There are many reasons why I love and hate to come home from university. Although I miss the independence and freedom that the student life gives to me, I look forward to eating some decent healthy meals cooked especially for me by my mum, there is simply nothing like your mum’s home cooking.
Being a vegetarian, so the food menu has already been cut in half, and a very impatient person by nature I tend to stick to the range of microwave meals available at asda or live on pasta (my favourite dish) and pizza…which does tend to get rather tedious. So when I come home my mum uses the opportunity to as she puts it ‘feed me up’. There is also a number of snacks my mum buys as treats, like my guilty pleasure thortons mini choc brownies and caramel shortbreads (I can get through a whole packet in a day) which I refuse to buy at uni, not only to stay in shape, but because my student budget doesn’t allow me to treat myself (well I would rather spend the money on that new top in topshop). It doesn’t exactly help either when the summer holiday boredom kicks in…and hours of facebook posting turns your head into a mush. With a lack of anything productive to do you look for that sugar fix as a highlight of your day. It is easy to understand why I have just signed up again as a member at my local gym.
Since it is holiday season I feel that many of you will feel the same, we all want to look hot in that bikini or pull in that dream dress, so here is a feature I wrote about alternative fitness therapies that you might find interesting…because nobody really enjoys the pain and sweat of the gym.
This article was written for a lifestyle unit at uni…
Laughter yoga is no joke…
Every year brings a new fitness fad, another strange diet, and one more unusual menu.
From the maple syrup diet which involves drinking a mixture of lemon juice and obviously maple syrup up to 12 times a day to the baked beans diet, where you live on baked beans, three meals a day, eaten cold or hot.
If it was just some toning you were looking for, there is more than a hundred new fitness DVD’s weighing down the stands. It is no wonder we are being left in a spin, not knowing which one works best for our body, fits in with our lifestyle and does not cost a credit busting amount. But what if we could stay fit and healthy without busting a sweat, and what’s more have fun, feel sexy and enjoy working out. Two alternative fitness therapies are said to tighten those abs, get rid of those bingo wings and stretch out your pins.
Laughter Yoga is part traditional yoga and part just plain silliness. Invented in a park in Mumbai India by Dr. Madan Kataria it uses unconditional laughter with yoga techniques. “We don’t need any reason to laugh. Life is serious, there is a lot of seriousness around the world, so the time has come when we should take laughter seriously” Dr. Kataria says. “Laughter yoga is safe, scientifically proven, and lots of fun” he adds.
A 45 minute class involves walking or dancing while waving your hands in the air and laughing hysterically, followed by improvised games which aim to connect you to your inner child. The classes then end with cool down techniques like murmuring gibberish and chuckling spontaneously as well as a good group stretch.
But Dr. Kataria says you do not have to attend a class to get that same laughing fix, “it can be done at home in groups and you can also learn to laugh all by yourself to combine with yogic breathing exercises”.
According to Doctor William Fry at Stanford University, “10 minutes of laughter is equal to 30 minutes on the rowing machine. It is like an aerobic workout and this is ideal for people who have no time to do exercise. They can just laugh for 10 minutes and they don’t need to sweat out on the jogging tracks” Dr. Kataria quotes. You can even do it in your beds and still get the same benefits of any aerobic exercise.
Laughing releases endorphins relieving physical, emotional and mental stress which strengthens your immune system and leaves you feeling confident with a big smile and a positive outlook.
Gyrotonics and Gyrokinesis is another popular fitness therapy which has become popular with the likes of Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin.
“It is a system that has application to all walks of life. People who have a very limited range of movement and are in considerable pain experience great relief and an increase in freedom in their bodies and those that are super fit can increase the strength and integrity of the way that their body moves to improve overall performance in whatever sport or endeavour they undertake” says Melissa Cosby, trainer in Gyrotonics at Kinesis studios.
The equipment may seem daunting to use at first, bearing similarities to some nineteenth century torture machines. However once strapped in the weights and pulleys work in spirals in accordance with the organic movements of the body, lengthening, strengthening and toning muscles, also focusing on the flexibility of joints. Mixed with simple breathing techniques taken from Yoga and Pilates, it promises a relaxing and laid back approach to fitness.
“Specific breathing patterns underpin the entire repertoire and the whole body is working the whole time as compared to isolated muscle work in the gym” Melissa adds.