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5 Must-Learn Yoga Poses for Beginners


Did you know that there are well over 300 yoga poses in the physical yoga practice? If that number seems overwhelming to you, don't worry! Learning the following five yoga postures is a great way for you to get acquainted with the practice as a beginner. Once you have a good understanding of these postures, you can start to feel more comfortable in a class or practicing on your own at home. If you do each one of these for 5 to 8 breaths, it also creates a great beginner’s yoga program for you to do every day. 
Posted 3/23/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 11 comments   16,631 views
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5 Dance Moves Anyone Can Do


Dancing is one the most enjoyable exercises you can do to be healthy and ecstatically happy while getting fit and losing weight! Dance is fun and exciting, and you’re always learning something new and interesting. All you need is your two feet and your favorite music. The best part is that there is no prior experience necessary! The more you dance and the longer you do it, the better it feels and the more skillful you become. Not only can dance workouts can burn up to 1,000 calories in one hour, but dance also builds stamina, strength, agility and flexibility. Dance also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, promotes a healthy immune system, and can even help you sleep better and reduce the symptoms of depression. Try it and see for yourself how good you feel after! Here are some simple and fun dance moves for everyone to try at home. 
Posted 3/3/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   6,244 views
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5 Ways to Find Your Perfect Workout Routine


I hate working out! There, I said it. We all have reasons for exercising, but for many of us, it’s not because we genuinely love it. Working out has a slew of health benefits, makes us feel and look better, and can even slow down the aging process and help boost our immune systems. But sometimes, those reasons alone aren't motivating enough to get us up off the couch if exercise isn't already an established part of our routines. So, how do we go from being sedentary to making fitness a regular part of our daily lives? Honestly, the hardest part is getting started—and these five steps will help give you the motivation you need to make that first step (literally and figuratively). 
Posted 2/19/2015  6:00:00 PM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 1 comments   13,757 views
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5 Veggies You Didn't Know You Could Cook in the Microwave


Microwaves are obviously the speediest (and therefore easiest) way to cook. But it turns out that shorter cook times can also help to preserve more of your veggies' natural nutrients. In fact, other cooking methods may deplete the nutritional value so much that your green beans basically lose all their green... metaphorically speaking, of course.

Some people believe microwaving vegetables zaps them of their vitamins and minerals. However, the main culprit of nutrient drain is actually water.
Posted 2/18/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   21,123 views
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The 9 Best Exercises for Neck Pain


Neck pain is one of the most common problems that many of us experience. Studies show that 30% of people experience neck pain, with women affected more often than men. The neck includes seven segments (or vertebrae) with discs acting as shock-absorbers between the segments. The vertebrae are supported by 18 groups of muscles that maintain support and allow function. Why so many muscles? Well, the head weighs about 10 pounds and sits about 10 inches above the shoulders with only the neck to support it. No wonder it gets sore from time to time!

So, how do we keep our neck healthy and strong? The answer is maintaining motion and strength exercises. So let’s look at both. And remember, if you experience pain, stop the exercise and consult your doctor. And don’t feel you have to do all of the exercises. Pick the ones that help the most and don’t cause increased pain.
Posted 1/31/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   34,312 views
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6 Simple Steps to Unleash Your Best Body Ever


My husband Terry, once a top collegiate division one athlete, martial artist and dancer, recently realized that he'd added six inches onto his waist since our three-year-old daughter was born. When we first met, he had a lean six pack, but just a few months ago, he was grabbing a sizeable spare tire with both hands in front of the mirror. ''What happened? How did I get here, Tina?'' he asked me almost helplessly.

Terry knew he had to make a change, but not just for vanity's sake. He knew that if he wanted to see his daughter grow up into a beautiful woman someday and be there for all of the milestones in between, he needed to do something differently right away. So, he started the process of getting healthier immediately. How? By planning for sustainable results. 

Posted 1/30/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 5 comments   21,004 views
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15-Minute Beginner Barre Workout


This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine. Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Barre (or ballet-inspired) workouts are typically low-impact and help develop total-body flexibility, strength and coordination, making them a fantastic way to get fit! If you've been wanting to try a barre workout, this is the perfect place to start! 
 
Posted 1/26/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   60,162 views
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Finally: A Yoga Routine for Bad Wrists!


This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine.Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Yoga is a wonderful way to build flexibility, range of motion and relieve stress. But if you are just starting out, some traditional yoga poses and postures can be a little overwhelming and/or too tough on the wrists. This gentle, yoga-inspired routine uses a chair to help safely support your body into a deeper stretch.
Posted 1/19/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 17 comments   23,543 views
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15-Minute Bodyweight Basics Workout


This workout is part of Jessica Smith's #FITIN15 program. This plan features 15 free 15-minute-or-less workouts with options for all levels of exercisers, so you can progress with the workouts as you gain strength or ease back into a routine.Click here to find out how to sign up for the program!

Whether you are just starting to exercise, or have been working out for years, there is nothing more effective for building strength, alignment and body awareness than basic, bodyweight only exercises. This 15-minute full-length home workout routine helps keeps your heart rate elevated while developing strength and stamina from head to toe. Refresh your form and perfect your body alignment with these traditional moves to safely get more out of every workout. 
Posted 1/12/2015  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 12 comments   24,986 views
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How to Start Exercising: A 20-Minute Routine


Ready to start exercising, but not sure where to begin? I’ve created this workout just for you! Everybody has to start his or her own personal exercise journey somewhere, so if you are ready to start moving, join me for this efficient and effective workout that uses just your body weight, a chair and a wall. This 20-minute routine will help you develop strength and stamina and will teach you proper form for basic exercises like squats, planks and push-ups.
 
Posted 12/2/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   63,189 views
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The 12-Minute Better Posture Workout


Your mom was right--standing up straight really is good for you! Better posture can also help you look taller and slimmer instantly (no Spanx required). With all the sitting and slouching we do while typing, texting and driving, maintaining good posture can require a little extra work. Join me for this equipment-free, full-length workout video designed to develop strength, flexibility and proper alignment in the postural muscles of the neck, shoulders, back and core. A mat is recommended for the floor work (though a carpeted surface should work fine). 
Posted 11/10/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 6 comments   35,569 views
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The Best Abs Exercises (that Won't Hurt Your Back)


If traditional abs moves like crunches and twists bother your back, don't suffer! There are plenty of ways to work your abs without straining your back that are just as (and sometimes more!) effective. Join me (and my puppy Peanut) for this full-length workout routine that is designed for those who experience back pain during floor abdominal exercises.
 
All you’ll need for this workout is a sturdy chair and a single light dumbbell (or similar weighted object). 
Posted 11/3/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 8 comments   98,133 views
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A 15-Minute Lower-Body Workout for Bad Knees


Squats and lunges are two of my favorite classic moves to incorporate into lower-body workouts because they really work! However,as effective as they are, these particular moves can cause knee pain for a lot of people. The good news is that you can still effectively target the lower body with these alternative exercises that won’t strain your joints. This full-length, low-impact workout doesn’t include a single squat or lunge and is designed to be gentle on the joints but tough on your hips, thighs and glutes! 
Posted 9/30/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 9 comments   83,989 views
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Sculpt Your Legs in 8 Minutes (at Home!)


No equipment? No problem! This quick set of exercises is guaranteed to fry your thighs using just your body weight and a small amount of space (making this routine perfect for travel!). Try this lower-body circuit as its own workout (1, 2 or 3 times through depending on how much time and energy you have), add it to your strength routine or try it after a cardio session for one short, but serious, lower body sculpting session.
 
Keep an eye out for Peanut the French bulldog, who also joins us for this workout (well, sort of)!



Leave me a comment below and let me know if you tried the workout. What was your favorite (or least favorite!) move?
 
Want more? Click here to try more of our lower body routines on JESSICASMITHTV!
 
Like this workout? Be sure to subscribe at Youtube.com/JessicaSmithTV to access a full library of over 200 FREE full-length workout videos. New episodes air every Saturday at noon EST!

About the Author
Jessica Smith is co-author of the Thin in 10 Weight Loss Plan (Sunrise River Press, 2012), and a certified wellcoach, personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Having started her own fitness journey more than 40 pounds ago, Jessica knows how challenging it can be to lose weight (and keep it off). Recently named one of Sharecare's Top 10 Online Influencers, she loves finding and sharing the latest info on weight loss, fitness, and healthy lifestyle habits. The star of several best-selling exercise DVDs, Jessica has over 13 years of experience in the industry, and holds a bachelor's degree in Communications from Fordham University.

Posted 8/31/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 7 comments   30,540 views
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12-Minute Indoor Power Walking Workout


Short on workout time? Need a quick energy boost? Trying to rack up a few more steps today? Join me for this quick, powered-up walk that is easy to do at home (or even at the office!) in a small space. I've included a few fun intervals to help mix up your steps and get you sweating for this short burst of activity. 
 
Oh, and be sure to look out for Peanut the French bulldog who joins us for this walk (well, in her own way)! 
Posted 8/11/2014  12:00:00 AM By: SparkPeople Guest Blogger : 25 comments   98,123 views
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