The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Fitness for the Future

by Alexandra Edwards

With Christmas holidays now in the past, it's time to look to the future and put right all the wrongs of yesteryear.

January is a good time to take a long hard look in a full length mirror, and decide what can be done to improve the appearance of that wonderful person looking back at you. Many of us will no doubt see a tired, drab looking figure staring back wearing clothes that look just a little more snug than they did a few weeks ago.

Deciding on the right kind of diet and exercise program can be difficult. People come in all shapes and sizes, young, middle-aged and old, so diet and exercise cannot be one type fits all. What works well for one may do a great deal of  harm to another. Therefore, it is a good idea to look at all the options to find a diet and exercise to suit your own personal need.

Going to the gym to shed those extra pounds is a great idea, especially with the many fitness specials offered in January. However, some of us don't have the time or the funds to do that.

An inexpensive alternative that can be achieved in the comfort of your own home, is an instructional fitness video or DVD.

Alexandra Edwards

Whether you want to lose weight or just want to tone up those tired muscles, a wide variety of exercises are available on DVD or video costing between $10-$20.

Most forms of exercise will help you lose weight, some faster than others, but it's more important you choose one you enjoy doing and  know you will be able to stick with. 

With the new age of electronics, fitness DVD's have become much more versatile than they were several years ago.  Popular exercises from aerobics to yoga can now be played on your home VCR, DVD player, desk computer, laptop or television screen.

The following are a few of the latest in home fitness videos that will be available for the New Year.

Depending on experience, fitness videos  are often rated in levels beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Aerobic cardio exercise includes fast paced moves that raise the heart rate and range from simple marches to dance combos. Floor Aerobics require nothing but an open space in your favorite room where you won't knock into furniture or break valuable nick-knacks. 

Step Aerobics however will require a stepping platform, available in the sports section of most department stores for about $15 which often come complete with  an instructional DVD. Among some of the new floor aerobic videos is Lesley Sansone's "Walk at Home" a five mile fat burning walk.

Rated level intermediate/advanced, the indoor walking moves are said to be easy to follow. Using just four basic step marches, knee lifts, side steps and kicks, you can choose from one mile to five, each walk being different.

A fun way to burn fat is to dance off the inches to your favorite music. One of the latest in dance fitness videos is "Dance it Off  Ballroom."  Rated level beginner/intermediate, a ballroom dance professional will take the viewer through moves derived from cha-cha, samba and jive. Each dance style is taught in a separate segment giving a  lively mix of movement variations to lots of foot moving music with solid beat. The DVD includes an 18 minute dance step tutorial.

Exercises of the martial arts do not only teach self discipline and self defense, they are also an excellent way to shed pounds and trim up. Karate, tae-bo, tai-chi and kick-boxing are among some of the most popular fitness DVD's.

Kick-boxing is said to burn fat, build lean muscle and boost your sense of empowerment. Martial arts expert, Ilaria Montagnani, demonstrates in her new intermediate level video "Ilaria's PowerStrike 5," several punch-kick combinations that smoothly build in variety and complexity.

Those seeking a less strenuous workout may opt for one of the slower paced, stretching exercises like pilates or yoga. Exhale "Core-Fusion Pilates Plus"  is  a new total body toning DVD offering calm, low key instruction in an intimate spa-like setting.  Featuring a fusion of pilates, yoga, and athletic-style stretches with strong emphasis on body control and mindful movement, the five 10-minute segments demonstrate several exercises each working on different parts of the body.  Level options are available. A pilates mat is all that is required for this exercise program.

After the stress of the holiday preparations, not only the body but also the mind may  need a good workout. Yoga is a good choice for those who need to tone up and chill out. A good pick for those new to yoga would be "10-Minute Solution Yoga for Beginners." With the  promise of being easy to learn and easy to do, this workout is separated into five 10-minute segments that can be programmed to play in any order.

The DVD  features a mix of yoga and fitness-style moves with each segment emphasizing a specific goal; balance/flexibility, strength/toning, revitalization, core strength and stress relief.

Just when we thought we were up to date with the latest in technology for  home exercising, Nintendo came out last year with a new "Wii Fit" game which is becoming increasingly popular. No longer are computer games just for the idle couch potato. 

Wii Fit is an interactive game that includes a balance board that responds to each player's weight and movement. Built in sensors track the body movements of the player to control their avatar on your TV screen. Based on height, age and weight, the body mass index (BMI) is used as the key metric to monitor the player's progress. The system acts as a personal trainer offering verbal and visual feedback, both encouragement and criticism.

Wii Fit has a list of fourty activities and games that are organized into four main categories: strength training, aerobics, balance games and yoga.

Using the balance board the aerobics set offers simple dance step routines, boxing workouts, hula hoop, and even light jogging through a virtual countryside circuit. The on-screen avatar is said to make learning the classic forms of  yoga look simple as it teaches the movements and lets you know how steady or unsteady you actually are. The Wii Fit game actually allows the player to monitor their progress daily, weekly, or monthly by using easy to comprehend graphs and charts displayed on your TV screen.

Exercising in the comfort of your own home, at your own pace, during your own time is easier now than ever.

Whether choosing an old fashioned video tape, DVD or a new game console, a regular routine of  fitness exercise of any form, will help to keep you feeling and looking healthier throughout the year.

Have a happy, healthy and safe New Year!