I’m Unfit! How Can I Build Up My Strength and Endurance?

We all know the importance of regular exercise. It helps us to maintain our weight, boosts immunity, improves brain function and makes us feel good too. It’s recommended that we do at least 150 minutes of activity a week to keep us in peak physical shape. However working out doesn’t have to mean pushing yourself to your limits while you pour with sweat and utterly exhaust yourself. You can keep trim and get all of the health benefits with far more gentle exercise too. If you’re quite unfit, you probably won’t be able to hop on a treadmill and start sprinting, or perhaps you have an injury. If you’re looking to start on your fitness journey here are a few activities are suitable for everyone, and will burn excess fat and calories without risking injury.


Walking is fantastic exercise. It’s free, you don’t need any special equipment, and you can save yourself money on travel too. Give yourself a little extra time to go to school, college or work and instead of hopping in the car or on the bus, walk instead. While it mainly works the muscles in the legs, walking also helps to tone abs and even your arms too. You don’t have to power walk, but for the best benefits keep a good pace. You should be able to feel your breathing and heartrate is elevated, but not to the point you feel like they’re going to explode. Pop your headphones in, listen to some music and go for a walk or hike. If you have a dog, take them along too!


Cycling is great for weight loss and shaping your body, and it’s fun too. You could pack up a (healthy) picnic and go on a bike ride all day with friends. You get to explore your local area, take in the sights and enjoy the health benefits too. Cyclingweekly.com suggests making the most of your commute by cycling, so this could be something to consider. If you’re a beginner in the gym, using the exercise bike is a good place to start. Unlike some of the other equipment, it’s self-explanatory to use, and you can increase the resistance the fitter you get.


Not only is yoga good for the body but it improves the mind too. It helps to build your strength and flexibility meaning you have less chance of injuring yourself during other forms of exercise. It teaches you breathing and mindfulness techniques which can be useful if you suffer from anxiety or depression. It might not seem like the most cardio-heavy exercise, but according to bestyogablog.com it’s effective for weight loss with different types of yoga burning a surprising number of calories. It’s definitely something worth including in your fitness routine and helps break things up a little too since it’s a bit different from most other kinds of exercise.


Swimming is both gentle and fun but is incredible for the body. This article by livehealthy.chron.com states that it uses just about every muscle, so is ideal for an all- over workout. Start by doing a few laps and then increase it from there. You could aim to do an extra lap every time you swim, or set a time and try to beat it. It won’t aggravate the joints so is suitable for everyone (providing you can swim!)

Yoga: The Basics For Beginners

When you first start doing yoga, whatever age you are, it’s hard to figure out what exactly you need. As a beginner, you won’t need to go overboard with different supplies, but you will still need the basics.


Wear comfortable, breathable clothing for yoga. You’ll probably want to wear a shirt that is a little form-fitting, because in certain yoga positions you will be bending forwards, for example, and your head comes below your hips, (so your shirt can slide down.) Any exercise pants or shorts with a bit of stretch will do. Leggings are popular for women, but looser trousers are okay too. Men seem to prefer shorts, but many wear trousers too. Sports bras are good for women, but if you don’t have one, it doesn’t mean you can’t participate. You can find all these things in a yoga clothing store.

You do not need any kind of ‘professional’ shoes or socks for class. Yoga is usually done barefoot; most yoga studios will often request that you leave your shoes near the entrance.

Yoga Mat

In gyms and yoga studios, it is essential to use a yoga mat. The mat helps define your personal space, and more importantly, it creates friction so your hands and feet don’t slip, (especially when you start getting sweaty.) The mat also provides a bit of cushioning on a hard, cold floor.

Most gyms will provide you with a mat that you can rent, which is fine for your first few classes, but the disadvantage is that a lot of people use them and you can’t be sure how often they are being cleaned. Premium yoga mats can be expensive, but you can get starter mats for next to nothing.


Straps are particularly useful for bound poses if your hands do not reach each other, and also for poses where you need to hold onto your feet but cannot reach them.


Yoga studios usually have stacks of blankets available for students to use during their session. So get yourself one or two at the beginning of the class.

The folded blankets are props to sit and lie on when necessary. For example, when you sit cross-legged, put a blanket under your bum bones to elevate the hips above the knees. They come in handy for all sorts of things during your class, and if it gets a little cold, you can use them to cover yourself during final relaxation as well.


Similar to blankets, blocks are props to make yourself more comfortable and improve your alignment. Blocks are great for standing poses for when your hands can’t reach the floor.

These things should be all you need as you’re a beginner. As you get more advanced, you may want to upgrade, and purchase other supplies. But for now – you have a the basics to becoming an A Star student.

Add Fun & Variety to Your Yoga Routine With an Xbox One

yogaGame consoles aren’t just for couch potatoes. Your yoga practice can take on a new dimension right from the comfort and privacy of your own home with a next-generation gaming console. Expensive gym and studio memberships (along with the commute there and back) are no longer necessary with an Xbox One. Fitness experts like Jillian Michaels have yoga workouts for Xbox, so yogis can have fun and improve their practice at home.

Add Fun With Apps and Workouts

With new upgrades and accessories, your Xbox becomes more than a mere game console. The Kinect enables users to interact with games and workouts without controllers or remotes. Fitness instructors can use Xbox fitness games and workouts to lead a class or provide personal training with a wide variety of activities to keep even the most veteran fitness fanatics interested and challenged. Kinect comes standard with the new Xbox One.

Add Famous Instructors

Everybody knows famous fitness expert Jillian Michaels. She has two yoga workouts for Xbox, “Yoga Inferno Workout 1” and “Yoga Inferno Workout 2,” plus she has a 10-Minute Solutions program entitled “5 Day Get Fit Mix: Power Yoga.”

Michaels is serious about fitness, and her yoga programs for Xbox are not easy. She urges users to push themselves, change their routines, use proper form to get results and prevent injuries, take time to recover, and avoid dehydration. Michaels’ yoga workouts will give a level of intensity to your practice, as they include high-intensity interval training and weight training to accelerate conditioning and weight loss, if that’s what you’re interested in.

Add Extras With Xbox Live Gold

For less than the cost of an annual gym membership, fitness aficionados can get a three- or 12-month subscription to Xbox Live Gold with almost unlimited games, deals, TV, movies, music, video, apps and a whole fitness library. Users get all the extras with Xbox Live Gold, like immediate feedback on form, power, and heart rate, social challenges, and previews of the newest fitness and entertainment content. Personal trainers using Xbox in their services can customize training with entertainment for their clients, and individual users can add spice and variety to their workouts.

Add Top Fitness Games

Add fun fitness games in between yoga workouts for extra conditioning. Xbox 360 fitness games are Amazon best-sellers because of the versatility of Kinect. “Your Shape: Fitness Evolved” analyzes users’ body shapes and tracks fitness progress for martial arts, yoga, weight loss and tai chi. “Dance Central” is for those who love to dance and want to use it to burn calories and get in shape. “The Biggest Loser Ultimate Workout” lets you work on your fitness just like they do on the popular show. “EA Sports Active 2” lets users workout with more than 70 exercises and a professional workout regimen, competitive play and advanced tracking features.

You already know that yoga is a great way to gain flexibility, strength and peace of mind. The technology behind Xbox and Kinect can take your practice to a new level, all from the comfort of home.

Doing Things You Never Thought Possible

by Skyler Dearen

SkylerWhen I was 6 years old, I started doing yoga because my mother had been practicing for years and she always seemed to be smiling and so happy.  I also saw these immense changes in her – physically, emotionally and spiritually and I wanted to follow in her footsteps.

Then when I was eleven, I tried something called hot yoga which is done in a room heated to 105 degrees and is incredibly challenging both physically and mentally.  My friends thought I was crazy taking all these hot yoga classes but I liked about it was that it allowed me to do things I thought I could never do.

skyler-yoga-beachFirst, because the heat warms your muscles, I found it easier for my body to relax and get into a deeper stretch. I could then get into these really deep poses that I could never do before in regular yoga classes. So physically, my body was able to do things I thought I could never do (see photos).

Second, the heat also helped me to forget about everything outside of the room, about what happened at school that day, things my friends said or stuff that I was worried about, and instead focus on the present.  I discovered how breathing in and out through my nose helped to bring down my heart rate and calm my body. Now I use this breathing technique whenever I’m stressed at school or at home and mentally, I’m able to get through tough situations that I never thought I could handle.

Third, I never thought that at 14, I would do something that nobody else has done – become the youngest certified hot yoga instructor in the United States.  I simply decided last year that I loved hot yoga so much that I wanted to teach and signed up for a 8-week Teacher Training Certification class. Everybody in the class was at least twice my age and I think they were surprised that I was there and not at the beach or shopping at the mall with my friends!

Skyler and her motherI received my Certification in December and started teaching at my mother’s hot yoga studio in Newport Beach this year.  I will admit that when I first started teaching, I was really nervous about instructing a room full of adults because I am so young. But after a few classes, I realized that if you focus on sharing what you know and what you love, you can lead, motivate and inspire others at any age.

One of my favorite quotes is “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. So find your passion and pursue what you love most and you may be surprised by what you can achieve!

Skyler Dearen is an 8th grade student at Corona Del Mar High School and is the youngest known certified hot yoga instructor in the United States. She teaches, practices and helps run her mother’s studio, Radiant Hot Yoga, in Newport Beach, California.


Energizing Your Inner Self

Written by Dana Ford, Relate Contributing Writer

It’s hard to feel good when we’re just not looking our best on the outside, right girls? We go to great lengths to look good before we leave the house, before we present ourselves to others. We must be clean, showered, primped and perfected.


Many say, “If you look good, you’ll feel good, too.”

But for many of us, it’s hard to keep up with the models on TV. It’s hard to keep up with the latest fashion trends and hairstyles. Our busy lifestyles don’t allow for this type of primping anymore.

Have no fear! We’re here to tell you, if you feel good, you will LOOK good, too!

Ladies, physical beauty is not all there is to boost self-esteem. In fact, you’ll find it doesn’t last long. Ever find yourself struggling to reapply makeup several times each day?

What feels good about doing that? Me personally, it’s not fun. So what should we do? Well, let’s try something new! Let’s try a new trend: Making yourself look good—on the inside!

I know some of you may be thinking, “How is it possible to beautify myself internally?”

Simple as this. When you’re emotionally healthy, happy, stable and energized on the inside, your outward appearance will glow even without having to worry about what you look like. You will FEEL good about yourself and in turn love your body and face just the way you are. And it’s a permanent feeling!

Want to be and feel beautiful without worrying about your physicality? Here are fun ways of boosting your inward glow.

  • Eat, eat, eat! God has created abundant lands for fruits to grow, for vegetables to thrive and for seeds and berries to prosper. All these things which He has created have been made for humans to enjoy. Food and water are crucial to our survival and crucial to energy in our daily lives. When we eat well-balanced and portioned meals three times daily, our minds are more alert, our moods are balanced and our overall performance level in any task is greater if we replenish our bodies. Enjoy God’s blessing. Some great energy foods: Bananas, tea, yogurt and whole grains.
  • Do yoga. Yoga is a technique which has been around for over 5,000 years. It’s a great stress reliever and harmonizes the mind with the body. God says, “Be IN this world not OF this world, for you are merely passing through to Heaven.” Yoga teaches people a new way of life, a way of dealing with stress, a way of thinking and ultimately, a way of coping with being IN this world. Yoga aids in getting better sleep, having a happier disposition and a clearer and calmer mind. It also builds up health and helps protect against colds, fevers, constipation, headaches, fatigue and other troubles.
  • Exercise. There are PLENTY of ways to get exercise and increase your happiness without getting too fatigued. A few ways include:
  1. Stretching in the morning when you first get out of bed. This helps stimulate your brain and muscles before starting the day. You will be more alert and ready to tackle the day.
  2. Taking walks outside for 20 minutes and allow some part of your skin to be exposed to the sun. During the winter, it’s hard to be exposed to the sun but even allowing a little to touch your face will help decrease fatigue, depression, anxiety and other harsh feelings the season of winter may bring you.
  3. Participating in any activity for 20 minutes straight will help balance your mind, release toxins in your body and help release endorphins from your brain. Endorphins are like happy pills; they will reenergize you and make you refreshed.

Girls, these are only a few examples. And many of you may already know these things are good for your internal health. Can you think of anything else? What makes you feel good internally? Maybe visiting your friends and family makes you feel good. Maybe you FEEL good when you spend some time to yourself doing what you love the most.

Find YOU!

Maybe deep down, you have this beauty which you’ve never discovered. The time is now to reveal it to the world. Do what makes you feel good on the inside and your outward appearance will…well…begin to not matter so much.

Stereotypically we think of riches as materialistic products. Not today, not any day, not anyhow. Riches are what are within YOU. Go on; share those riches with the world!

“You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love.” –Henry Drummond

Stretch it out- Practical Yoga

Written By Mary Kornegay, Relate Contributing Writer

We all know that exercising is one of the most important factors of good health. Personally, it’s my least favorite. But Relate is always looking for new, interesting forms of exercise that will keep your body looking fine and your heart pumping strong! It’s all about mental feelings toward your personal body image; and trust us, this will help!


(Photo by practicalyoga.tv)

PracticalYoga is a website that gives you hundreds of tips about healthy living through yoga. If you’re looking for workouts, healthy recipes or different ways to relax and de-stress, Practical Yoga is where to look.

Practical Yoga encourages us to “reconnect with your mind, body and spirit in ways [that] nourish you and also have less impact on our planet,” says the editors of practicalyoga.tv. With different sections for weight loss, relaxation, spiritualizing and energizing yoga, there are many different options for you to try.

Everyone is stressed to the max right now. Whether it is the economy, your exam schedule or finding Christmas gifts for your loved ones, everyone deserves to take a second and relax. Practical Yoga provides readers with different meditations, including a 40-day group meditation. Yoga generally takes 40 days to change a habitual thought process or way of life. This meditation will “help you connect to a sense of expansion and possibility for 2009 – remembering that anything good is possible,” according to practicalyoga.tv. Download the free meditation CD and use it every day for 40 days.

Practical Yoga also provides audio clips to listen to while doing yoga. These clips are both inspirational and motivating, especially when it’s used as background sound during exercising. Check this out for a great audio to help you get through your tough times!

If you’re anything like me, you don’t know anything about yoga. No worries. Practical Yoga provides demonstration clips, detailed featured poses and tutorials! Whether or not you’re an expert, you can get something out of Practical Yoga.

As the holiday season approaches, take a breather and check out this website. The lessons you learn there will carry over into your everyday life.

Check out more exercise tips on our website!