By definition, isometric exercises are those in which a force is applied to a resistant object. Many programs that involve muscle strength training incorporate isometric exercises. A typical example is pushing against a brick wall. There is no actual movement here, but tension builds up in the muscles. Exercising muscles against a resistant increases its strength. Also, we must maintain a position in any one exercise for between 6 to 8 seconds. The exercise should then be repeated about 5 to 10 times, each time ensuring maximum muscular contraction.
Isometric exercises are not recommended for those with heart disease or high blood pressure. This is because isometric exercises cause the highest rise in blood pressure. Any one isometric exercise only increases muscle strength at one joint angle. To strengthen the other joint positions, we need to repeat corresponding exercises. Isometric exercises must form a part of a complete exercise program and is not recommended on its own for strength training. A notable example of a traditional isometrics exercise implement is Bullworker.
Kegel exercises are pelvic floor exercises, originally developed as a method of controlling incontinence in women following childbirth. Kegel exercise is also recommended for woman with urinary stress incontinence. Kegel exercise is named after Dr. Kegel who created the exercise. Kegel exercise is done to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, that is, the muscles that support the urethra, bladder, uterus and rectum. Strengthening these muscles improve the urethra and/or the rectal sphincter function. Before starting out on your
own, work with a doctor or a nurse who can teach you the correct technique. Be sure you are doing the exercises correctly before you start. It takes at least six to twelve weeks for a noticeable change. Regular practice is necessary.
Pilates (pronounced Pi-lah-teez) is a seventy-year-old exercise system, developed by a German immigrant, Joseph Pilates. Pilates was used primarily by dancers for deep body conditioning and injury rehabilitation. Pilates exercise strengthens the body's core (the abdominal and back muscles) by developing pelvic stability and abdominal control. These exercises improve flexibility and joint mobility, and builds strength. Pilates
equipment consists of quite a few unusual devices. Pilates exercise is low impact. Our own body weight is used as resistance, while we move through a range of motions progressively. Pilates instructors typically work with participants individually. Pilates exercise is designed according to the individual's flexibility and strength limitations. Pilates exercises are performed with a few, precise, repetitions in different levels of motion. Pilates helps develop strong muscles, a flat stomach and a strong back, and improve posture. Pilates coupled with
a cardiovascular element develops stamina and endurance.
"Yoga" is a Sanskrit word and its verbal root "yuj" means "to yoke" or "to unite". In a spiritual context, yoga stands for "training" or "unitive discipline".
The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language defines Yoga as, "a Hindu discipline aimed at training the consciousness for a state of perfect spiritual insight and tranquillity", and also as, "a system of exercises practiced as part of this discipline to promote control of the body and mind". The first definition applies to the discipline as originated in India, about five thousand years ago. In the present day, the second definition is more popular. Yoga has three major cultural branches: Hindu Yoga, Buddhist Yoga, and Jaina Yoga.
Yoga had assumed various forms in each of these branches.
When seen as a system of exercises, there are five that are most popular: Ashtanga, Bikram, Iyengar, Kundalini and Sivanada. Some styles of yoga are powerful and intense, while others are soothing and relaxing.
The focus of Ashtanga yoga is on muscular endurance and flexibility. Sweat and heavy breathing are characteristic, as it involves a series of postures that flow together to give constant movement. Those with wrist or shoulder problems should avoid this form.
Bikram Choudhary, a champion weight lifter, developed Bikram yoga. It is believed to be an effective therapy for some forms of arthritis and chronic back pain. There are a series of 13 standing and 13 sitting asanas. Bikram yoga classes are usually conducted in temperatures of 80 to 100 degrees or higher. This may prove dangerous to those who are not accustomed to this extreme heat.
The focus of Iyengar yoga is on the skeletal alignment, with static poses and props to help correct the alignment. This was developed by B.K.S. Iyengar, and is recommended for beginners and those rehabilitating an injury. Athletes practice this form to gain better balance and flexibility.
The focus of Kundalini is on higher consciousness and greater flexibility. In this form of yoga, energy is released through intense breathing patterns of varying lengths and depths. It is advisable for individuals with high blood pressure and pregnant women to avoid this type of yoga.
Sivanada is a gentle, meditative form of yoga, ideal for beginners, or those looking to relieve stress. The poses are held for longer periods of time, giving the body and mind ample of time to relax into the pose.
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