Embrace Your Body

Maintaining a healthy weight is essential for overall health and well-being, but the idea of exercise can be daunting, especially for those who are overweight. However, the benefits of regular physical activity cannot be overstated, and it’s crucial to find safe and joyful ways to move your body. In this article, we’ll explore some tips for safe and enjoyable movement for people of all weights, to help you start your fitness journey on the right foot. And we are a GREAT safe, fun place to begin — with variety, support, professionalism, and kindness. 

A simple word we all hear often — exercise — makes many people cringe. Unhappy childhood memories of school sports or gym classes, flat-out physical discomfort, guilty reluctance, or trouble finding time or pleasurable activities may help explain this. Additionally, for some people with obesity, fear of falling or injury is a high barrier to activity, recent research suggests.

That finding has important implications for health and well-being. So, how can we make movement safe and joyful for people of all weights?

Why be active?

As you may know, being physically active helps combat anxiety and depression. It prevents bone from thinning and tones muscle, helps you sleep better, lowers your blood pressure and blood sugar, and improves your cholesterol levels. It would take numerous medications to do all that routine physical activity can do for you.

Weight loss programs often incorporate exercise. Research shows that exercise helps with weight maintenance and may help with weight loss. Beyond burning calories, regular exercise also builds muscle mass. This matters because muscles are metabolically active, releasing proteins that play a role in decreasing appetite and food intake.

What does this study tell us?

The study found that many people with obesity fear injury and falling, which interferes with willingness to exercise. It followed 292 participants enrolled in an eight-week medical weight loss program in Sydney, Australia. All met criteria for obesity or severe obesity. The average age was 49; one-third of participants were male and two-thirds were female.

At the beginning of the study, participants filled out a 12-question injury perception survey. The majority reported fear of injury or falling, and believed their weight made injury more likely to occur. One-third said that their fear stopped them from exercising. The researchers also recorded weight, height, and waist circumference, and administered strength tests during the first, fourth, and last sessions.

When the study ended, the researchers found that the participants most concerned about getting injured hadn’t lost as much weight as those who did not express this fear. Those who hadn’t lost as much weight also tended to have the highest scores of depression, anxiety, and sleepiness.

Fear of injury fuels a dangerous cycle

As noted, exercise is healthy at every weight: it protects your heart, lowers your blood sugar, boosts your mood, and tamps down anxiety. It also builds balance. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking prevents bone thinning.

If worries about injury or falls cause people to avoid exercise, they miss out on the balance-building, muscle-and-bone-strengthening, and mood-enhancing benefits of regular activity. They may be more likely to fall — and possibly more likely to experience fractures if they do.

Find a blend of activities that will work for you

Everyone, at every weight, needs to find ways to exercise safely, confidently, and joyfully.

  • Start low and go slow. If you’re not currently active, start by simply sitting less and standing more. Try walking for two minutes every half hour. If you’re afraid of falling, try walking in place or alongside a friend or loved one who can provide security and comfort.
  • Ask for guidance. Consider joining a YMCA where you can engage in supervised activities, or ask your doctor for a prescription to physical therapy to help you improve your balance and build your confidence.
  • Try different activities to see what works for you. Walking is a simple, healthful activity, but it’s not the only form of activity you can try. You might enjoy swimming or water aerobics. Try pedaling a seated bike or an arm bike (upper body ergometer) that allows you to stay seated while you propel pedals with your arms instead of your feet. Adaptive activities and sports designed for people with physical limitations and disabilities are an option, too. Depending on your fitness level and interests, you might also consider dancing, biking, or anything else that gets you moving more often.

Lastly, keep in mind that many people suffer from anxiety, and a fear of falling is not insurmountable. If you’re really struggling, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.

If you’re looking for a place that celebrates your body and focuses on joyful movement for all, ABC Fit Studio is here to help. Call us at (949) 305-3310 and book a class to experience our inclusive and empowering environment for yourself. Follow us on Instagram @abc_fitstudio for inspiration and community.

Reference: [https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/safe-joyful-movement-for-people-of-all-weights-202303152902]

How Yoga Can Help Manage Endometriosis

Endometriosis affects millions of women around the world. While there is no cure for it, there are ways to manage its symptoms and improve quality of life. One such way is through the practice of yoga. Yoga has been shown to reduce pain, improve flexibility and strength, and alleviate stress and anxiety. Explore the benefits of yoga for endometriosis with ABC Fit Studio.

Restorative Goddess Pose

This relaxing pose helps relieve pelvic pain, reduce abdominal tightness, and balance your nervous system.

Gondek recommends this pose, explaining, “Restorative Goddess Pose allows for deep relaxation and opens the chest wall, hips, and inner thighs. It also calms the dorsal vagus nerve, which is in charge of our fight-or-flight response.”

  1. Place a bolster under your thighs, just below your sitting bones.
  2. Use yoga blocks and cushions to create an incline support.
  3. Lie down with your spine and head supported by the cushions.
  4. Relax your arms out to the sides with your palms facing up.
  5. Focus on breathing deeply.
  6. Hold this pose for 3–10 minutes.

Supine Spinal Twist (Supta Matsyendrasana)

This twist improves spinal mobility and stretches your chest, back, and glutes.

“Supine Spinal Twist is a great way to release lumbosacral and abdominal myofascial restrictions that are common with endometriosis,” Gondek says.

“It also opens the chest and brings awareness to the breath through focused activation of the diaphragm and lateral rib cage expansion. It can even help with endometriosis-related digestive issues such as constipation or bloating.”

To support your low back and sacrum, place a pillow or yoga block between your knees. Place a pillow under your knees if they don’t reach the floor.

  1. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Extend your arms straight out to the sides with palms down against the floor.
  3. As you inhale, breathe into your belly and lower ribs.
  4. As you exhale, lower your knees to the left side.
  5. Take 5 deep breaths.
  6. Pay attention to the stretch and lengthening sensations on the sides of your ribs.
  7. Return your knees to the starting position.
  8. Repeat on the right side.

Happy Baby Pose (Ananda Balasana)

Happy Baby is a gentle hip opener that improves flexibility, reduces anxiety, and encourages peace of mind.

Gondek says, “This pose is great for releasing pelvic floor muscles, low back muscles, inner thighs, and hamstrings. Endometriosis can cause these muscles to become tender and restricted due to pain-related movement or posture compensations.”

If your hands don’t reach your feet, place them on your thighs or calves or use a strap over the arches of your feet.

  1. Lie on your back.
  2. Bend your knees toward the outside of your chest.
  3. Face the soles of your feet toward the ceiling.
  4. Place your hands on the outsides of your feet.
  5. To create resistance, use your hands to press your feet down.
  6. At the same time, press your feet up into your hands.
  7. Focus on releasing tension in your hips and pelvic floor.
  8. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.

Child’s Pose (Balasana)

This gentle forward fold promotes relaxation and inner awareness. It gently stretches your spine, hips, and glutes, helping to alleviate tension, cramping, and stress.

For more support, place a cushion under your forehead, torso, or legs.

  1. Start on your hands and knees.
  2. Lower your hips and place them on your heels.
  3. Place your knees together or slightly wider than your hips.
  4. Hinge at your hips to fold forward.
  5. Extend your arms in front of or alongside your body.
  6. Hold this position for up to 5 minutes.

Legs-Up-the-Wall Pose (Viparita Karani)

This pose has a calming effect and improves circulation, softens pelvic muscles, and alleviates cramping.

  1. Sit on the floor with your right side against a wall.
  2. Lift your legs and place them against the wall as you lie on your back.
  3. Place your hips next to the wall or slightly away.
  4. Place your arms alongside your body or place your hands on your belly.
  5. Hold this position for up to 15 minutes.

Reclined Hero Pose (Supta Virasana)

This pose gently stretches your abdomen and pelvis and helps relieve pain, bloating, and discomfort.

To reduce the intensity, do this pose one leg at a time. To support your head and neck, create an incline support using blocks and cushions.

  1. Start in a kneeling position with the insides of your knees together.
  2. Move your feet wider than your hips, with the tops of your feet touching the floor and your big toes turned in toward the center.
  3. Rest your buttocks on the floor between your feet.
  4. Lean back, using your forearms and elbows for support.
  5. Gently ease your way onto your back.
  6. Place your arms next to your body at a slight angle.
  7. Hold this position for up to 1 minute.
  8. Return to a seated position.

Reclined Bound Angle Pose (Supta Baddha Konasana)

This relaxing pose calms your nervous system and relieves stress. It alleviates tightness in your hips, pelvis, and inner thighs. It also gently stretches your stomach, which can reduce pelvic discomfort.

For more support, use blocks or cushions under your knees. You can also use a block or cushion under your chest.

  1. While seated, press the soles of your feet together with your knees out to the sides.
  2. Lie down on your back.
  3. Place your arms alongside your body or place your hands on your belly.
  4. Hold this position for up to 5 minutes.

Garland Pose (Malasana)

This squat strengthens your pelvic muscles and helps relieve pain, cramping, and digestive concerns. It gently stretches your low back, hips, and thighs, which increases flexibility and circulation.

For support, you can place a block or cushion under your heels or hips or do this pose with your back against a wall.

  1. Stand with your feet slightly wider than your hips.
  2. Press the palms of your hands together.
  3. Turn your toes out to the sides slightly.
  4. Bend your knees and slowly lower your hips into a low squat.
  5. Press your heels into the floor.
  6. Lift your pelvic floor and elongate your spine.
  7. To deepen the pose, press your elbows into your thighs.
  8. Hold this pose for up to 1 minute.

Yoga Nidra

Yoga Nidra is a guided meditation that you do lying down. This relaxation practice alleviates anxiety, depression, and stress.

It can also help manage chronic pain, release tension, and improve sleep patterns.

Tips for practicing yoga with endometriosis

To make the most of your yoga practice, pay attention to and honor how you’re feeling each day.

Notice your physical, mental, and emotional response to each pose. Use your breath to focus your awareness on any areas of discomfort or sensation. Avoid poses that put too much pressure on your abdominals, cause pain, or make symptoms worse.

Gondek recommends using props such as bolsters, blankets, and yoga blocks to modify poses and provide support.

She explains, “This helps to decrease muscle guarding, which can occur when we are experiencing pain. It gently supports the joints and muscles so that we can fully relax and release into a pose.”

At ABC Fit Studio, we understand the importance of finding balance and living pain-free. Our instructors are experienced, highly trained, fun, and very interested in promoting your well-being. Call us at (949) 305-3310 to find the class that works best for you! Follow us on Instagram @abc_fitstudio for daily tips.

Reference: [https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness/yoga-for-endometriosis#poses-to-try]

The Link Between Exercise and Immunity

Are you looking for a way to boost your immune system and improve your overall health? Exercise may be the answer you’re looking for. While we know that exercise has many benefits for our physical and mental well-being, did you know that it may also have a positive impact on our immune system? Learn more about how you can use fitness to your immune system’s advantage, including how much exercise is needed and what types of exercises are most effective. 

You can boost your immune system with stress management and a balanced diet, but exercise also boosts your immune system, supporting your overall health.

Of course, lacing your sneakers for a run can sometimes feel like the last thing you want to do. But the simple act of moving your body more can provide a powerful tool for fighting infection. The catch? Not all exercise is entirely helpful to your immune system.

To explain the connection between exercise and immunity, Health spoke with experts who have studied exercise’s effect on the immune system. Here’s how to make the most of your workouts for your overall health.

How Does Exercise Boost Your Immune System?

In addition to improving your mental health, a 2019 scientific review in the Journal of Sport and Health Science found that exercise can improve your immune response, lower illness risk, and reduce inflammation.

The study looked at “acute exercise,” meaning moderate to vigorous intensity lasting less than an hour. (The study mainly examined walking, which could also mean an elliptical workout, a spin class, or even a run.)

Study author David Nieman, DrPH, a professor in the department of biology at Appalachian State University and director of the university’s Human Performance Laboratory, told Health that typically, people only have a small number of immune cells circulating the body. Those cells prefer to hang out in lymphoid tissues and organs like the spleen, where your body kills viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms that cause disease.

Increases Blood and Lymph Flow

Because exercise increases blood and lymph flow as your muscles contract, it also increases the circulation of immune cells, making them roam the body at a higher rate and higher numbers, said Dr. Nieman. Specifically, exercise helps to recruit highly specialized immune cells— such as natural killer cells and T cells — find pathogens (like viruses) and wipe them out.

In Dr. Nieman’s 2019 review, participants who took a 45-minute brisk walk experienced this uptick of immune cells floating around the body for up to three hours after the walk.

Better Immune Response With Consistency

While you get an immediate response from your immune system when you exercise, that will eventually go away — unless, that is, you keep working out consistently. “If you go out for 45 minutes of exercise the next day, this all happens again,” said Dr. Nieman. “It all adds up as time goes on.”

Another study by Dr. Nieman and his team found that those who did aerobic exercise five or more days a week lowered the number of upper respiratory tract infections (like the common cold) over 12 weeks by more than 40%.

In 2022, research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine looked at 16 studies of people who stayed physically active during the pandemic. The researchers found that exercising was associated with a lower risk of infection and a lower likelihood of severe COVID-19. People from around the world who worked out regularly had a 36% lower risk of hospitalization and a 43% lower risk of death from COVID-19 than those who were not active.

Think of the lasting immune effect of exercise like this, explained Dr. Nieman: Say you have a housekeeper come over to clean your home for 45 minutes most days of the week. The house will look a lot better on that first day than if someone never came. But the more frequently the housekeeper returns, the better and cleaner the house will look.

“Exercise really is a housekeeping activity, where it helps the immune system patrol the body and detect and evade bacteria and viruses,” said Dr. Nieman. So, you can’t necessarily exercise one day here and there and expect to have an illness-clearing immune system. Come back for more movement regularly, and your immune system is better prepared to wipe out sickness-causing germs.

This holds up, even as you get older.

Decreases Inflammation

Another benefit of exercise is that it decreases inflammation in the body — which, in turn, can also improve immunity. Some research noted that exercise can enhance immune function and reduce inflammation.

According to Dr. Nieman, decreased inflammation goes hand-in-hand with immunity. “When immune cells try to function with inflammation, it puts the immune system in a chronically inflamed state too,” said Dr. Nieman, which makes it harder to fight infection. To cut down on inflammation, kick up your activity level.

What’s the Best Type of Exercise To Boost Immunity?

There’s limited research on the best type of exercise to boost immunity. Most studies, including Dr. Nieman’s, looked at aerobic activity — think walking, running, or cycling.


To gain the benefits, it’s best to push the pace a bit when walking. “For most people, we’re talking about a 15-minute mile,” said Dr. Neiman of the average pace that led to promising results in his studies. “That’s sufficient stimulus to recruit immune cells into circulation.” For other forms of exercise, aim to reach about 70% of your max heart rate, suggested Dr. Nieman.

HIIT Workouts

There’s less science on high-intensity interval training workouts (or HIIT, a popular type of exercise) and whether they help your immunity. One study from 2018 published in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy, which focused on arthritis patients, found that HIIT could improve immune function. Another 2014 study in the Journal of Inflammation Research found that HIIT workouts don’t lower immunity.

In general, said Dr. Neiman, interval workouts are likely OK. “Our bodies are used to this back-and-forth nature, even for a few hours, as long as it’s not unrelenting high-intensity exercise,” said Dr. Neiman.

Strength Training

The same goes for strength training — it likely helps your immune system, but there’s less research backing up its benefits on immunity. Adam Jajtner, Ph.D., CSCS, assistant professor of exercise science and physiology at Kent State University, who has also studied exercise and the immune response, touted resistance training as a smart strategy for improving immunity.

However, Dr. Jajtner cautioned against severe muscle-damaging workouts, like lifting super heavy or doing eccentric exercises (slowing down the downward phase of a movement) so that the muscle repair process doesn’t compete with your immune function. So, unless you’ve regularly been keeping up with a workout like CrossFit, now’s probably not the time to start a new high-impact strength routine.

Can Exercise Harm Your Immune System?

Like all good things in life, science says you can overdo exercise. Pushing yourself too hard for too long can put you at higher risk of infection—but you have to go pretty far past that “acute” level of training to experience adverse side effects.

For example, previous studies have found that extreme exercise can increase the risk of illness in marathon runners. Dr. Nieman published a 1990 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness and a 2007 study in Sports Medicine describing the adverse changes to immunity after marathon-type exertion.

But Dr. Nieman said this negative effect could come into play if you’re running at a high intensity for at least a half-marathon distance or cycling or swimming at a challenging pace for about 90 minutes. Any of these longer, more intense activities can cause stress on the body, which could lead to lowered immune function.

“You put yourself in a stressful state, so your immune system reflects that and leads to dysfunction that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few days,” said Dr. Nieman. High-intensity activity for more than an hour might not be the best idea right now if you’re focusing on keeping your immune system in top shape.

In a 2021 review published in Sports Medicine, researchers looked at potential health problems experienced with ultra-endurance running (UER). The researchers found that, following UER, there is a transient immunosuppression for several hours, which could increase the risk of viral and bacterial infections.

Dr. Jajtner agreed that spending weeks incorporating super high-intensity workouts into your schedule could backfire. “If you’re looking at exercise in a chronic sense, there’s something we refer to as the J curve — over time, as you continue to exercise at a moderate intensity for weeks to months, your risk for infection will decrease,” said Dr. Jajtner. “But if you do excessive and intense exercise, you increase risk of infection.”

Exactly how long and how hard you can push yourself before you reach that excessive and intense level of exercise ultimately comes down to how well you’re trained, but you might want to focus on maintenance rather than intensity. “Moderate intensity is the best route, but maintaining that activity, in some form or fashion, is going to be key,” said Dr. Jajtner.

A Quick Review

While other lifestyle habits like eating fruit, managing stress, and getting quality sleep can also help reduce risk of illness, exercise is an effective way to boost your immune system. People who work out regularly experience fewer infections if they don’t push themselves too hard.

It’s essential to keep a regular exercise routine and not overdo it. Aerobic workouts like running and cycling are excellent immune boosters. But, if you’re super new to exercise (and have your healthcare professional’s approval to start a fitness program), walking is a great way to ease into exercise. Dr. Jajtner suggested going out for even 10 minutes two to four times a day. Then work on gradually increasing that time.

Ready to boost your immune system and improve your health? Why not try dancing or Pilates as a fun and engaging way to get moving? ABC Fit Studio offers a variety of classes for all levels. Come join our Facebook community and give us a call at (949) 305-3310 to sign up for a class today!

Reference: [https://www.health.com/fitness/does-exercise-boost-immunity]

How Can Pilates Manage Your Menopause?

Menopause can be an incredibly challenging time for women, emotionally, physically, and mentally. Pilates can help manage the physical and psychological symptoms that many women experience during this transition. Sound a tad crazy? We know! But we’ve had many clients share their success stories with us. Read on to find out how exercise can help you through menopause.,

Menopause is a time of great, but confusing, change. There are hormonal fluctuations, a loss of bone density, and — everyone’s favorite — weight gain. These are just a few of the fun outcomes you can expect.

It’s no surprise that a healthy lifestyle will help you feel better through this transitionary time in your life. Strength training supports bone health and may help to prevent osteoporosis, which is a huge benefit as women go through menopause.

Specifically, Pilates can be a perfect exercise for premenopausal and menopausal women. It’s low-impact, but it helps increase flexibility and balance and improve muscle strength and tone. It even includes endurance movements. Below are some Pilates mat moves to help get you started.

Note: If you have any known pelvic floor issues from menopause or another cause, you will want to discuss it with a pelvic floor specialist or your doctor before doing intense core exercises like these. Also, before starting any new exercise format, check with your doctor whether it’s appropriate for you and your body.

Equipment needed: For all the moves below, a yoga mat or other type of padded exercise mat is recommended.

1. The Hundred

The Hundred is a wonderful core exercise, and it’s also a fundamental Pilates move. It will help you strengthen your core (called the “powerhouse” in Pilates) and improve the stability of your lumbar spine and pelvis.

Muscles worked: abdominals and respiration muscles

  1. Lie flat on the mat, on your back, with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. As you exhale a deep breath, flatten your lower back onto the mat, curl your head and shoulders up off the mat, and float your arms so they’re still by your sides, but a few inches off the mat.
  3. As you inhale, draw your abs into the spine and pump your arms up and down keeping your shoulders stable to a count of 5.
  4. Continue engaging your abs and pumping your arms as you exhale to a count of 5.
  5. Count to 100, switching your breathing in and then out at intervals of 5.

For added challenge, start with your legs in the air bent at a 90-degree angle at the hips and knees. Your shins should be parallel to the floor. Performing The Hundred in this position adds more challenge for the lower abdominals. The key is to challenge your abdominals without hurting or straining your lower back.

2. Roll Up

You may be noticing a theme: this is also a core exercise. The Roll Up is great for spinal mobility and core control.

Muscles worked: abdominals

  1. Lie flat on your back with your legs extended straight out on the mat. Engage your abdominals and lift your arms up overhead, palms up, letting them hover a few inches off the mat.
  2. As you inhale, flex your feet and engage your lats (latissimus dorsi) to move your arms so they’re 90 degrees from the floor.
  3. As your arms hit that angle, exhale, curl your head and shoulders off the mat and continue to draw your abdominals into your spine as you sit yourself up, peeling one vertebra off the mat at a time. Note: Press your lower back into the mat to protect it as you sit up.
  4. As you sit all the way forward, reaching toward your toes, your spine will continue to curl until you look almost as if you’re resting, with your torso over your legs. However, your abdominals should remain active; you want your abs pulling in toward your spine and your back muscles actively stretching.
  5. When you need to inhale again, begin to curl back to lying down, releasing your feet from the flex and reversing the motion, leading by slowly releasing vertebra by vertebra to the mat until your arms are again at 90 degrees, when you’ll exhale and release your arms above your head.
  6. Repeat at least 5 times.

3. Side kick

This move is a stability exercise. It’s a wonderful exercise for strengthening the muscles of the hip joint, as well as building core strength.

Muscles worked: glutes, abdominals, hips, and spine extensors

  1. Lie on your left side stacking your shoulders, hips, and ankles vertically on top of one another. Move your legs slightly forward at a slight angle so you can see your toes. Support your head on your left arm. Press your right palm onto the floor to help you to maintain your position.
  2. As you inhale, lift your right leg to hip level and pulse it forward twice, flexing your foot. You can pulse it at a 75-degree angle or more, depending on your flexibility. Maintain a neutral spine throughout this movement.
  3. Keeping your leg lifted, exhale as you gently point your toes and sweep your leg backward. You want to stop the backward motion just before it compromises your neutral spine stability. The goal is to maintain the same spinal position using your core as you strengthen the hip.
  4. Repeat at least 8 times on your right leg and then switch to the other side.

4. Saw

The saw exercise increases spinal rotation and strengthens your back extensors, which helps your upper body flexibility and range of motion and strengthens your abdominals and obliques.

Muscles worked: spinal extensors, abdominals, and obliques

  1. Sit up tall with your legs extended out in front of you, slightly wider than hip distance. (Imagine having a beach ball or exercise ball between your feet.) Keep your feet flexed.
  2. As you inhale, sit up tall and stretch your arms out to each side, creating a “T” with them at shoulder height. Exhale and root into your sit bones.
  3. As you inhale again, rotate your upper body to the right, and lean your torso toward your right leg. As you exhale, reach your left hand for the outside of your right foot. Reach for your pinky toe as if you’re “sawing” it off with the pinky finger of your left hand. Your spine
    should round forward with control, keeping your abdominals pulled in toward your spine and stretching your lower back.
  4. Inhaling, straighten your spine, but stay rotated until you exhale, when you’ll gently unwind.
  5. Repeat on the opposite side, completing at least 5 times on each side.

5. Spine stretch

This is a nice stretch to end this short series of Pilates moves with. It helps with stretching the lower back and improving spinal mobility. Additionally, it works your abdominals.

Muscles worked: abdominals and spinal extensors

  1. Sit up tall with your legs extended out in front of you, this time at hip-distance apart, feet flexed. As you inhale, your arms should be stretched out in front of you, palms down, at shoulder-width distance.
  2. Exhale as you lengthen your spine upward then roll forward, articulating your spine one vertebra at a time as you reach toward your feet; you want to keep your arms parallel to the floor, palms down as you stretch. Remember to pull your abdominals in as you stretch.
  3. Inhale as you restack your spine, rolling back up to your starting position.
  4. Repeat these steps 5 times.

The Takeaway

Research found that women who were experiencing menopause symptoms and engaged in exercise programs that include aerobic and strength-training exercises had better bone density levels and mental health outcomes. Work the above moves into your regular exercise routine and see how they make you feel. But always talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.

Improve your well-being with pilates and yoga practices at ABC Fit Studio. Start caring for yourself today! We have a variety of classes and flexible schedules to suit your goals and needs. Find us on Facebook here and schedule your first session today at (949) 305-3310. 

Reference: [https://www.healthline.com/health/pilates-moves-for-menopause#The-Takeaway

Top 7 Benefits of Yoga for Seniors

You’re never too old to reap the rewards of yoga. For seniors who are looking for a safe, effective way to enhance their physical health and overall wellness, the stretching, breathing, and meditation practices of yoga can be a great solution. In fact, as you will see below, doing yoga regularly can result in a host of benefits for older adults. If you know, you know — but if you don’t — DO read on!

1. It keeps your mind sharp

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Yoga allows you to slow down your breathing and meditate, creating a quiet time for calm reflection that sharpens the mind and improves cognitive function. Giving your mind a break from the frantic pace of everyday life can relieve stress and keep you centered and organized. Many people who practice yoga regularly report an improvement in their mood and memory.

2. It strengthens bones and joints

As we age, our bones lose density and our joints become stiffer. Osteoporosis becomes a problem for some people. A gentle yoga practice can be very effective in preventing or slowing down the loss of bone density, relieving bone and joint pain and is safe for people with osteoporosis. Joint stiffness and tenderness can be reduced by moving your joints regularly.

Be sure to tell your instructor about any problems you have with your bones or joints. They can modify your routine and provide helpful props.

3. It improves your balance and stamina

Yoga’s slow, measured movements and holding poses help you achieve better balance and improves your strength as you age. While you may feel a bit wobbly at first, you’ll find that your ability to perform the poses and keep your balance gradually improves.

4. It reduces stress

Yoga is an excellent stress and tension reliever and can even help people reduce the amount of medication they need. Researchers speculate that the postures, meditation and slow, controlled breathing practiced in yoga decrease nervous system activity, which helps manage blood pressure levels.

5. It improves sleeping habits

Many people report that they enjoy a better night’s sleep and reduced insomnia when they start practicing yoga. Performing some simple stretches or breathing exercises before bedtime helps you to focus on the moment instead of worrying about things that happened during the day or that might happen in the future.

6. It slows down the aging

The two core principles of yoga – strength and relaxation – are the keys to slowing the aging process. Yoga calms your breathing, which improves your circulation and slows down your heart rate. And it builds your strength, which slows age-related muscle loss. In fact, yoga can even reverse the loss of muscle mass.

7. It reduces back pain

Practicing yoga is great for working on back strength, flexibility and core stability, correcting posture and breathing – all of which are necessary for a healthy back. It stretches and strengthens your essential back muscles, making it ideal for maintaining back strength and flexibility. Yoga is also one of the more effective tools for helping reduce lower back pain, the most common source of pain and disability among older adults.

IMPORTANT: Yoga’s postures are intended to stretch and strengthen your muscles, not cause you pain. Never push yourself to the point where you are feeling pain. Always let your yoga instructor know if you have any physical problems or are experiencing pain so that he or she can adjust your routine and yoga sequence.

7 Yoga Poses for Seniors

Mountain Pose

This yoga pose helps with balance and grounding through the feet. Stand tall with your big toes touching and heels together. Draw your abdominals in and up and relax your shoulders down and back. Breathe five to eight breaths.

Tree Pose

Excellent for leg and abdominal strength. Good for seniors for balance and concentration. Stand tall and place one foot on the opposite inner thigh, either above or below the knee. Open the leg to the side, bring your hands to a prayer position and hold for five to eight breaths.

Bird Dog

Good for abdominals and back support. The health of the spine is extremely important as we age. Start by kneeling and stretching one arm forward and the opposite leg back. Imagine you have a tea cup on your back and draw your belly button towards your spine. Stay for a breath and then switch sides. Repeat five times.

Downward Facing Dog

This position is great for joint health, flexibility and all-over body strength. Start on your hands and knees, tuck your toes under and lift your hips up and back until your body forms a triangle. Use your core strength and legs to bring the weight back as much as possible. Stay for five to eight breaths, lower yourself down, and repeat two more times. For seniors with wrist issues, try the Forearm Downward Dog instead, putting your forearms flat on the mat.


Excellent for upper back strength and preventing forward head syndrome. Sphinx is gentle and really does a great job of opening up the chest and working the rear deltoids. Lie down on your stomach and place your forearms on the mat, elbows under your shoulders. Press firmly into your arms and draw your shoulder blades together and down your back. Lift your abdominals in and up and stay for five to eight breaths.

Cobbler’s Pose

This is a great way for seniors to keep their hips open and massage their feet. Sit tall and bring the soles of the feet together as you open your knees out to the sides. Fold yourself forward for a deeper stretch but try to prevent rounding too much in the lower back. Hold for five to eight breaths.


Savasana resets the nervous system and helps with restoring peace to the body and mind. Lie on your back in final relaxation. It’s good for seniors to get comfortable with letting go more often throughout the day. Lie down and let the floor support you. Completely relax the muscles and breathe as you lie there and take a deep, restorative break.

Chair Yoga For Seniors: The Best Yoga Exercise For Seniors

What is Chair Yoga?

Chair yoga is a term used for practices that modify poses so they can be done while seated in a chair. These modifications make yoga accessible to people who find it difficult to stand, aren’t able to move easily from standing to seated to lying down positions That’s why chair yoga is a great way for older adults to get the wonderful health benefits of yoga, loosening and stretching painful muscles, reducing stress and improving circulation. By remaining seated you can safely do the exercises.

12 Chair Yoga Poses for Older Adults

Ujjayi Breathing

A great starter pose: Sit up tall at the edge of your seat and place your hands on your waist. Take a deep breath in through the nose, expanding through your sides and abdomen, then exhale slowly. Repeat for ten breaths.


This pose helps to relieve back and neck tension. Inhale and arch your back to look up at the ceiling. Exhale through your spine, pulling your abdominals in and rounding your back as you bend forward. Repeat this movement five times.


To release and relax the hip muscles, circle your hips clockwise five times while seated without moving your upper body, then counterclockwise five times.

Sun Salutation Arms

This pose helps lengthen the spine and releases tension in the shoulders and neck. Sitting tall, breathe in and lift your arms up, pressing your palms overhead. On an exhale, float the arms back down to your sides. Repeat five times.

Sun Salutations with Twists

Repeat the previous exercise, adding a twist as you exhale. Repeat five times on each side, holding the last twist for five seconds.

High Altar Side Leans

For a deep spine and shoulder stretch, lift your arms and interlace your fingers together in front of you. Then turn your palms to the ceiling as you straighten your arms above your head. Lean to the right for three breaths, then to the left for three.

Eagle Arms

Banish any shoulder aches with this move. Stretch your arms out to each side. Next, bring one arm under the other in front of you at shoulder height. While bending your arms at the elbows, twist your arms so that your palms meet each other. Hold for five breaths, then unwind and repeat with the opposite arm on top.

Assisted Neck Stretches

Our necks carry a huge amount of stress. To help alleviate it, take your right arm and drape it over your head until your palm reaches your left ear. Let your head fall to your right shoulder, and hold for five breaths. Repeat on the opposite side.

Ankle to Knee

The hip area is also a major stress spot. To loosen things up, sit up straight, bend your right knee and place your right ankle over your left knee. For a deeper stretch, lean forward. Hold for five breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.

Goddess with a Twist

Another great hip stretch: Open your legs wide and point your toes out. Place your right arm inside your right leg, reaching toward the floor. Lift your left arm toward the ceiling and bring your gaze up to your left palm. Hold for five breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.

Warrior 2

This one builds confidence and gives you a full-body stretch at the same time. Sit tall at the edge of your seat. Bend your right knee to the side and stretch your left leg out behind you as you press down through your outer heel. Hold for five breaths, then repeat on the opposite side.

Forward Fold

Finish with a calming forward bend, which lets blood flow to the brain. First, sit tall and straight. Then, fold down over your legs, letting your head, neck and body hang limp. Hold for as long as you want before rolling back up to a sitting position.

Yoga and Fall Prevention

Due to the natural effects of aging, older adults are at a higher risk for falling than younger people. Each year, one out of every three seniors experiences a fall, and 50% of those have more than one fall. Unfortunately, falls can result in hospitalization and harmful complications such as pressure ulcers, muscle damage and dehydration without prompt medical help. Taking steps to prevent falls should be a priority for all older adults.

Seniors Yoga is an excellent way to reduce your risk of falling. Its slow, measured movements, strengthening poses and focused breathing help you improve your balance, flexibility, stability and strength as well as giving you a sense of well-being and enhanced quality of life.

Improve your sleep and well-being with yoga practices at ABC Fit Studio. We have membership options that fit your lifestyle & goals. Bonus: Our community is warm, welcoming, and full of really great people. Join us! Schedule your first session today at (949) 305-3310.

Reference: [https://www.lifeline.ca/en/resources/yoga-for-seniors/]

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