Crossroads Fitness Blog

Crossroads Fitness Blog

Yoga combines peace, power and positivity

September 28, 2021

Yoga is all about learning to balance life with calmness and positive thinking.

Yoga means to join or yoke together the body and mind in one experience. Yoga dates back over 5,000 years and combines three main areas: breathing, exercise and meditation.

Breathing techniques are taught on the concept breathing is the source of life in your body. Exercises are designed to put pressure on glandular systems and promote health and well-being. By meditating, participants learn to quiet their minds and heal from the stress of life.

There are more than 100 different schools of yoga. The most common type — and the one most people recognize — is Hatha yoga. This is an easy to learn form of yoga that combines physical movements and postures with breathing techniques.

Bikram yoga focuses on muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular flexibility and weight loss.   This type of yoga is performed in a 95-degree to 105-degree environment. This promotes flexibility, detoxification and prevention of injuries. Warm yoga is similar, but not so extreme in temperature.

Power yoga combines stretching, strength training and meditative breathing. Many of the poses resemble such basic calisthenics as pushups, handstands and side bends. The pace of this type of yoga is much faster. Each move flows into the next without pausing.

Although there are many more forms of yoga, these examples Quick read more or view full article give you an idea of what’s available. Many instructors incorporate different forms of yoga into one class.

Most adults with varying degrees of abilities can practice yoga. Some advanced classes aren’t suitable for people with physical limitations from injuries or pregnant women. Always consult with your doctor before engaging in an exercise program.

However, special classes incorporate yoga into workouts with modifications. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, and always listen to your body.

When taking your first yoga class, expect to enter a dim room with soft music playing. You should wear comfortable clothing. You don’t need special shoes. Most people are barefoot. You’ll have a mat and such props as bands, blocks and blankets. Your instructor will tell you how and when to use these.     

At the end of each yoga class, most teachers bring their hands together in front of the heart, bow their head and say “namaste.” Students bring their hands together and respond. Namaste means “I bow to you.”

Yoga offers numerous benefits, including improved breathing, flexibility and posture. Some people might believe they’re too old or unfit for yoga. In truth, you’re never too old to improve flexibility.

Yoga stretches not only your muscles, but also the soft tissues of your body, including ligaments and tendons. Nearly all yoga poses build strength in the abdominal muscles. With stronger core strength comes better posture. You’ll also become more aware of your posture in daily activities.

Most forms of yoga concentrate on breathing.  Learning to deepen or lengthen your breath will stimulate relaxation. In addition, yoga improves concentration and mood.

If you’re already a yogi, you understand this. If you’re not, try a few yoga classes for a couple weeks and see if you experience the amazing benefits you can attain from this form of exercise. Namaste.

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No excuses: Seek solutions and get moving

August 25, 2021

When there’s something we don’t really want to do, we make excuses. Sometimes our excuses are quite creative.

“I don’t know how to exercise.” This common fitness excuse is actually valid. Sure, we all know getting off the couch to do something physical and get our bodies moving is exercise — to a point. A brisk walk or gardening could be considered exercise, for example. Not knowing what to do at a health club could be different, however. Weight machines, new technology cardio equipment and group exercise could require some instruction. Solution: Many of the new exercise machines come with instructions and diagrams to help you get started. Crossroads Fitness offers a getting started program to teach the fundamentals — everything from basic knowledge of exercise machines to measuring your heart rate.

“I’ve tried exercise, and I keep quitting.” If this applies to you, maybe you haven’t found an exercise you love. Variety spices life. We all get bored doing the same things and not experiencing results. Solution: Try different activities. Group exercise classes offer a fun way to exercise. The group atmosphere is motivating. Once you find the right exercise, you’ll be excited and much more apt to go do it.

“I don’t have time.” This one is Quick read more or view full article a classic. When we don’t take time to care for our health, we could lose it. Everyone is busy — from stay-at-home moms to business executives. Yet, we all have 24 hours in a day to make sure we take time for ourselves. Solution: Schedule exercise as an appointment you can’t miss. Even if you can’t get in a full 30 minutes, some exercise is better than none.

“I don’t want to get hurt.”  Exercise doesn’t have to hurt. Solution: Start slowly in an exercise program and build up. Participate in a getting started program or hire a personal trainer to not only get you started on the right foot, but also teach you proper form.

“I have kids.” Having a family and young ones at home can make going to the gym more difficult. Solution:  Crossroads Fitness offers a kid’s club. Little ones from age 6 weeks to 12 years can come with you when you exercise. They’re not only cared for, but also enjoy a chance to play and socialize You won’t have to feel guilty while they’re having fun.

“I’ll lose weight and then join a health club.” While health clubs might seem intimidating, maybe you just haven’t found the right one. Solution: Find a place that fits your personality, location and personal goals. Since you’ll likely be going to a health club numerous times a week, you’ll want to find a place where you feel comfortable. Everyone there started at the beginning of their own fitness journeys. People of every age, size and shape will be there to welcome you.

Whatever your excuse is or has been, there’s a solution. So stop making excuses and get moving.

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Five tips to beat the summer heat and stay fit

June 29, 2021
We wait all year, it seems, for summer to arrive. Now it’s finally here.

When most of us think of summer, we think about outdoor fun, vacations and a chance to kick back. Summer offers many opportunities to stay active. Beware, though: Changes in schedules present challenges in keeping your fitness routine on track.  So what can you do to have the most active, productive and fun-filled summer ever?

Warm weather provides many opportunities for enjoying outdoor activities. Take the family camping, fishing or hiking. Work in your garden. Enjoy a baseball game. Part of summer fun and fulfillment is enjoying the outdoors and the people you’re with.    

During the summer months, your normal schedule could be altered whether through work or having children at home. Those changes can affect daily routines, including exercise schedules.

Here are a few tips to avoid sabotaging yourself this summer:

Set a summer goal. It’s almost mid-year. Ask yourself how you’ve done so far this year on your New Year’s resolutions. You might have succeeded in some areas, but not others. You could need to re-evaluate your goals to make them more realistic and attainable. Maybe you didn’t set goals. This is a great time to start. Try setting a different goal. What will that goal look like?  It might be trying a new sport, learning to swim or visiting a national park.

Stick to a schedule. Make sure your summer days include some structure — Quick read more or view full article like getting up at the same time each day and eating meals at set times. Plan activities for specific times — exercising before breakfast, for example.

Stay busy. Without your appointment book filled, it could be easy to fall into a trap of becoming bored. Boredom goes hand in hand with low energy. Filling your days with stuff to do will give you a sense of accomplishment. For many of us, summer still means going to work each day. But with more daylight hours, you don’t have to miss out. Whether you’re taking a vacation or just a weekend, include activities the family already enjoys as well as something new.   

Manage the heat. Although warmer weather is appreciated, hot days can seem unbearable. During these times, move your activities elsewhere. Exercise at the gym, splash in a pool or go bowling. When you find yourself outdoors during scorching temperatures, remember to stay safe. Wear sunscreen or a long-sleeve shirt to protect your skin from harmful rays. Don’t forget the sunglasses and hat, too. Clothing that wicks moisture away from your skin as you perspire keeps you cooler. One of the most important items to keep you safe is water. Stay hydrated.

Eat healthy. This seems like an easy thing to do with all the fresh vegetables and fruits available. Beware of some of the foods associated with summer events, though. Backyard barbecues, campfire s’mores and ice cream treats can ruin the best laid plans of staying fit through the summer. You can still enjoy treats, but keep them occasional.

Make summer a time to enjoy. Write down your summer goal and work toward realizing that goal. Make the most of every day, and you’ll make this summer your best ever. Read Less
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Think ahead to keep vacations fitness-friendly

May 26, 2021

Vacations, long car trips and busy schedules can disrupt our fitness routines. Whether traveling by car or plane, staying in hotels or with family, you can keep fitness a part of each day. Here are a few tips to help make your vacations more fitness-friendly.

Sitting in a car for a few or many hours a day traveling to that great vacation destination can make you feel tired and stiff. Moreover, car trips are notorious for combining little physical activity with eating the wrong foods. Pull off at rest stops and stretch by reaching for the sky. Take deep breaths. Spend a few moments walking around and seeing the sights. Stretching every few hours will make you feel less worn. Here’s a game you can play when traveling with your family. At each stop, a different person gets to name the activity. It might be jumping jacks or running around the car. It can be as simple as racing each other to the “facilities.” Meanwhile, consider packing a small cooler with nutritious snacks.

At times, airline travel can have you calling the airport your new home. Why not pack gym shoes in your carry-on? You’ve seen the moving walkways. Don’t use them if time allows. There are places to walk and climb stairs in most airports. When it comes to having a Quick read more or view full article snack or meal, remember many food vendors offer nutritious choices. Consuming fewer calories while being less active is an important part of not gaining those extra vacation pounds. Pack some healthy treats in your purse or backpack. Dried fruit, nuts and water offer good choices.

Many hotels and resorts offer fitness centers. While your choices could be limited, remember any movement is better than nothing. Combine cardiovascular exercise — a treadmill or elliptical trainer — with strength training.

If your accommodations don’t include a fitness area, that doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. Plan ahead. Pack some resistance bands. They can be purchased at many health clubs, local retailers or online. Resistance bands come in different colors and widths. These differences reflect the amount of stretch they allow for more or less resistance. Try them out to see which ones work for you. Wrap your bands around a bed post or door knob. You can also use resistance bands by using your foot to step on the middle of the band for an arm workout, for example.

You can’t exactly pack weights in your suitcase, so try filling disposable water bottles with water for a lightweight workout. Be creative. Many exercises can be done on the floor with nothing but your own body weight for resistance. Pushups, for example, offer a great upper body strength exercise and don’t require anything but you to perform. Situps, leg lifts and arm circles are just a few exercises that can be performed without equipment.

Cardiovascular exercise remains important when traveling. Many vacations involve sightseeing. Don’t underestimate the power of walking. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes, bring water and wear sunscreen. You’ll get more heart-healthy exercise just by taking the stairs whenever possible.

By thinking ahead, you’ll keep your workout routine on schedule. No matter the mode of travel or destination, you still can exercise and eat right on vacation. Remember, too, it’s a vacation. Enjoy.

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Variety not only spices, but also improves, fitness

April 27, 2021

Variety is the spice of life. There’s some truth to the statement. You get stuck in your daily routine and complete many tasks without thinking about them. You eat at the same time, go to work at the same time and take out the garbage on the same day.

Think about your fitness routine. Are you doing the same exercises, going to the same class, walking on the same treadmill or lifting the same weight for every workout?  Maybe it’s time to change that routine.

Adding a little spice could turn what’s become a boring fitness routine into something more exciting and motivating.   Sometimes you hear the words “change” or “different” and associate them with “new” and “uncomfortable.” As creatures of habit, it’s okay to like your comfort zone with its familiar surroundings, people and activities.

Although doing exactly the same thing over and over might be comforting, it also could have drawbacks. Without variety, things can get pretty boring. It’s important to spice it up a bit.

Consider, for example, cross training. Cross training is simply combining two or more types of physical activities and offers one way to create the change you might need.

There are numerous benefits to adding cross training to your fitness routine. First and foremost is motivation. Keeping interested and motivated to exercise is an important piece. If Quick read more or view full article you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it.

Cross training can help you burn more calories by exercising regularly and using different muscle groups. You reduce the risk of injury by doing a variety of exercises — performing a high-impact sport like running one day followed by a yoga or Pilates class the next day, for example.

It’s simple to create a varied exercise program. Plan a complete workout that includes the three areas of physical activity: cardiovascular, strength and flexibility. Under each area, write down activities you like to do or would like to try. Some activities fit under more than one area.

Cardiovascular activities include jumping rope, riding a bike, running and walking the dog. Activities that build strength include everything from lifting weights and push-ups to yard work. Activities that promote flexibility include stretching and yoga.

Changing a routine can be beneficial in not only reducing boredom, but also increasing fitness. Our bodies are adaptive and grow accustomed to an exercise.
It becomes difficult to make changes in our bodies once they’ve adapted to a specific fitness routine. Because of this adaptive nature, it’s important to keep our bodies guessing by mixing up the exercises we perform.

How do you change your workouts? Try something new. Often times we get our minds set on what we think we can do instead of what we really could do if we tried.
If there’s a favorite exercise machine you use often and don’t want to give up, try changing the intensity, speed or grade. By gradually changing how hard you work, you’ll keep your workout challenging. Remember, though: When changing up your workout routine, don’t hesitate to ask for help.

Once you choose your activities, schedule them. Allow for variety and flexibility. Experiment with different activities to find out what really interests you.

Continue to enjoy your favorite activities, but challenge yourself to try something new. Spice it up.

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