When it comes to improving your fitness, you have to constantly keep yourself challenged. In weight training, this is done by increasing weight to increase difficulty. With calisthenics, however, it works little differently. Challenging yourself and calisthenics can mean changing the angle, changing the depth of the movement, or looking at different variations of exercises for the same muscle group. Whether you’re lifting weights or doing calisthenics most of us are familiar with dips. When I was starting to increase the difficulty of my dips, I add weights. But taking a step back and taking a better look at the exercise I found that the weights are not necessary. As I progressed I moved from bench dips, to elevated bench dips, to parallel bar dips, the straight bar dips, and eventually Korean dips. Before I would progress from one to the other I made sure I was reaching the maximum depth with proper form to make sure I was maximizing my range of motion. One of the things I love most about calisthenics is the near limitless amount of exercises you can do if you get creative. You can find a video of all these dips here.
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Taijiquan (or tai chi) can be many things to many people. For some it is an exercise, for some it is a meditation and others it is a form of self defense. However when you continue to practice and reach a higher level of training, the above reasons lose their importance. At this time, you need to find the real meaning of your practice or you may become satisfied with your training and lose your enthusiasm for the art. You must start to wonder what is the meaning of this meditative martial art? Daoist practitioners use tai chi in their strive to become immortal where many non-religious practitioners used tai chi to gain a peaceful mind and reinvigorate their lives.
What you need to understand is that Taijiquan emphasizes meditation both in your stillness and your movement. Practitioners like a Buddhist priest trains himself in this meditation to be calm and concentrated. In your training, it is possible for you to achieve a sense of peace and centeredness that will allow you to judge things and events in a neutral way without any emotional disturbance. When you can truly calm and clear your mind, the spiritual side will start to open up. You’ll start to see things more deeply. As a practitioner’s skill increases, they may be able to sense a person’s intentions before they are expressed and you become more capable at looking deeply into people and events in a non-martial way, as well. In the past, many martial art masters were considered wise man and were consulted for their insight into the meaning of human life this world and the universe. Because of their training they learn to live in the world without confusion or doubt and find peace and happiness and all of this comes through meditation and continuous pondering.
In your practice and meditation, you need to concentrate your whole attention in order to develop the higher levels of the art. This concentration and dedication will carry over to the rest of your life and the strive for perfection becomes the real meaning of Taijiquan.
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Did you know that proper sleep, exercise, and diet can help your memory?
Let’s start with sleep. If you want your brain to function properly, then you need to get a good night’s sleep. This particularly helps in the forming of memories. If you want to be able to remember something better, then rehearsing both during sleep as well as while you’re awake helps you to consolidate those memories more efficiently. There used to be an old myth that you could learn while you’re asleep by listening to lectures or learning CDs while sleeping, but sadly this has been found to be false. Sleep deprivation can severely interfere with the functions of the memory section of your brain the hippocampus. So, typically, those sleep deprived lifestyles tend to have issues with retaining memories.
Exercise can be beneficial to a good memory because of the norepinephrine released during exercise. This neurotransmitter plays a huge role in the formation of memories. This doesn’t mean that you have to spend hours at the gym exercising. Even short exercise programs have been shown to help improve memory.
Now, on to your diet. Diets high in DHA particularly fish such as salmon tuna and swordfish which happened to be high in omega-3 fatty acids are actually good brain food. So not only are those omega-3‘s good for your cholesterol but they also help memory cells communicate better resulting in better memory function. Other good foods that can help with memory or things like flaxseed, walnuts, soybeans, and naturally raised beef products.
So if you want to maintain that healthy memory into those later years, then it may be time to sleep right, get your exercise, and eat right.
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