- Exercise & Fitness
Exercise that Relaxes and Energizes
Cardio and Weight Lifting
Most people know that cardio exercises are good for getting rid of fat and weight lifting is good for building muscle. However most exercises often leave you feeling tired and sore. After doing an hour or two of cardio I do not feel like doing much of anything. I usually just end up watching a lot of TV when I am done exercising.
When I lift weights I do not get as tired but I experience muscle fatigue. Sometimes I feel stiff and sore the next day. I can increase my strength and endurance fairly quickly but the benefits are limited.
After I practice tai chi, qigong or yoga I feel relaxed and energized. These exercises have a lot in common. They all feature breath control, slow deliberate movements, and postures. The benefits are similar and some of the movements and postures are the same. They can also be considered as forms of meditation.
These exercises can be used to reduce fat and strengthen your muscles. Unlike cardio exercises you use slow movements or still poses. Instead of lifting weights you use your own body weight. They provide a full body workout and are good for strengthening muscle while reducing fat.
Practicing tai chi, qigong or yoga would burn around as many calories as walking fast or biking at a leisurely pace. There are a lot of sports and exercises you could do that would burn more. For instance I burned over 800 calories in an hour using an elliptical trainer. I could probably strengthen my muscles faster doing push-ups and lifting weights.
However doing intense exercises to burn a lot of calories or build muscle can wear you out. They can only be done for short periods of time and you need to take time off to recover. Most weight lifting focuses on a few muscles so it does not provide a full body workout. You can make up some of the difference by exercising more often.
Doing these healing exercises can also cause you to eat healthier. People often lose interest in foods they consider unhealthily. Stress can cause people to over eat or crave junk food. It can also make you feel tired. These exercises reduce stress while increasing energy and endurance, improving balance, flexibility and coordination, and boosting your immune system. Some of the other health benefits include improved digestion and blood pressure, better sleep and improved mental abilities.
When I started practicing qigong I became more aware of my body. Moving slow or holding a pose lets you feel the muscles being used. A slight change in posture or movement can change the muscles being used. Simply changing the way I breath strengthened my stomach muscles. I also learned ways to relax my body and mind.
They are a lot harder than they look and will take time to learn. However most people can do them. It just takes time to adapt. I thought I had good leg muscles but some of the poses were hard because they use muscles that I do not normally exercise when I bike or run.
I would not recommend only doing these types of exercise. You could also include some cardio and weight lifting. In the summer I bike to the beach so I need to do cardio to get my body ready for biking long distance. However they provide lots of benefits you can not get from biking, running or lifting weights.
Practicing tai chi, qigong or yoga will leave you feeling relaxed and energized while providing you with a long list of health benefits that you can not get from cardio or weight lifting.
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