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Swimming Benefits

As a professional sport or as a part-time hobby, there are a huge variety of benefits to swimming. Over the years, swimming has become more and more popular, with many other sports evolving to become water sports as well. Once you have got the right swimming technique, and mastered some different swimming exercises or swimming workouts, you will be able to reap the benefits in no time!

The combination of leg, arm and body movements under the water has proven to be extremely beneficial in many different circumstances. The benefits of swimming will depend on the types of strokes you are practising, which you can choose for your own personal preference or reasons.

How is swimming beneficial?

Not only does swimming manage to pump up your heart rate, it helps you improve breath control and muscle toning, proving it to be more than beneficial for your general physical fitness. If you are swimming for recreational or competitive purposes, studies have shown that being in the water also helps with relaxation and the exercises help you to feel good too.

Many people are in debate over which is better between swimming vs running and this will all depend on what you are looking to get out of the activities. Each sport comes with its own benefits and you need to read more into each of them before deciding what is best for you.

What are some swimming benefits?

Here are just a few of the advantages to swimming, which is a great sport to keep active and fit, for weight loss, or for pain in your muscles and joints:

  • The swimming pool is great for stiff muscles and joints as underwater your body becomes lighter, making the exercises easier to do with less strain. Warm water also provides better conditions to loosen joints.
  • Muscle toning due to the water resistance and swimming acts as a cardio activity while also toning the body through the different strokes.
  • Movements that work on your body as a whole improves flexibility, rather than at the gym where you are more likely to focus on a specific part.
  • As an aerobic exercise, swimming strengthens your heart and improves your breathing due to the moisture in the air around a swimming pool.

Check out some swimming tips for further information!

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Swimming vs Running

As two great activities for fitness and weight loss, swimming and running both come with their different advantages. If you are looking to keep active and stay fit then both of these sports will do the trick. They are both extremely popular and equally right for you, depending on what you are looking for. You should remember to choose the one that you enjoy most and that you feel will help you achieve your goals.

When trying to decide between swimming vs running, it is important to understand the difference between the two and also the swimming benefits and swimming tips, as well as running tips, to make sure you get the most out of each sport. Reading through our information on running for beginners and swimming for beginners should provide you with a better idea on the two fitness activities.

How is swimming good for you?

As a water-based form of exercise, swimming reduces the stress on your joints due to the way water makes your body lighter. The resistance of the water also is greater than that of air, so when practising different types of strokes you are working more on toning your muscles than it might seem. Despite burning less calories, swimming will still burn a significant amount that would be more than walking or weight-lifting. Both these exercises will focus on working your spine, however, swimming allows you to train your body as a whole as the kicking actions of your legs and pulling actions of your arms work together efficiently.

How is running good for you?

As a land-based exercise, running can be a high-impact workout that stimulates bone growth and increases your heart rate but you are more vulnerable to running injuries due to the stress on your joints. Compared to swimming, an hour session of running will burn considerable more calories at a high-intensity speed, but a light jog for the same duration will burn approximately the same amount as a swimming session. Similar to swimming, your spine will be the main point of muscle action, followed by your legs which will receive specific attention. During running, your upper body contributes to the work but doesn’t receive the benefits as it would in swimming.

 

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Pregnancy Yoga Poses

It almost seems that yoga was made for pregnancy, with its calming and relaxation focus, intense breathing exercises, and finally improving your muscle flexibility and circulation. Pregnancy yoga comes with abundant yoga benefits and is one of the most populat types of yoga with enough yoga poses to keep you going throughout these special 9 months, and keep practisng yoga after!

Choosing the correct yoga music can be great to help calm those nerves, while the yoga poses for back and yoga poses for hips will help prepare your body for the physical demand it is about to experience. Pre-natal yoga has become very popular lately and has spread to yoga poses for kids to keep up the act of yoga after you have given birth!

What are the benefits of pregnancy yoga?

A common mixture of exercise during pregnancy is to couple yoga with running. These subtle exercises keep your muscles activated during pregnancy, they prepare your mind and body for labor as well as helping blood circulaton and staying healthy in general. The one suggested precaution when doing yoga poses for pregnancy would be to watch the abdomen area and try not to stretch it.

Yoga Poses for Pregnancy

These are specific yoga asanas to help during the pregnancy period. Be careful to stretch and move in the correct manner so as not to damage your muscles or over-stretch. Use as much yoga equipment as you need, pillows and cushions etc…

  • Cobbler/Tailor Pose: sitting straight up against a wall, bring the soles of your feet together and gently push your knees to the ground until you find a comfortable spot to stop and hold the pose
  • Child’s Pose: kneeling on your legs, stretch your arms forward and lean forwards, bring your tummy into our thighs and take deep breaths, breathe deeply into your back
  • Triangle Pose: stand with your legs wider than hip-width apart, point your right foot outward while keeping your left pointing straight, bring your right hand to your right angle, extend your left arm above and follow your arm with your eyes

Here is a short video to give you an introduction on some pregnancy yoga poses and breathing techniques:

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Yoga Poses for Kids

Yoga for kids is a specific category within the practice of yoga that is designed for children of several different age groups. Found within many types of yoga, classes are adapted to help younger ones with strength, flexibility and coordination. Similar yoga benefits are found for children too, and sometimes more yoga equipment is used to make activities more lively and fun.

During yoga classes for kids, yoga music may be used to get children excited and engaged. Different yoga poses are introduced and usually modified so it is easier for the children to achieve the correct positions. It is a good way for children to keep fit, get their muscles working hard and stretching, and it has also been said to be a calming activity for them to practice breathing and relaxation skills.

Benefits of Yoga for Kids

Children love fun activities, so why not add yoga into the mix! Not only is it good for self-health and relaxation, but yoga for kids helps build body awareness and is a non-competitive activity that they can get involved in. It can be a good way for them to make new friends and learn a new art, most classes for children’s yoga will involve other games and activities.

Yoga Poses for Kids

Like normal yoga poses for adults, kids yoga poses aim to work individual parts of your body. They are based on the adult versions of the poses but are given child-friendly names and more inventive actions to encourage kids:

  • Butterfly: sitting on the floor, bring the soles of your feet together and place your wrists by your hear with your index fingers pointing up, flap your knees like a butterfly and your fingers like the antennae
  • Mermaid: sitting on the floor, bend one leg to bring your foot towards your knee and bend the other backwards, lift one arm to the sky with the other resting on your leg
  • Kite: balancing on one leg, stretch your other leg out, extend your arms as well and sway gently like a kite
  • 3-Legged Dog: balancing on your hands and one leg, raise the other leg in the air and face upwards
  • Frog: bending your knees, keep your head facing fowards and don’t let your bum touch the ground, bring your hands in front of you between your legs
  • Airplane: balancing on one leg, lean forward slighlty with your arms extended swaying from side to side

This short video gives an insight into how you might want to do yoga for kids with your own children, or the kind of kids yoga poses that would be involved in a class:

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Yoga Poses for Weight Loss

Weight loss exercises are always on our mind. What is the newest way to lose those pounds? Yoga for weight loss! Yoga is a brilliant exercise activity that not only helps you with weight loss but improves your flexibility, builds strength and many more yoga benefits are still being discovered. In the beginning, yoga for beginners teaches you to focus on your mind, body and soul, but this in turn has positive effects on your weight.

With all the different types of yoga to choose from, it can be daunting trying to figure out which one will give you the best results. Don’t be worried if you feel the need to use yoga equipment and props at first to help with the yoga poses. Practice makes perfect, we suggest you read through the different yoga styles and positions, test them and see what works best for you. Bikram yoga and ashtanga vinyasa yoga are recommendable due to their quicker pace and higher energy sessions.

Check out our yoga vs pilates debate for more information.

Yoga Poses to Help Lose Weight

Our suggested yoga poses for weight loss will be sure to get you working up a sweat! As yoga is an activity that targets muscles and tissues, you might need to stick at it for a little while before seeing results. Give these yoga exercises a go:

  • Boat: sitting on a mat, raise your legs straight up and lean back to create a “V” shape with your body, hols your arms out straight and at shoulder height
  • Locust: lying on your front, inhale lifting your legs up and keeping them straight, raise your chest and head with your arms going backwards and palms up, you should feel a stretch in the abdominals and a slight lift
  • Warrior 3: standing and balancing on one leg, raise your other leg backwards so it is straight, bend forward spreading your arms out and face the floor, your body should be in a straight line except for your balancing leg and arms out
  • Temple: standing on the mat, bring your feet apart with your toes turned out as far as is comfortable, bend down slightly with your knees facing outwards, inhale and interlock your hands raising them above your head with palms facing the sky, exhale
  • Cow Face Twist: sitting on the floor, bring one leg over the other bending the knee and facing your toes behind you, bend the leg underneath also facing your toes behind you, place the contrary hand to the top leg to rest on your knee and turn to the side

For further help, view the video below showing yoga exercises for weight loss:

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Yoga Poses for Hips

Many people want to know what yoga poses for hips are out there. The answer is too many to count! The great thing about all the different yoga poses is that there are an endless amount, for different types of yoga or for different reasons, and you can always find several specific yoga postures designed for what you are looking for. Yoga is a great way to work on regions of the body, whether that be joints or muscles, as it comes with great yoga benefits.

When doing a yoga workout it is important that you are wearing the appropriate yoga clothes to allow for you to properly execute the positions, as well as having the correct yoga equipment for stretching your body as far as it can. In particular, hatha yoga and iyengar yoga could be useful to improve flexibility in the hips or if you have pain in this area.

Yoga Poses to Widen Hips

The following yoga poses for hips are good if you want to improve your flexibility and strength. They will help open your hips, give your joints more movement and will also ease pain if you are sensitive in this area. It could be useful to take a look at our pregnancy yoga poses because these also focus on benefitting this target area.

  • Happy Baby: lying on your back, raise your legs straight above you and hold onto the soles of your feet with your hands, your knees should be slightly bent and your knees slightly pointing outwards
  • Reclining Bound Angle: lying on your back with your arms relaxed at your side, bring the soles of your feet together in a prayer position, bending your knees slightly outwards and as close to the ground as possible, use props if needed
  • Wide Angle Seated Forward Bend: sitting with your legs stretched in front of you, spread your legs as far out as comfortable, reach your toes with your hands and bend forwards to press your chest and chin against the floor
  • Frog: start on all fours with palms touching the floor, slide your knees outwards until you feel a comfortable stretch in your thighs keeping your calves on the floor, go down onto your forearms and hold
  • Square: sitting crossed-legged, place your top foot on the bottom shin and the bottom foot under the top knee, bring your bottom leg in towards your body, bend forward and stretch your arms out straight in front

This video provides some useful moves and instructions on how to perform yoga poses for hips:

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Yoga Poses for Back

Yoga is a great way to help if you are having back problems, pain or recovering from a back injury. The relaxing and calming nature of the yoga poses and yoga asanas helps the body to exercise without feeling the strain. Yoga is also said to be good to prevent any back problems in the future as it stretches the muscles and improves internal blood flow. There are different types of yoga, although kundalini yoga and yin yoga are especially good for targeting the back area.

Amongst all the yoga benefits, the following yoga poses for the back are helpful in working on the muscles and tissues that make up your lower, middle and upper back area of the body. Many people are confused on whether to take up yoga vs pilates, and as yoga focuses more on concentrated regions of muscles, it would be more ideal for back pain.

Yoga Poses for Back Pain

If you are suffering from back pain, have suffered in the past, or want to prevent any future back problems, take a look at some of the best yoga exercises for the back:

  • Two-Knee Twist: lying on your back with your arms spread out in a T-shape, bend your knees to one side, keeping your legs together and one touching the floor, repeat with the other side (1-2mins)
  • Thread the Needle: lying on your back with your legs bent in the air, make a 4 shape by keeping one leg bent and resting the ankle of the other on the thigh in the air, hold your arms through the gap in the middle clutching to your thigh (2-3mins)
  • Legs Up Wall: pressing your bum against a wall with your arms stretched out on the floow, bring your legs up the wall with your feet relaxed (5-10mins)
  • Bow: lying on your front with your legs bent at a 90 degrees angle, lift your upper body and grab your ankles with your hands, keep your head facing forwards and your toes pointing away from your body (2-3mins)
  • Dolphin: lying on your front, push your hips into the air and start walking your feet towards your body, raise your chest in the air and face inwards towards your body, rest your arms from your wrists to elbows on the floor in front of your head (3-4mins)

For a visual demonstration of yoga poses for back, view the video below:

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Yoga Poses

The main art of yoga is in the yoga poses that make up the sequences during a session. Although focusing on your mind and soul is important as well, your body is the main piece of yoga equipment needed and the vital part to your yoga journey. Yoga poses, also known as yoga asanas, are infinite. You can find several different options depending on what types of yoga you are interested in and perhaps the reason you have chosen to take up yoga for beginners or as someone experienced in the craft.

The yoga industry has become so popular and widespread throughout the world, with increasing brands for yoga clothes and the need for new and current yoga music, that people often forget about the history of yoga and how important it is to master the yoga poses themselves. It is only with practising these positions and moves that you will only truly be able to reap the yoga benefits.

Types of Yoga Poses

Whether you are recovering from an injury, feeling pain or want a way to relax, there are several different yoga postures for each reason. Some yoga positions are applicable to more than one category, while others are great for targeting specific areas of the body. Have a browse through all the different ones to find what you are looking for:

  • Yoga Poses for Back: if you have back pain, are recovering from an injury, or even for pregnancy pains, these positions should help ease the back area
  • Yoga Poses for Hips: whether you want to improve your flexibility or are in need of some pregnancy relief and preparation, take a look at the hip postures
  • Yoga Poses for Weight Loss: some positions that will help you shed a few pounds, make sure to get a routine going!
  • Yoga Poses for Kids: a fun actvity for the little ones, whether you are an instructor or want to do something new with your kdis, have a look at these yoga ideas
  • Yoga Poses for Beginners: newbie introduction poses and help for those that are just beginning with the yoga journey
  • Pregnancy Yoga Poses: advice and poses for those doing yoga while pregnant

Remember to stay safe while doing yoga, if you feel unusual movements or are uncomfortable in a position, talk to a medical professional before continuing.

 

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Yin Yoga

Yin yoga is a very unique and different type of yoga, one that began in the West rather than the East. Yoga is a great way to keep fit, it can be done as one of our serious workouts or it can be used to warm up the body and keep your flexibility imporving. Due to the different types of yoga asanas and yoga poses, it helps to build muscle strength in different manners.

If you are starting off doing yoga for beginners, don’t hesitate to use yoga equipment and different yoga props to help you achieve the correct positions. Once you have mastered the breathing techniques and body alignment of the different yoga postures, you will be sure to feel the yoga benefits and see the positive change in your body and mind.

What is yin yoga?

During yin yoga, you are encouraged to help reach your deep tissues, using passive postures and more instense relaxation methods. The yin yoga poses are usually held for long periods of time to help you reach the deeper parts of your body, this could be from 5 minutes to 20 minutes! This type of yoga is more meditative to help improve organ health and focus on emotional well being.

Yin Yoga Poses

Beacuse yin yoga postures are held for longer, there is less of a variety in which positions you can choose, although having said this there are still loads! Have a go at what you like and see which ones help your body and mind:

  • Shoelace: sitting with legs stretched out, bring one leg over the other bending the opposite leg at the same time, you should end with your toes reaching behind you beside your bum, bend over stretching your arms straight ahead of you
  • Child’s Pose: kneeling on a mat, bend forward to rest your forehead on the floor and keep your arms by your side with palms facing upwards
  • Butterfly: sitting on your bum, bring the soles of your feet together so your knees are pushed slightly up and out, bend forward grasping your feet with your hands
  • Sphinx: lying on your front with your legs stretched behind you, bend your arms so that from your wrist to your elbow you are resting on the floor, raise your chest up and keep your head facing forward

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Iyengar Yoga

This style of yoga, iyengar yoga, is just one of many types of yoga that people look for to help with building muscle strength, improving balance and relaxation. Today, there are so many varieties of yoga that you are bound to find something that suits you perfectly. Each yoga style comes with its own specific yoga benefits and yoga asanas to aid the main purpose of the exercise.

In the history of yoga, each of the different yoga poses are aimed to target parts of the body, mind and sould to give you a true workout and find inner peace. Whether you are an expert at yoga positions, or trying yoga for beginners, read up on each type before making your decision. Finding the perfect yoga for you will take some trial and error.

What is iyengar yoga?

Iyengar yoga focuses on body alignment and perfecting the yoga poses and breathing techniques. It takes extreme concentration and practice to be able to execute the iyengar poses properly, and this is how you will truly be successful in gaining body strength and flexibility. Iyengar yoga is one of the few that include yoga equipment and props as a must. The use of blocks and straps are all there to aid you in reaching your full potential and feeling the burn for the yoga moves.

Iyengar Yoga Positions

Due to its purpose for helping body alignment and strength, iyengar yoga is often suggested for injury recoveries and helping pain in target areas. Some of the folloing iyengar poses do just that:

  • Paschimottasana: with your legs stretched in front of you, bend yourself forwards so your head is sitting between your thighs, keep your legs straight, either put your arms on the floor from your palms to your elbows or hold them inwards to your thighs
  • Downward Facing Hero: kneeling on your knees with your knees facing outwards to your body, bend forward stretching your arms straight in front of you as far ahead as you can, keep your head down
  • Reclining Angle: lying on your back, bring the soles of your feet together bending your knees outwards, keep your arms relaxed out to your side, use cushions to support your back