our exclusive Feature Article:

 

From Yoga to Striptease--How to Get a Dancer's Body

by Crystal Schwanke   9/30/05

The recent Pilates and yoga craze has sculpted America's fashion awareness as well as our muscles. Most of us aren't in pursuit of big, obvious muscles anymore, but a sleeker, sinewy dancer's physique. The two mainstream forms of exercise have us looking backwards (to Callanetics, for example, a big deal in the 1980s) and forward (to pole-dancing and strip aerobics, even in backwards little towns). Each of these forms of exercise is a low-impact path to strength and flexibility. But what are the differences? Which one(s) should you choose to change your body? For those of you who don't have access to a gym, check out the video and home equipment recommendations. 

Yoga has the deepest roots in mental and physical health. It's been around since about 1600 B.C. in various forms. Yoga is meant to stretch the body, and reunite the mind, body, and spirit, counteracting the everyday stresses of life that seem to drive them apart. In most forms of yoga, you'll work hard at increasing your strength and flexibility. You'll sweat even if you're not doing hatha yoga (basically yoga in a sauna; the temperature's so high to increase flexibility of the muscles). You probably won't lose weight unless you incorporate cardio into your exercise routine, though. Once you shed the excess fat through running, dancing, or biking, you'll find long, lean muscles have been hiding out and responding to your yoga practices.
Recommendations: MTV yoga (DVD), Yoga Shakti (DVD), any of the Yoga Zone series.

Pilates was created early in the 20th century by German-born Joseph Pilates as a method to strengthen the core muscles of ballet dancers. The workout was designed to increase strength and flexibility without adding extra bulk (thus maintaining the dancers' slim physiques but making them more efficient in what they did). Pilates promises to flatten your abs, strengthen your core, and improve your posture. Since there's more movement involved than in the average yoga routine, you may burn a few more calories with Pilates, but you'll still want to incorporate at least three days of cardio into your week to lose weight and discover the lengthened muscles you've been covering up.
Recommendations: Winsor Pilates Basic 3-DVD Workout Set, Winsor Pilates Ab Sculpting (DVD), Denise Austin's Matwork Based on the Work of J.H. Pilates (DVD), The Pilates Body by Brooke Siler (book with the history of Pilates and basic moves). 

Yoga and pilates are surrounded by the most hype for changing your body shape to that of a graceful dancer's. That may be because they've been around the longest. But humans, always curious and looking for a new thrill or a better, more fun way to do things, have branched out since then. So far, we've come up with Callanetics (a body-sculpting program popularized in the 1980s), strip aerobics, and even pole-dancing.

The Callanetics workout seems to have hit the big-time in the 1980s along with big hair and shiny bicycle shorts. Callanetics is the missing link between yoga and pilates. You hold the same position for a certain amount of counts (usually 100, but sometimes just 20 or 50), moving less than an inch for each count. Controlled movements make sure your body learns stability while you stretch out muscles you didn't realize you had--all while avoiding stress on your joints. The end result is an overall more toned body, better posture, and increased libido. As with all of the above programs, you'll need to do some kind of aerobic activity in addition to the Callanetics.
Recommendations: Callanetics (1986, VHS), Super Callanetics (DVD found only at Amazon.com or VHS).

Now that Callanetics has the libido up, women may want to get in touch with their sexuality, sensuality, and/or their blatant wild side through naughty workouts like strip aerobics (made popular by Carmen Electra) or pole-dancing (which is sneaking its way into small town clubs during daytime hours). Everybody knows the most successful exotic dancers are toned, flexible, and in total control of their body movement (luscious locks and a flashy, skimpy costume don't hurt either). Don't worry, you don't necessarily have to take off your clothes in the process of learning to do body rolls, pole routines, and lap dances. But if you want to do it at home for your significant other, you'll know exactly how to wow him. It's not just a class for exhibitionists--it's a real workout!
Recommendations: This one's probably best in a live class, but you can shop online for poles to hang from your ceiling (prices vary greatly!). Also check out Carmen Electra's series (DVD), The S Factor: Strip Workouts for Every Woman by Sheila Kelley (book).

A true exercise trend junkie, I've tried all of these methods to sculpt my body and I've found Pilates to be the most effective workout. After doing my DVDs just a few times, I noticed a difference in my posture, my stomach seemed flatter, and I seemed thinner from the side. The only thing I don't like is that it doesn't offer much of a workout for arms. By incorporating weights, I build/tone muscle in target spots, and by adding cardio, I burn the fat that lies on top of my flatter abs and more toned hips and thighs. Callanetics is a close second; it leaves me feeling and looking taller and thinner for days if I only do it sporadically. Yoga, though it's been around the longest, is my least favorite right now. I feel more at peace after I practice it, but I like to get my heart rate up more when I work out to feel like I've accomplished something. I would be a bigger fan of the stripping/pole-dancing trend than I am, but it's not as easy to do at home. I'd have to buy a pole, hang it from the ceiling, and make sure I took it down when company came over. You don't always need a pole, but I'm a bit of an over-achiever.  

Whether you're more traditional in your tastes or you're looking for a way to release the wild woman within, there's a way to get that sinewy body dancers flaunt. Combined with aerobic exercise (in the case of yoga, Pilates, and Callanetics especially), you can reveal the taut, trim muscles you've sculpted. All of the methods above are incredible fun, and depending on your preferences, sometimes don't even seem like a workout at all. They're actually addictive in some cases (and that's a good thing). Mix them up to see what your tastes are. Increase strength and flexibility in your body, improve your posture, and up your libido all while getting fit.

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