Most Americans are under orders to stay at home. Though they are allowed to go out just to exercise, gyms and other facilities where people can work out are closed. That should not discourage people who want to stay or get in shape because, as research has found, walking is often just as beneficial a workout.
It’s easy to forget that walking is actually an aerobic activity. After all, about 7 billion people do it every day. It’s low-impact, simple, natural, accessible, and has many health benefits.
A study from the University of Utah showed that the body may actually be made to walk. Walking is physically easier on the body, but the body still requires to take in more oxygen than in sedentary mode, providing the same benefits as running.
Not even a third of American adults exercise on a regular basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just about 23% meet the federal guidelines for aerobic activity and strength training. But people in some places are less active than others — these are the 50 laziest cities in America.
The rule of thumb is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week, according to the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Breaking the numbers down, that’s 30 minutes five days a week. This sounds like a small price to pay if you want to significantly improve both your physical and mental health.
Start in mountain pose, back to back, a few inches away from your partner. Inhale together raising your arms up to the sky, then on your exhale hinge at the hips and fold forward, lifting your sitting bones upward and resting your chest on your thighs. You can hold hands or elbows with your partner and definitely exchange upside down smiles. Stay here for a few breaths and come out of the pose with the same hinge at the hips, core engaged and a flat back.
2. Seated Twist (Ardha Matsyendrasana)
Begin in a cross-legged position seated with your backs resting against each other. On your inhale, reach your arms overhead, and exhale to twist to the right. While twisting you`ll bring your right hand to the inside of your partner’s left knee and your left hand to the outside of your right knee. Your partner will be mirroring you. You can stay in the twist for 5-7 breaths. Don`t forget to twist to both sides.
3.Seated Forward and Backbends (Paschimottanasana)
Begin in a cross-legged position seated with your backs resting against each other. One of you will fold forward and the other one will lay down comfortably on the back of the one who is folding forward. So take a big inhale, raise your arms up overhead, and on your exhale slowly fold forward, keeping your legs crossed. When you are ready to go deeper into the pose you can let your partner go ahead and lay down on your back. Your partner will stay cross-legged as well and just comfortably lay down on your back, letting her arms drop out to the side, beautifully opening her chest. Stay here for a few breaths then swap – now your partner will be folding forward and you’ll be bending backward.
4.L-Shaped Handstand (Adho Mukha Vrksasana)
In this pose, you’re both going to create an L-shape with your bodies. One of you will sit down in Staff Pose (Dandasana) and the other one will come into a supported tuck handstand. The easiest way to get into this pose is if the one in Staff pose helps to lift the leg of the one in a handstand. In both poses keep your core engaged, shoulders are strong but kept away from the ears and the most important part is to smile at each other. To come out of the pose, lower the legs of the one in a handstand, then rest in Child Pose (Balasana) for a few breaths.
5. Downward-Facing Dog (Adho Mukha Svanasana)
Start in a Downward-Facing Dog position, one in front of the other. The one in front of the other will walk her feet and hands back until she is able to step her feet up to the back of the partner’s hips and coming to a stable and comfortable position. You can hold the pose for five to seven breaths. To come out, the one in down dog should wait for the partner to walk forward with her hands and gently step off her back. Take child’s pose for a few breaths before swapping.
6. Boat Pose (Paripurna Navasana)
Sit facing each other with your knees bent and toes touching. Reach for your partner’s wrists. While holding each other, walk the soles of your feet together, drawing your knees towards the chest. Keeping the spine straight and chest open, begin to straighten the legs. When your legs are straight, hold for five to seven breaths, then come out the way you went in the pose. This is definitely a challenging pose and requires a lot of openness in the hip flexors and hamstrings so don’t worry if you can’t extend your legs, just play around, listen to your body, and enjoy the process.
7. The Dog and the Warrior
This is a super fun partner pose to try but it’s also challenging, so approach it with playfulness. One of you will start in downward dog and come into a three legged dog. The other one will stand in front and come into a reverse warrior pose. To help you both get in deeper to the stretch, you’ll reach for each other. The reverse warrior will gently pull on the three legged dog’s lifted leg for a deeper hip opening and the leg will pull on the warrior’s arm for a deeper stretch of the side body. Win-win, isn’t it? Don’t forget to do both sides and you can swap as well. To come out of the pose, the one in reverse warrior pose will let go of the foot and come into Warrior 2. You can both rest in Child Pose for a few breaths after performing this pose.
This pose is definitely one of those that looks much harder than what it actually feels like. One of you should face away from the other one who will gently come up into handstand – this way you’re facing away from each other. At the same time, both should slowly start making a hollow back shape with your backs, with the standing partner reaching for the feet of the one in a handstand. Make sure you keep communicating through every movement to avoid getting out of balance.
9. Crow on Pigeon (Bakāsana on Eka Pada Rajakapotasana)
This is quite an advanced variation so try this pose if one of you has a solid arm balance practice and the other one can go deep into Sleeping Pigeon pose. I cannot put enough emphasis on the importance of warming up – do put this on the list of poses to try after taking a class or doing a long warm up! What’s challenging about this pose for the one in Crow is to balance on a wobbly surface and to be able to lift the knees as high towards the armpit as possible – with the hands on a raised platform. Super fun to play around with, but definitely approach this one with a sense of humour.
10. Supported Scorpion Pose (Vrishchikasana)
If you are working on your handstands and/or your scorpion pose, you’ll love this one. It is the perfect balance between being challenged yet supported. Your partner will be in down dog and you’ll have your hands behind hers – with your body on her back. Slowly start lifting your legs and bending them behind you. You will feel supported by her back but you’ll be challenged to hold your body’s weight on your arms and go deeper into this deep backbend. Try to come out as gracefully as you went in, share some laughs and rest in Child Pose.https://bookretreats.com/blog/yoga-poses-for-two-people/
1. The Twin Trees
This is a balance pose that helps you and your partner improve focus and at the same time being a moderate hip opener.
Here’s how to do it:
Begin by standing next to each other, but a few feet apart while you are facing the same direction.
Then, bring your palms towards each other so your arms will form a “T” shape. This means you are drawing your palms and elbows together in a shape of a cactus.
Now, start shifting your weight onto your right foot and let your partner shift her weight onto her left foot.
Draw your opposite leg into a tree pose. You can do this bending your knee and bringing your foot to the inner thigh, calf, or ankle of the standing leg.
Keep your balance for at least 5 to 7 breaths before you release and turn around facing the opposite direction and start repeating the pose on your opposite side.
2. The Partner Forward-Fold
This pose just feels so good as it opens your hamstrings and calms the nervous system.
Here’s how to do it:
Start with a seated position and then face each other. Now extend your legs out to form a wide shape of “V”. Your kneecaps should be facing straight up while the soles of your feet should touch.
Now, extend your arms toward each other and hold the opposite palm to the forearm.
Breathe in as you lengthen up through your spine
Breathe out as you forward from your hips while your partner is sitting back, keeping her arms and spine straight
While you are relaxing into this pose, let yourself soften into it. Stay in this pose for about 5 to 7 breaths
Come out of this pose by releasing each other’s arms and bringing your torsos upright. You can do this again in the opposite direction, this time bring your partner into the Forward Fold pose.
3. The Partner Twist
This pose is an effective way to cleanse your body and also help in the detoxifying process. This pose is an enjoyable way to initiate playfulness with your partner.
Here’s how to do it:
You can start in a seated position with your legs crossed and your backs are resting against each other
Breathe in as you reach your arms overhead
Breathe out and start twisting your body to the right, bring your right hand to the inside of your partner’s left knee while your left hand to the outside of your right thigh or knee. Your partner should do the same movement.
Hold this position for about 3 to 5 breaths and then do it again on your opposite side.
4. The Buddy Boat
If you and your partner are both energetic, you will love this yoga pose. It is actually very playful that it encourages laughter, but the best thing is that it will gently work your core.
Here’s how to do it:
Look for a seating position that you find comfortable. Face each other while your knees bent and your toes touching. Then start reaching for your partner’s wrist.
Now, start walking your soles of feet together then draw your knees into your chest.
Make sure that you are keeping your spine straight while your chest opens then start to straighten your legs. I know this can be challenging but just try to stay playful as you are straightening your leg one at a time.
Hold this position for about 5 to 7 breaths.
5. The Back-to-Back Chair
This yoga pose is not only a brilliant, exciting bonding but it is also a good way to strengthen your quads and improve your posture.
Here’s how to do it:
Stand with your backs touching while your elbows are linked. Try to feel and keep up with the breath of your partner.
Then, press against each other’s back as you walk your feet forward. Make sure you keep your lower back as well as spine touching your partner’s as you try to go down for a sitting position (take note that this should not be lower than 90 degrees).
Hold this pose for at least 2 to 3 breaths then gradually go back to standing by carefully rising. If you want some added strengthening challenge, try to lower yourself repeatedly.
If you are looking for the best way to heighten your individual yoga practice, and at the same time take your relationship with someone else into another level, you should consider these partner yoga poses.
This is a really great way to improve and cultivate both physical and emotional support in a relationship. It’s also an opportunity to be open and develop full faith in each other. What are you waiting for? Grab a friend or a loved one and roll out your mats. See what happens!
According to a new study published in the journal Depression & Anxiety, those who are generally more physically active are about 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression.
Regularly exercising 35 to 45 minutes per day—even if depression runs in your family—can notably benefit your mental health.
While exercise may alleviate depression symptoms for some people—or even prevent them from occurring—talk with a doctor about treatment options if you are experiencing signs of depression or know you have a high risk.
If you have close relatives with chronic depression, your odds of developing the condition are about two to one. But that doesn’t mean it’s inevitable, especially if you’re establishing lifestyle habits that can help. Most notably, exercise can be a boon, new research suggests. Best of all, it doesn’t take much extra activity to lower your risk.
Using data from nearly 8,000 participants in the Partners Healthcare Biobank—a long-term research project that collects genetic and health information—researchers looked at two years of lifestyle habits, including physical activity and diagnoses related to depression, in a study published in the journal Depression & Anxiety.
They also calculated genetic risk scores for each participant, and found that those with higher genetic links to depression were more likely to be diagnosed with depression within the study timeframe.
However, those who were more physically active were 20 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression at the end of the two-year period. Those with the least amount of activity—about a half hour to an hour per week of exercise—had the highest levels of depression. But just a few more hours per week—an average of three hours, or around 35 to 45 minutes per day—saw considerable decreases in depression risk, and the more activity was reported, the lower those risks became.
All forms of activity—both high intensity and low intensity—counted as well, including running, other forms of aerobic exercise, strength training, dance, yoga, and stretching. This was true even after adjusting for factors such as prior depression, education, and employment status.
“Our findings suggest that when it comes to depression, genes are not destiny, and that being physically active has the potential to neutralize the added risk of future episodes in individuals who are genetically vulnerable,” lead study author Karmel Choi, Ph.D., clinical fellow in psychiatry at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital, told Runner’s World. She said that even without a genetic link, exercise could be protective for reducing depression risk.
The work of Choi and her colleagues adds to similar research—studies like this one, this one, and this one—that connects exercise to both prevention of depression and management of the condition.
[From training tips, to fueling strategies, to improving the mind-body connection, the Runner’s World 2020 Calendar will help you run your best all year long.]
In terms of why exercise is so effective, Choi said previous research suggests physical activity creates a number of benefits that affect brain health and emotional regulation, for example, by reducing inflammation, increasing positive hormones such as endorphins and dopamine, and improving sleep.
Keep in mind that while exercise may alleviate depression symptoms for some people—or even prevent onset to some degree—it’s not a mental-health panacea, and results may vary. If you have high risk of depression or are experiencing signs of the condition—such as ongoing lack of energy, sadness, anger, anxiety, or insomnia—talk with a doctor about treatment options.
1.Ride it out. So the idea of wiping out on black ice or feeling the cold breeze freeze your face while bike riding isn’t appealing? Spin class might be for you. These intense indoor cycling classes can burn up to hundreds of calories and keep bones strongTrusted Source. Interval-based rides will also strengthen the butt, thighs, calves, and even the core. No helmet necessary.ADVERTISING
2.Lap it up. It’s never too early to dig up that swimsuit. Head to your gym or community center’s indoor pool to get in a few solid swims before summer hits. This low-impact exercise lets athletes exercise longer without excess muscle strain, and might even beat yoga when it comes to improving breathing techniqueTrusted SourceTrusted Source. Bonus: An improved mood, and a leaner physique to bootTrusted Source.
3.Resistance train. No need to venture outside — a gym isn’t required for these 50 bodyweight exercises, guaranteed to improve strength and endurance with just body resistance alone. Try this 30-minute workout, complete with high-intensity supersets, to get a heart-pumping resistance workout without any dumbbells, machines, or plates.
4.Hit a wall. An indoor rock climbing wall, that is. This non-traditional cardio workout really hits the mark for those who want to exercise their mental strength (what happens to my legs if my arms go here?). But it’s about physical prowess as well — scaling indoor walls will increase heart rates and torch up to 650 calories per hourTrusted Source. Not only does it work the arm muscles, it activates the legs, back, and shoulders as well. Cue the bragging rights once you’ve reach the top!
5.Lace up. Ice skating isn’t just for kids. If it’s too cold for outdoor skating to be fun, head to your local indoor rink to carve up the ice. Aside from being super fun, skating tones the legs, core, and butt, along with smaller, stabilizing muscles that assist with balance and coordination. At a moderate pace, ice skating also burns about 500 calories per hour (and that’s not counting those bonus points for jumps and spins!).
6.Just dance. Though barre-based workouts hit the States in the 70s, it wasn’t until the past few years that they skyrocketed in popularity — and with good reason. The ballet-inspired moves combine elements of yoga, Pilates, and weight training to lengthen and tone muscles. And guys, don’t be shy. While the moves generally use just bodyweight and the barre, you’ll be surprised at just how challenging the classes can be. No studios nearby? DVDs like Physique 57 Classic 56 Minute Full Body Workout or The Bar Method’s Change Your Body Workout can be great at-home alternatives (just substitute a chair for the barre).
7.Drop and give us 10. Still looking to kick-start those fitness goals? A boot camp workout might be the right fit. Inspired by military training, these booty-busting sessions combine strength training moves with high-intensity cardio to deliver a serious full-body workout. While many boot camps are conducted at local parks or track fields, many have indoor options, particularly in the winter. Before committing to a longer series, consider test-driving a boot camp-inspired class at your local gym or community center first.
8.Get your gloves up. Make like Rocky and get to a kick-butt boxing class. A few rounds in the ring provide a full-body workout as you duck, block, and throw punches. And because the moves focus on cardio and conditioning to keep stamina up in the ring, you’ll tone muscles rather than bulking up. The winning card: Technique is more important than experience, so it’s OK to be a newbie.
9.Zen out. Give your mind and body a workout with yoga. Believed to reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue, yoga also improves strength and flexibility through a variety of asanas (or poses). It’s also an ideal indoor cross-training activity for more cardio-intense activities like running. From Vinyasa flow to hot and sweaty Bikram yoga, there’s a style to suit just about anyone’s needs and interests.
10.Slow your roll. Combining martial arts moves with slow motions and deep breathing techniques, tai chi is a low-impact exercise with its roots in ancient China. According to Chinese philosophy, tai chi helps balance yin and yang, opposing forces that need to be kept in check. Lucky for us, it has also been found to improve cardiovascular health, reduce stress and anxiety, and improve balance. Get started at a class to learn proper forms before continuing practice on your own.
11.Carve the core. If you want to define your core and increase flexibility, strength training through Pilates is a great option. The moves, which can be modified to fit any fitness level, are designed to condition the body (with an emphasis on the core) and improve balance. Feeling a little more adventurous? Take your Pilates mat skills to the Reformer, a machine that will really put that strength, balance, and coordination to the test.
12.Jump on it. Unleash the kid in you and hop to the nearest trampoline. This bouncy childhood favorite is the latest fitness craze, and not just because it’s super fun. Just six minutes of cardio moves on a trampoline is the equivalent to running, oh, about a mile. And thanks to the trampoline’s low-impact cushioning, joints are protected as you jump up and down. Try a local trampoline class or visit a trampoline park like Sky Zone to bust a move.
13.Dodge balls. As in, play a game of dodgeball. A gym class favorite, the game is a fun way to get moving with a group of friends. It’s not all fun and games, though. Dodgeball delivers a surprisinglygood cardio workout, moving in all planes of motion as you duck and fly over your opponent’s strikes. After a few vigorous games, you might find yourself more sore than expected — hopefully not from a ball to the forehead (ouch!).
14.Get fast and furious. If you haven’t tried plyometrics, get ready for an intense workout with seemingly simple moves. Plyometrics workouts incorporate explosive movements like tuck jumps, jumping jacks, and single-leg hops to improve cardio endurance and strengthTrusted SourceTrusted Source. Just remember: Our bodies adapt to challenging workouts faster than you’d think, so be sure to keep switching up that plyo routine. For a great at-home option, check out the Insanity Workouts.
15.Shoot hoops. No need to wait until summer to make like Mike (or LeBron, that is). Engaging in a friendly (or not-so-friendly) game of indoor hoops can burn more than 600 calories per hour. Running full-court can also improve your athletic endurance, not to mention balance and coordination as you play hard D and put up some shots. And while a full-on 5 v. 5 game is always fun, you only need one other person to get the stakes up (and earn those bragging rights). What’s not to love?
16.Soc-it to me. Don’t relegate soccer to a warmer weather-only sport. When it’s too cold to get outdoors, indoor soccer is a solid option for kicking out your frustrations and working up a sweat. And the benefits are worth it: Soccer means crazy good cardio, plus some sneaky core work with every pass, shot, and corner kick. Studies show the world’s favorite sport can also improve oxygen uptake (a measure of cardiovascular fitness) in adult athletes, and help with balance, too. Score!
17.Kick it up a notch. It’s a full body workout, a stress reducer, a self-defense class, and flexibility workshop. No, folks, this isn’t a magic pill. It’s the power of kickboxing. Combining karate-style kicking with boxing punches, kickboxing takes the best of both worlds to give your upper and lower body a kick-ass workout. It burns about 750 calories an hour, and the emphasis on core movements will help tone the body as well. And if you’re ever in a situation where you need to throw a punch or two, kickboxing’s got you covered.
18. Start swinging. Who knew swinging cast iron could reap such huge benefits in so little time? If you want to combine strength training and cardio workouts into one effective, calorie-blasting workout, pick up a set of kettlebells. One recent study found that, in a 20-minute workout, participants were burning about 20 calories per minute — the equivalent of running a 6-minute mile pace. Ready to get saved by the bell? Check out these 22 kick-ass exercises to get started.
19.Row it out. Turns out those rowers at the gym are onto something. Each rowing stroke can be broken down into a leg press, a dead lift, and a row (how’s that for a full-body workout?). And though you’re stationary, since all the muscles are working at once, that heart rate shoots up just as fast. Not up for rowing solo? Rowing classes can torch up to 1,200 calories in just one hour-long session. Plus, the resistance is created by how hard you push or pull, so the intensity level is up to you.
20. Get some hang time. Lifting weights is hard work. But using your own bodyweight to perform challenging moves, all while suspended from different angles? Welcome to TRX. A favorite among Navy SEALs, the portable suspension trainer works the whole body, including the core, and does it all while you fight against gravity.Exercises can be modified depending on your fitness level, making it a worthwhile investment no matter what your fitness level is. If you’re not ready to purchase your own system, check out local gyms for TRX classes and trainers.
This article was read and approved by Greatist Experts Ilen Bell and Noam Tamir.
What’s been your favorite indoor workout this winter? And what are you stoked to try? Tell us in the comments below, or tweet the author directly at @Kissie326.
How to live longer: The simple exercise shown to extend your lifespan
How to live longer: Research suggests increasing walking pace may boost longevity (Image: Getty Images)
HOW TO live longer: A long and fulfilling life is largely contingent on the choices people make along the way. How regularly someone exercises is a useful barometer of how healthy they are, but the best type of exercise is a contested subject. A new study reveals a surprising finding.
Ample evidence shows that regular exercise is a surefire way to boost longevity, because it lowers the risk of developing a wide range of deadly conditions.
Cardiovascular disease is one of the greatest threats to longevity, for example, but it can largely be prevented by maintaining high fitness levels and following a healthy diet.
While numerous studies demonstrate the health benefits of exercise in general or focus on specific groups of exercise, there is a growing field of research that is shedding a light on the specific forms of exercise that will extend longevity.
One of those studies, published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, makes the case for speeding up your walking pace.
The study found that walking at an average pace was found to be associated with a 20 percent risk reduction for all-cause mortality compared with walking at a slow pace, while walking at a brisk or fast pace was associated with a risk reduction of 24 percent.
A similar result was found for risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, with a reduction of 24 percent walking at an average pace and 21 percent walking at a brisk or fast pace, compared to walking at a slow pace.
Interestingly, the health benefits were most pronounced in older age groups, with average paced walkers aged 60 years or over experiencing a 46 percent reduction in risk of death from cardiovascular causes, and fast paced walkers a 53 percent reduction.
A fast pace is generally five to seven kilometres per hour, but it really depends on a walker’s fitness levels; an alternative indicator is to walk at a pace that makes you slightly out of breath or sweaty when sustained,” said lead author Professor Emmanuel Stamatakis from the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre and School of Public Health.
The researchers sought to establish the link between walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality.
To gather the findings, the researchers pooled together and analysed mortality records with the results of 11 population-based surveys in England and Scotland between 1994 and 2008 – in which participants self-reported their walking pace – the research team then adjusted for factors such as total amount and intensity of all physical activity taken, age, sex and body mass index.
“Walking pace is associated with all-cause mortality risk, but its specific role – independent from the total physical activity a person undertakes – has received little attention until now,” Professor Stamatakis said.