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Here’s a photo essay so you can see the transformation.
Exercise benefits the brain because it requires the brain to coordinate complex movements. In other words, the brain has to multi-task to move the body during exercise. We can think of the brain as a muscle, and cross training it helps it stay strong.
Brains of all ages can benefit from exercise. For children, exercise enhances memory and learning, which may improve school performance. For aging adults, exercise increases brain volume, improves memory, and aids in decreasing the effects of brain-related illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. Even newborn babies have higher level of brain activity if their mothers exercise while they are pregnant!
What are the best exercises to improve brain health? Aerobic exercise, including walking, running and cycling increase oxygen to the brain. Strength training and stretching are important components for brain multi-tasking. Group exercise provides an added benefit: it activates parts of the brain associated with social connections.
What’s the bottom line? Exercise no matter how old you are. It’s good for your brain!
In fact, exercise may be a better treatment for arthritis than taking popular supplements such as glucosamine and chondroitin. That’s because losing weight decreases the amount of load our knees have to carry. For every pound a person loses, the load on the knee decreases by four pounds. In other words, losing five pounds will reduce the amount of weight on the knees by 20 pounds!
Maybe you’re wondering how to exercise to improve knee pain. Studies show that the best activities include low-impact aerobic exercise, strength training and stretching. Cycling is a great low-impact workout that anyone can do, from beginners to elite athletes. Be sure to ask an instructor for help setting up your bike. This is very important to maintain correct knee position.
As for strength training to improve knee pain, balance is the key. A complex system of muscles works symbiotically to move the knee. Quadriceps extend the knee while hamstrings flex the knee. It is important to work the hamstrings muscles equally with the quads to avoid imbalances that can lead to knee injury. Squats, lunges, leg extensions and hamstring curls are excellent exercises that strengthen these muscles.
Finally, stretching the legs is essential to maintaining healthy knees. Tight muscles can lead to imbalances that can cause injury. Be sure to leave at least five minutes to stretch at the end of every workout session. If you’re unfamiliar with how to stretch correctly, consider trying a mind-body class such as Pilates, Zenergy or Zen and Chi class. You can discuss your knee concerns with the instructor before class so she can modify the stretches to meet your unique needs.