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Doing Yoga at Your Desk

These simple yoga poses can help you relive stress and tension while at work. Along with the daily stresses of a job, sitting at a desk all day can do a number on your body. Every hour or so, take a five minute break and complete one of these yoga exercises.

Seated Cow Pose:yoga2

Take one arm, lift it up above your head and bend at the elbow until your fingers are at the back of your neck.

Take the other arm and reach from behind your back and meet with your other hand until the fingers clasp together. You should feel a stretch along the side of your shoulder girdle and your shoulders opening allowing the release of all that tension we tend to hold in our neck and shoulders.

Hold and switch the arms. If you find it hard to reach this far, then reach your arms as far as possible without hurting yourself.

 

Seated Side Twist:

Sit with your feet and knees together. Take a deep inhale and lift up through your spine.

As you exhale, turn your body to the right. Place your left hand on outer right thigh and right hand to your right. Do drop your shoulder blades away from your ears.

Stay for three or four breaths, lifting up through your center as you inhale and moving more deeply into the twist as you exhale.

Look over your right shoulder and down toward the floor for an added neck stretch. Focusing on your breathing, this yoga exercise will not only give your back a nice stretch but also relive some stress with the focused breathing.

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Wrist stretch

Begin by standing at the desk with feet shoulder width apart. Place both hands palm down on the desk with wrists facing outward. Hold for 10-30 seconds.

This stretch is great for those who work with computers and may suffer from wrist soreness.

 Seated Downward Dog

Seated in your chair, push it a few feet out from your desk with feet shoulder width apart.

Place both arms out in front and lean forward into the desk. This stretches the spine and arms. Hold for 10-30 seconds.

Sitting Eagle Pose

Sitting in your chair cross one leg over the other so that ankle rests just above the knee.yoga4

While doing this lean forward to feel a nice stretch in your hip and buttocks.

With time this exercise can help you get rid of lower back problems.

Repeat with the other leg.

Poses like down dog can bring down levels of inflammation in cancer patients.

he more we learn about yoga, the more we realize the benefits aren’t all in the minds of the 20 million or so devotees in the U.S. Yoga helps people to relax, making the heart rate go down, which is great for those with high blood pressure. The poses help increase flexibility and strength, bringing relief to back pain sufferers.

Now, in the largest study of yoga that used biological measures to assess results, it seems that those meditative sun salutations and downward dog poses can reduce inflammation, the body’s way of reacting to injury or irritation.

That’s important because inflammation is associated with chronic diseases including heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis. It’s also one of the reasons that cancer survivors commonly feel fatigue for months, even years, following treatment.

Researchers looked at 200 breast cancer survivors who had not practiced yoga before. Half the group continued to ignore yoga, while the other half received twice-weekly, 90-minute classes for 12 weeks, with take-home DVDs and encouragement to practice at home.

According to the study, which was led by Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, professor of psychiatry and psychology at Ohio State University, andpublished in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, the group that had practiced yoga reported less fatigue and higher levels of vitality three months after treatment had ended.

Laboratory Proof

But the study didn’t rely only on self-reports. Kiecolt-Glaser’s husband and research partner, Ronald Glaser of the university’s department of molecular virology, immunology, and medical genetics, went for stronger, laboratory proof. He examined three cytokines, proteins in the blood that are markers for inflammation.

Blood tests before and after the trial showed that, after three months of yoga practice, all three markers for inflammation were lower by 10 to 15 percent. That part of the study offered some rare biological evidence of the benefits of yoga in a large trial that went beyond people’s own reports of how they feel.

No one knows exactly how yoga might reduce inflammation in breast cancer survivors, but Kiecolt-Glaser lays out some research-based suggestions. Cancer treatment often leaves patients with high levels of stress and fatigue, and an inability to sleep well. “Poor sleep fuels fatigue, and fatigue fuels inflammation,” she says. Yoga has been shown to reduce stress and help people sleep better.

Other smaller studies have shown, by measuring biological markers, that expert yoga practitioners had lower inflammatory responses to stress than novice yoga practitioners did; that yoga reduces inflammation in heart failure patients; and that yoga can improve crucial levels of glucose and insulin in patients with diabetes.

Yoga for Other Stresses

Cancer is an obvious cause of stress, but recent research has pointed to another contributing factor: living in poverty. Maryanna Klatt, an associate professor of clinical family medicine at Ohio State University, has taken yoga into the classrooms of disadvantaged children. In research that has not yet been published, she found that 160 third graders in low-income areas who practiced yoga with their teacher had self-reported improvements in attention.

“Their teachers liked doing it right before math, because then the kids focused better on the math work,” she says. “Telling a kid to sit down and be quiet doesn’t make sense. Have them get up and move.”

While it would be too complicated and intrusive to measure biological responses to yoga in schoolchildren, Klatt has done similar research on surgical nurses, who are under the daily stress of watching suffering and death. She said she found a 40 percent reduction in their salivary alpha amylase, a measure of the fight-or-flight response to stress.

And she’s about to begin teaching yoga to garbage collectors in the city of Columbus before they head out on their morning shift. At the moment, her arrangement with the city is not part of a study. She just hopes to make their lives less stressful. And she does not plan to check their inflammatory response, though she admits she’d love to.

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Conflicting information about weightlifting is as easy to come by at the gym as faux tans and tank tops. And when everybody thinks they’re a trainer, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction (hence: the growing field of “broscience”). Read on for the truth about common muscle myths, so you can be better informed next time you head to the weight rack.

1. Myth: Lifting weights will make you bulk up.

This is one of the biggest concerns for women considering starting a weightlifting program, says Rachel Cosgrove, CSCS, author of The Female Body Breakthrough. But unless you’re also consuming a ton more calories, your muscles will only grow to a healthy, normal level that promotes an increased metabolism. “You have to really work for every ounce of muscle that you gain, and it’s not as easy as most women think to sprout big muscles,” she says.

Truth: With proper nutrition, lifting weights will create a leaner physique — not a bulkier one.

2. Myth: Muscle turns to fat if you stop lifting.

Some serious magic would have to happen for muscle to turn into fat, as they’re two completely different things, says Cosgrove. “Muscle never turns into fat, and fat never turns into muscle,” she says. Muscle will, on the other hand, help you burn fat. Researchhas found that an intense bought of strength training results in more calories burned in the 16 to 24 hours after your training session ends.

Truth: Your muscle won’t turn into flab if you take some time off, and having muscle will actually help you burn fat.

RELATED: The Truth About Ab Workouts

3. Myth: It’s best to work one muscle group a day.

You’ve probably overheard locker room chatter about it being “back day” or “leg day,” but unless you’re a bodybuilder (or dedicated lifter) it’s not always beneficial to adopt this schedule. Michael Carozza, owner of Carozza Fitness in Connecticut, suggests high-intensity interval training and circuit training, which are designed to help build muscle, increase aerobic capacity, burn calories and improve recovery time. Whatever program you choose, just keep in mind that muscles typically need about a day to recover, says Kelvin Gary, owner of Body Space Fitness in New York City, so it’s important to vary workouts so you aren’t doing the same full-body workout each day.

Truth: Choose compound exercises that work more than one muscle group at a time (like squats, pull-ups and deadlifts) for a more effective workout in a shorter period of time.

4. Myth: Lifting heavy weights is the only way to see results.

Researchers have found that lifting light weights for more reps is just as effective for building muscle as lifting heavy weights for fewer reps. The key is lifting to the point of fatigue. In fact, bodyweight exercises can often be just as effective — or more effective — than committing solely to iron, Cosgrove says. “There are so many ways you can put a demand on your body,” she says. “Heavy weights aren’t always the answer.”

Truth: Vary your workout by mixing in heavy weights, light weights and bodyweight exercises.

5. Myth: Weightlifting is bad for the joints.

It’s a common misconception that weightlifting puts a harmful load on the joints. But a study published the Journal of Rheumatology found when people suffering from knee joint pain performed weight bearing exercises, they experienced a 43 percent reduction in pain after four months. They were also better at performing daily tasks and reported a higher quality of life than those who didn’t strength train. Gary says this is because strength training can help grow strength in the structures around your joints, causing them to be better supported.

Truth: Weightlifting builds muscle that helps absorb shock and protect the joints.

RELATED: 30 Reasons Women Should Strength Train [INFOGRAPHIC]

6. Myth: Weightlifting causes high blood pressure.

For years, people with hypertension have been warned to stay away from lifting weights because it could further increase blood pressure. In reality, as with aerobic exercise, weightlifting can actually lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure — by two and four percent respectively. And, according to the American Heart Association, you only need to fit in two or three sessions a week to start seeing positive results.

Truth: Over time, weightlifting can lower blood pressure and make your heart healthier.

7. Myth: Weight lifting decreases flexibility.

If done correctly, weightlifting can actually have the opposite effect. A study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found that resistance training improves flexibility as well as static stretching. The key is to work through a full range of motion while lifting, Cosgrove says. For example, lifting dumbbells all the way up and all the way back down during a chest press will allow you to utilize the full potential of your chest and shoulders.

Truth: Use a full range of motion while weightlifting to improve flexibility.

8. Myth: Machines are more effective than free weights.

Au contraire.Weight machines isolate muscles and force your body to move in a single plane of motion, both of which can limit your range of motion — and your results. Lifting free weights, on the other hand, has been shown to recruit more muscles and can result in greater strength gains. In one study, results showed that traditional weighted squats produced 43 percent more muscle activity in the quads than squats using a Smith machine. Gary adds that many bodyweight exercises, such as squats, push-ups and lunges, are just as effective as their weighted counterparts. Find out which five machines aren’t worth your time here.

Truth: Lifting free weights mimics natural movement and creates greater muscle activity than machines.

on 9/6/2014 for www.DailyBurn.com