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Body Pain Comes From Weak Communication Between Muscles And Brain, And These 5 Yoga Poses Can Help

Body Pain Comes From Weak Communication Between Muscles And Brain, And These 5 Yoga Poses Can Help

We all know that stretching,[1] to some degree, helps to relieve muscle tension and tightness. However, some complain that the benefits of stretching provides only short-term, minimal relief at best, making it a waste of time and energy. In order to truly understand muscle tightness and how to reap the benefits of stretching, one must first understand the complexities of the muscle and brain connection.

Muscle tension begins with messages from the brain to contract certain fibers in your body. Chronic stress, however, leads your brain to contract muscles of your body that are not needed in order to perform particular tasks.[2] In these instances, stretching alone will only provide minimal relief for muscles.

How Stretching Impacts The Muscles

So what happens when you stretch?[3]

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New scientific revelations show that stretching is much more complex, dynamic, and fascinating than what has previously been imagined.

We now understand that increasing our flexibility has much less to do with the physical length, size, and shape of our muscle tissue, and much more to do with the part of our body that controls and moves our muscles: our brain. Stretching regularly allows us to reach our stretch “tolerance” enough times that our brain adapts to this new level of tension and informs our muscles that this new deeper range of motion is acceptable.

5 Yoga Stretches That Improve Your Mental And Physical Range Of Motion

The best way to get your muscles to relax and reap the full benefits of stretching is by learning not to send “tense” messages from your brain to your muscles, except when they are truly needed. Chronic tension sufferers will really struggle with this, especially in the beginning, as your brain has long forgotten how to turn off those chronically tense muscles.

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Practicing yoga not only produces temporary physical benefits,[4] such as increased flexibility and range of motion, muscle strength, and improved posture, it also improves sleep, lowers cortisol levels in the brain (which is produced by stress),and improves mood and mental focus.

1. Downward Facing Dog[5]

    via AllPosters

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    • Start on all fours with your hands directly under shoulders and knees under your hips.
    • Walk your hands a few inches forward and spread your fingers wide, pressing your palms into the mat.
    • Curl toes under and slowly press hips toward the ceiling, bringing your body into an inverted V, pressing shoulders away from your ears. Feet should be hip-width apart and your knees should be slightly bent.

    2. Happy Baby Pose[6]

      • Lie on your back. With an exhale, bend your knees into your belly.
      • Inhale, grip the outsides of your feet with your hands (if you have difficulty holding the feet directly with your hands, hold onto a belt looped over each sole). Open your knees slightly wider than your torso, then bring them up toward your armpits.
      • Position each ankle directly over the knee, so your shins are perpendicular to the floor. Flex through the heels.
      • Gently push your feet up into your hands (or the belts) as you pull your hands down to create a resistance.

      3. Warrior Pose[7]

        via Ekhart Yoga

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        • Stand with legs 3 to 4 feet apart, turning your right foot out 90 degrees and your left foot in slightly.
        • Bring your hands to your hips and relax your shoulders, then extend your arms out to the sides, palms down.
        • Bend your right knee by 90 degrees, keeping your knee over your ankle. Gaze out over your right hand. Hold this position for 1 minute.

        4. Mountain Pose[8]

          via Fitness Magazine

          • Stand tall with your feet together, shoulders relaxed, weight evenly distributed through your soles, and your arms at sides.
          • Take a deep breath and raise your hands overhead, palms facing each other with your arms straight.
          • Reach up toward the sky with your fingertips.

          5. Staff Pose[9]

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            via YogaBird

            • Sit on the floor with your legs together and extended in front of your torso.
            • Your sacrum and shoulder blades should touch the wall, but not your lower back or the back of your head.
            • Without hardening your belly, firm your thighs, and press them down against the floor.
            • Rotate your thighs slightly toward each other and draw your inner groins in toward the sacrum.
            • Flex your ankles, pressing out through your heels.
            • Take four deep breaths in and exhale

            According to yoga experts, the overall purpose of yoga is to create strength, awareness, and harmony in both the mind and body. When the brain and body connection is strong and in sync, chronic pain, muscle tension, and stiffness will vanish.

            Reference

            [1] Lifehack: 7 Practical Tips For Stretching
            [2] Anxiety Stress Centre: Do You Get Tensed Just Thinking about Relaxing
            [3] Yoga Dork: Stretching Is In Your Brain: A New Paradigm of Flexibility and Yoga (PART 1)
            [4] Yoga Journal: 38 Health Benefits of Yoga
            [5] Yoga Outlet: How to Do Downward-Facing Dog in Yoga
            [6] Yoga Journal: Happy Baby Pose
            [7] Fitness Magazine: Yoga Poses for Beginners
            [8] Fitness Magazine: Yoga Poses for Beginners
            [9] Yoga Journal: Staff Pose

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            Last Updated on April 19, 2021

            8 Weight Loss Tracker and Exercise Apps for Your Fitness Goals

            8 Weight Loss Tracker and Exercise Apps for Your Fitness Goals

            Are you frustrated by the fact that you haven’t been able to lose weight? Have you ever wondered if you don’t actually know how many calories you eat in a day? How much exercise do you ACTUALLY get, and why doesn’t anything seem to be working? A weight loss tracker can help you answer all of these questions and more.

            How can we start to see results and have the momentum to keep moving forward? The answer is simple:

            Have a game-plan and know exactly what is going on inside your body.

            If you really want to excel at your fitness goal, then you need to have a game-plan for success. You need to know what will keep you motivated, how to simplify things, how to be more efficient at your goals, and even find what you enjoy the most.

            You can start by checking out Lifehack’s Busy Yet Fit Course, which will help you get into the groove of working out, even if you have a busy lifestyle.

            If you’re blindly trying to chase your goals, then you probably feel about as hopeless as a carpenter with a butter-knife. So, it’s time to stock your toolbelt for success!

            I am about to show you the top weight loss tracker apps that will be game-changers for you. From nutrition trackers to step counters, these apps are sure to set you on the fast track to your fitness goals.

            Keep reading to find the apps that might just shoot you past your plateau and into the lifestyle you dream of.

            1. MyFitnessPal

              When it comes to the best weight loss tracker apps, this one takes the cake (The Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Vegan cake that is).

              MyFitnessPal is the best all around calorie counter that I have found on the market. This app is free and has almost all the calorie counting resources available to you. Not only does it seamlessly estimate the daily calories needed to hit your goal, but it also gives you the methods to track it.

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              Just enter the ingredients of each meal you eat, and it will add up how many calories you eat. It can also scan product barcodes and automatically enter those calories for you.

              Going a step beyond that, this app also tracks your macros (according to your own customized goals) and nutrients. Furthermore, you can input a desired weight to track your weight loss journey.

              While that all seems impressive enough, this app also tracks exercise calories and can sync to Fitbit, MapmyRun, and other apps to measure your exact energy ratio.

              If you want a one-stop map to success, then this is it! This will not only help you develop a game plan, but will also create a flexible plan to get you there.

              Get the app here!

              2. Fitbit

                I know you’ve already heard of this app, and for good reason. Fitbit has been helping thousands step their way to health since it first came out.

                While investing in a Fitbit may not be cheap, I believe it to be well worth the investment.

                Fitbit will track your total amounts of steps each day. For those of you who are competitive, this is the perfect app to keep you moving and motivated throughout the day.

                This app can also sync with other fitness apps, like MyFitnessPal, to measure your exact energy expenditure each day. It’s a keeper for sure, especially if you’re looking for a great weight loss tracker.

                Get the app here!

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                3. MapMyRun

                  This is another one for the competitive, beginner, or exercise enthusiast. MapMyRun measures the distance that you run and even tracks your route. Furthermore, you can sync your daily results with MyFitnessPal to keep track of your daily calorie burn.

                  If you want to go at it with a friend, you can challenge them in competitions that are sure to keep you both moving!

                  Once, my husband ran for 2 miles just before midnight to beat me in a competition that was ending the next day. Talk about motivation!

                  MapMyRun is perfect for those who like to challenge themselves, love to be part of a fitness community, or want a place for friends to hold them accountable to their goals.

                  Get the app here!

                  4. Zombies, Run!

                    Are you having trouble pulling away from entertainment to go out and run? Then why not combine the two?

                    ZombieRun is a fun app that is sure to get you moving if you are someone who is motivated by a good time. In fact, you might even have such a blast you will forget you are exercising!

                    This app takes you through a storyline and makes you the hero. Each level will present a new challenge to help you progress and keep things exciting.

                    You certainly won’t need to worry about your pre-workout. Imagining you are the hero in the story will be enough to keep your adrenaline pumping on its own.

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                    Just be sure not to move too slow or the “Zombs” (as we runners affectionately call them) might catch you!

                    Get the app here!

                    5. Prepear

                      Are you tired of sitting down for hours and trying to strategize what to eat? This app helps cut this time in a quarter and is a great addition as a weight loss tracker.

                      Simply add online recipes into your weekly meal plan (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and it will organize all the ingredients you will need into a shopping list.

                      With all your meal planning in one organized area, it will be easy to find which meal you plan to make for the day. This will keep your healthy recipes delicious. You will seriously never have to fret about meal planning again!

                      Get the app here!

                      6. Strava

                        If walking is your health resolution, this weight loss tracker might be for you. Strava is sure to get you into healthy habits that you enjoy. In fact, you might start losing weight before realizing that you’ve even been exercising.

                        This app enables you to track your trails and mileage, take pictures, and invite friends to join. It is a keeper for beginners and hikers alike.

                        Get the app here!

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                        7. Aaptiv

                          If you find yourself at the gym and not sure what to do, then this app might be for you. Aptive gives you workouts to do and instructs you how to do them.

                          While there’s nothing quite like the accountability of a personal trainer, Aaptiv is a great way to be guided through exercises without having to dish out tons of money.

                          The online instructors will guide you through the movements and keep you focused on finishing the workout. This app is sure to make you a gym rat in no time!

                          Get the app here!

                          8. Freeletics

                            Here’s one for those of you always on the move! Freeletics is an incredible app designed for people who just don’t have the time (or motivation) to drive down to the gym. Freeletics provides online workouts designed specifically from bodyweight with no equipment needed.

                            You will be surprised at what a great workout you can get without any equipment.

                            That’s right, you work-travelers; say goodbye to your excuses because this app is bringing the trainer to you!

                            Get the app here!

                            The Bottom Line

                            These 8 weight loss tracker apps are sure to revolutionize your fitness goals. Guesswork will no longer be a part of your fitness journey. These apps are like carrying professionals around in your pocket all day!

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                            Get ready to be motivated, informed, and ready to start achieving your dreams!

                            More Tips for Weight Loss

                            Featured photo credit: Gabin Vallet via unsplash.com

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