CrossFit: Is it worth the risk?

CrossFit, a type of exercise that has quickly grown in popularity over the past year, has many followers but some people in the health and fitness community are not too sure that it is something to get excited about.

CrossFit is an exercise program that trains people in key areas such as strength, flexibility and agility.  With an emphasis on shorter, high-intensity exercise, supporters of CrossFit say it’s a fun and efficient way to become healthier and in shape.

Not unlike many other workout regimes, CrossFit does not come without its critics.  Daniel Herrle, a 24-year-old Exercise and Wellness student at Arizona State University, said human beings are not wired for that type of exercise.

“If you put that much stress on your tendons on a regular basis there is a chance that you could get seriously injured,” said Herrle.  “You could even separate your shoulder and in some cases rip tendons right off the bone.”

Ed Celaya, a physical trainer at LA Fitness, said CrossFit exercises are meant for people that are already in above-average shape.

“It is a way of pushing your body to its limits by using resistance training, weight training and cardiovascular exercises all in one,” Celaya said.  “The average person shouldn’t use CrossFit as a beginning point toward achieving weight loss or mass gaining goals if they are not already in shape for it.”

In the article, Crossfit: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, you can find an outline of CrossFit’s pros and cons to decide if you think it’s worth the risk.

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But I can’t afford a gym membership!

As a college student, your funds for anything other than food, gas and textbooks are excruciatingly low.  More often than not I hear people saying, “I’d love to workout but I can’t afford a gym membership!”  Well, I’m about to ruin that excuse for you.  There are ways that you can fit in physical activity throughout your day and still stay in your budget.  Following are a few ideas to get you moving. Continue reading

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Finding Friends in all the Right Places

A certain camaraderie can emerge from taking a a beginner’s exercise class with other people that have don’t have any experience either.  As I shyly crept into my first Tai Chi Chuan class, I tentatively looked around, wondering how much embarrassment I had signed myself up for.  But, as I looked around I began to see that everyone seemed a little nervous or anxious.  Sure enough, the first day was full of silence.

As the days went by, the moments before the teacher came in became a little louder and less awkward. People began to sit in the same circles.  First talking about class and then later talking about other areas of life–what they studied, what they did last weekend, and whether they wanted to go out for dinner after class.  As we got more comfortable around each other, our skills in Tai Chi seemed to get better as well.

Beginner Tai Chi Chuan Class performing choreography

This shouldn’t come as a surprise when we actually look at the science of it all.  As explained in this Ehow article, when we exercise our brain releases “feel good” chemicals called endorphins which make us feel happier and give us a greater sense of well-being.  Many would probably argue that we have the same chances of building these type of friendships in regular academic classes.  I would disagree.  Although you are also gaining new knowledge in school, I think it’s different when you’re learning a new skill when exercising.

What do you think?  Is it easier to forge friendships with people in a beginner’s class?

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The Cure to College Anxiety

Research papers, group projects, finals.  These are all words that are constantly buzzing around in the average student’s head.  As a student myself, I know all too well the dreaded feeling of having too much on my plate and feeling like there is no chance in the world that I’m going to be able to deal with it.

Having a stressful moment myself.

Until recently, I realized there is such a cure to that unsettling anxiety feeling–working out and being healthy.

Among all the different forms of exercising, I stumbled upon a workout that’s sole purpose is to reduce stress and improve inner energy.  Tai Chi Chuan.

Taught by an elderly Chinese woman in her 70s, who seems to double as a motivational speaker to her students, I slowly learned the movements of the ancient art of Tai Chi.  The instructor had an inner calm about her that any stressed out 20-something would be envious of.  She also seemed happy, truly happy.

A mixture of deep breathing, meditating, and slow flowing movements compose the class.  Often referred to as “meditation in motion,” there are more than 100 different positions and movements available to explore in Tai Chi.  This livestrong tai chi website includes many tips and advice on how to properly practice tai chi and it’s benefits.

Try something new.  If not to reduce stress, do it to add something different and rejuvenating to your lifestyle.

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