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Healthy balance: diet, exercise and yoga classes

Many Americans have recently been getting more involved in exercise and dietary support plans to loose weight and get in shape.

Organizations like Weight Watchers and Curves have built business empires based on people’s need for support in the process of self-improvement.

Many adults have developed exercising habits to improve and maintain their health.

Colleen Bradstreet, administrative assistant in the music department, has been consistently exercising for over twenty years and is involved with Body and Soul Ministries as an aerobics instructor.

“With regular exercise I have more energy, am physically stronger, am almost never sick and am able to fulfill my daily responsibilities with more effectiveness,” said Bradstreet.

“None of us can stop the aging process, but I am confident I’m slowing it down,” she said.

“Also, my husband doesn’t mind that after 28 years of marriage I am the same dress size as when we were married.”

Weight Watchers uses a points system in which certain foods have certain point values and members are allowed a certain number of points per day.

The goal is that after members get used to making food choices according to points, they will soon develop good eating habits on their own.

The down side is that members may become obsessed with points and never give up the plan. And when some members do leave, they gain the weight back because they have lost the structure. Weight Watchers also has no system for exercise, leaving participants unbalanced and out of shape.

Curves for Women is the fastest growing franchise of its kind. For two years, more and more centers have popped up, and women have flocked to them. The appeal is that it isn’t a “gym” where only young, buff people are found.

It is a place that targets middle-aged women and requires usually only 30 minutes a week. They concentrate on support and self-respect in a friendly environment. But Curves lacks an eating plan, so results may vary.

Yoga Pilates has also taken the western world by storm. Yoga is no longer only spiritual, it has developed into a more modern form of Pilates, which is more like aerobics.

Both exercises target flexibility and work against the positions that are common during the day to promote good posture, relaxation and energy.

Classes such as yoga, aerobics and Pilates are maxed out at local gyms.

Yoga Pilates classes are also offered at Eastern.

“The reason I like yoga is because it is not harsh on the body,” said Taryn Heisler, teaching assistant for the class.

“It is a good workout without being forceful with your muscles.”

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