Tag: exercise

Arthur Prelle Dance Class

Take a Dance Class

Arthur Prelle Dance ClassFor people who are conscious about staying in shape and staying in touch with their bodies, there are lots of options outside the traditional hour of dumbbells at the local Planet Fitness. I’ve written before about all the benefits of hiking, as well as the benefits of yoga specifically for men. But if you’re looking for something fresh, fun, and out of the ordinary, consider taking a dance class.

The kind of dance class you take is totally up to you. Maybe you’ve always harbored a secret dream of taking a ballroom dance class with your significant other. Maybe you loved dancing as a child and have been pining to take it back up ever since you quit at age 12. Maybe you’ve always been a little jealous of the Latin American competitors on Dancing with the Stars and would revel in a Salsa class. Whichever kind of dancing you desire to learn, there are numerous physical and mental benefits to getting your groove on.

Balance | Dancing requires you to be light on your toes for great lengths of time and to shift your weight, sometimes rapidly, from foot to foot. As such, dancing will improve your balance as you become more comfortable moving and keeping stride with your partner.

Leadership | Especially for dances that are done with a partner, including but not limited to swing dancing and bachata dancing, you and your partner will have to communicate. Men in partner dances are tasked with leading the pace and motions of the pair, and many of the skills necessary translate well to the workplace. You need to direct your partner clearly and firmly, but not demandingly or demeaningly. You and your partner should work in tandem, not as a leader-follower pair. It’s your job simply to guide your partner through the dance.

Confidence | Unlike many other forms of exercise, dancing is inherently done to show off and be done in a social setting surrounded by onlookers. The more you practice dancing and working with your partner, the more your confidence in your body and your motions will grow. You’ll be able to flaunt at parties in no time.

Cardio | If you’ve ever watched professional dancing competitions or even watched on at a wedding as the dancing wore late into the night, you’ll know first hand that dancers sweat a lot — it’s a high-intensity workout! All the motion, time on your feet, and keeping up with the music works a lot of muscles, but in such a way that you enjoy it the whole entire time.

A Good Time | Dancing is big fun! From the music to the time with your partner to the sheer energy, dancing is one of the most fun ways to burn a lot of calories while moving to your favorite tunes with some of your favorite people.

1 Arthur Prelle Bike

Bike to Work This Summer

National Bike to Work Day is May 19, and advocates for more greener transportation are encouraging all who can to give up their cars for a day and commute exclusively with their pedals. Philadelphia especially has made a huge push for greener commutes either on your own bicycle or on one of the public bikes available for rent throughout the city. There are lots of good reasons why you should give up your gas guzzler in favor of a more sustainable vehicle.

Reduced Traffic. If you’re stuck in stop-and-go traffic, you’ll likely call your significant other to say “I’m stuck in traffic,” when in fact, you are the traffic. The fact that you, too, are in a car taking up space means that you’re contributing to the traffic that everyone on the road is experiencing. On a bike, though, you won’t be taking up the space your car does, so you won’t have to deal with the effects of the traffic you would have helped create. Fewer cars on the road means less traffic for everyone. Win win.

Save Money. As costly as gasoline is, you can save significant money by choosing to ride a bike to work. As the old saying goes, cars run on money and make you fat — bikes run on fat and save you money! Just make sure you pack some baby wipes and business clothes so you don’t make a big presentation drenched in sweat.

Much-needed You Time. Especially if your commute has a tendency to be trafficky, you might be starting your day way more stressed than you need to. Studies have demonstrated that spending more time in nature will literally help you destress and find more peace. So, if you need to start your day with less ajida, hop on your bike and pedal your way to some pre-work tranquility.

Let your subconscious do the leg work. Cognition studies have shown that often, walking or biking help people solve problems they’ve been stuck on for a while. If you push some of your pressing issues to your subconscious while you walk or bike, you might be able to figure out what’s been plaguing you while you’re focused on your bike ride.

See Your Neighborhood. If you’re whizzing by on your daily commute, you may have no idea what shops you pass, the landmarks you’re missing, or the hole-in-the-wall restaurant that may become your next favorite. Biking will give you the opportunity to view your neighborhood at a more leisurely pace.

Arthur Prelle | kettlebells

Kettlebells for Fitness

Arthur Prelle loves the intensity and pump of a kettlebell workout. The low-tech wonder of kettlebells offers a super-effective full-body workout in a short time frame.

Kettlebells are sometimes tucked away in the corners of health clubs and may look a bit weird, but they can provide one of the simplest, most effective workouts around. There is a wide range of challenging lifting and swinging movements that build both strength and cardio endurance. And unlike many resistance exercises, a kettlebell gets your whole body working at once.

Kettlebells keep Arthur Prelle in shape with only an hour or two of use per week. Pavel Tstsouline has several great resources for workouts including “Enter the Kettlebell!” Pavel says, “Whether your goal is losing fat, building muscle, or training for powerlifting, swimming or even golf, you can perform better if you work with kettlebells.”

Invented in the 18th century, kettlebells are particularly popular in Russia, where they have long been used to train elite soldiers. By the early 1980s, kettlebell competitions began to spread across the globe, and U.S. bodybuilders started bringing the techniques to their hometown gyms.

The secret behind this Russian import’s effectiveness? Its weight is centered below the handle, so when you swing it, nearly every muscle in your body has to work hard to counteract the momentum. “Unlike traditional free weights — which isolate certain muscle groups while the rest of your body is static — kettlebells are used in a continuous-motion, interval-style format that, research has shown, results in faster, more dramatic fitness gains,” says Michele Olson, PhD, FACSM, CSCS, an exercise scientist and strength coach at Auburn University Montgomery in Alabama.

In short, the kettlebell is a tool with tremendous work capacity; it’s designed to provide a brief but intense workout — for nearly anyone.

“Their simple design and versatility make it the ideal tool for beginners, while the cardiovascular and strength-endurance components of kettlebell training challenge even the most conditioned athletes,” says Dallas Hartwig, PT, MS, CSCS, a longtime kettlebell enthusiast and CrossFit trainer in Brunswick, Maine, who uses the tool to improve his own performance in mountain biking, competitive volleyball, climbing and skiing.

No matter what your fitness level, kettlebell workouts can increase your strength, endurance, agility and balance.

How you use kettlebells, like any fitness tool, depends on your goals. “If you want to increase work capacity and endurance, focus on the ballistic [fast-moving] exercises such as jerks, swings and snatches, all of which keep your muscles moving and your heart rate up,” suggests Mike Mahler, a Las Vegas kettlebell instructor and creator of Mahler’s Aggressive Strength: Beginner Kettlebell Training Workshop (Aggressive Strength LLC, 2002).

For example, you can pick one exercise and do as many repetitions as possible in a 10-minute time frame — and set a goal not to put the kettlebell down for the entire 10 minutes. “In addition to getting you in great shape, this builds incredible mental toughness,” says Mahler. “If you want to build muscle as opposed to endurance, focus on compound strength exercises such as the clean and press, and do five to 10 sets of five to seven reps with one-minute breaks between sets.” (See “Clean & Press” below.)

Beginners should opt for a moderate weight (men usually start off with a 35- to 55-pound kettlebell; women usually start with between 15 and 35 pounds) and don’t increase it until you can do the moves with perfect form. Experts caution against going too light, however, because that can lead to cutting corners. “You’ll cheat because lighter weights are easier to move — you may not make your larger leg and hip muscles work as much as they should,” says Olson. “You also won’t get a whole-body workout, and you’ll burn fewer calories,” she says.