Tried everything at the gym? Need something new and exciting? How about anti-gravity traverse training in the form of rock climbing or bouldering? Morphe is thrilled to announce the completion of our indoor climbing gym, where you can come in and experience bouldering fist-hand. Bouldering is a style of rock climbing that emphasizes power, strength, and total body awareness. It generally focuses on climbing short distances using short sequences of moves, differing from traditional rock climbing in this limitation of distance and movement, as well as the fact that in bouldering, no ropes are used. Bouldering is widely gaining popularity and indoor climbing gyms are slowly starting to crop up in select locations. Children are also seeing benefits from participating in the sport, and studies have shown that young climbers develop core strength and balance from climbing at a young age, resulting in improved performance in other areas and an enthusiasm for fitness that continues into adult life. At Morphe, we’ve created an indoor bouldering gym with marked routes for climbers of all levels, and we offer classes for adults as well as children aged 6 to 10. Climbing exercises consist of following climbing routes that are actually referred to as problems. And in fact, this exercise really does build problem-solving skills. Repeated frequently, climbing strengthens your ability to come up with movement strategies that also build balance, strength, courage, self-esteem, and a sense of continued accomplishment. This exercise also enhances perception, mental accuracy, and memory, and helps overcome fears and phobias such as fear of heights or fear of falling. The practice also emphasizes the body’s relationship to gravity and the use of one’s own body weight as resistance, both of which are central to the Morphe philosophy. Best of all, it’s FUN! So come on in and play around a little bit. You’ll feel renewed, inspired and reconnected with your own inner strength, power and intelligence.
As both an avid golf enthusiast and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist working with all sorts of athletes for over 15 years, I can attest to the contribution that flex training can add to your golf game. In fact, I’d like to share a story with you of one golfer who lowered his handicap from 20 to 10 in less than a years’ time by working to improve his overall balance, strength, and flexibility. In my work with professional athletes, both targeted at improving general fitness and/or working to rehabilitate injuries, I have learned the benefits that all-around flexibility, balance and strength training can bring to an athlete’s performance. So when Victor came into my studio with the specific goal of lowering his golf handicap, I was prepared to coach him to a whole new level as a golfer. Initially, we incorporated Ultrasound Therapy and P.N.F. (Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation) Stretching, a series of specialized stretching techniques commonly used by clinical therapists, to rapidly improve his overall range of motion and bring fast relief from chronic tendonitis, a problem he’d suffered with for years. We then began working on bio-mechanic strengthening and core conditioning through Gravity Training and Kinesiology, which relieved his chronic lower back pain, a problem he attributed to his long hours of sitting at a desk during his day job. This system also improves balance and overall flexibility while building strength in the entire body, improving rotation and general mobility, maintaining proper weight, increasing muscle tone and definition, and lengthening the spine, improving overall posture. To that, we added Swing Fan Drills, Medicine Ball and Plyometric Workouts, a series of specialized exercises targeted specifically to improving his rotation, swing and golf performance, lowering his handicap from 20 to 10 over a period of 11 months. We also worked to develop a series of appropriate pre and post training exercises to not only improve Victor’s overall performance on the green, but also to decrease his risk of injury and maintain his flexibility, even through his long days at the office. Today, this enthusiastic golfer has found a renewed interest in his favorite sport. His health is greatly improved, as is his game, and he is able to enjoy playing more often, free of pain. A testament to the holistic principle of overall physical conditioning, his is just one more example of what a focused and balanced training regimen can do to benefit any athlete, from beginner, to pro, to weekend warrior.
Hey, have you tried Kombucha yet? It’s an exotic, ancient effervescent drink that some call “mushroom tea” although there are no mushrooms in it. Actually, Kombucha is a sparkling tea drink made from tea, sugar, bacteria and yeast. This mix is then fermented to create a bacterial colony or “mother” and this colony – a slimy, sludgy looking thing - is then brewed with sugar and tea, allowing the mix to ferment. The resulting bubbly beverage tastes a bit vinegary, and contains B vitamins and other nutritional compounds. Many claim that Kombucha tea promotes an array of amazing health benefits such as strengthening and boosting the immune system, preventing the formation of cancerous tumors, lowering harmful cholesterol, relieving PMS, enhancing overall digestion and liver function, and even promoting hair growth. In fact, Kombucha’s recent ascent to the heights of health-nut popularity is part of a larger trend in foods that contain live bacteria or probiotics, which are known to benefit digestion and naturally boost the immune system. Probiotics are those living organisms that feed off the “bad bacteria” in our bodies. So, yes, this is basically good stuff. But, as with everything good, some points need to be acknowledged and taken into consideration. For example, even though Kombucha and/or some variation of fermented tea has been prized as a health tonic in China for over 2,000 years, fermented tea is actually a very acidic drink and should be taken strictly in moderation. Many well-respected health experts have published warnings regarding the excessive use of Kombucha and the possibility of resulting complications such as hyperacidity and the typical side effects seen during detox or “healing crisis” such as skin rashes, headaches and loose stools. And honestly, none of us should take lightly the fact that no real scientific studies have been done to establish that Kombucha does indeed live up to all of its health claims, even though it has been respected as a natural remedy for centuries. So, the best advice is to enjoy the drink in moderation and judge for yourself whether or not it is working for you. At most, enjoy 4 oz. of Kombucha daily, and increase your intake gradually as your body adjusts to the live probiotics. Here at Morphe, we do occasionally brew a bit of the sparkling refreshment. Many of my clients claim that it really does give them increased energy, and more than one has mentioned that the tea has helped tremendously with their digestion. Today, the hippest of foodies and health enthusiasts are cultivating their own “mothers,” and selling or giving away the “daughters” or “kombucha babies” as starter kits for enthusiastic wannabe Kombucha brewers. And many of these new starter kits have also added additional healthful ingredients such as Spirulina and Vitamin C. So if you’re looking to start brewing your own Kombucha, you should have no trouble getting a hold of a good “mother” to help you get started. Just remember that moderation is key with this wonder drink.
Probably the most essential aerobic exercise for the overall well being of the human body is walking. Unfortunately, this is the one activity that most people don’t practice enough. Walking lowers (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol and increases (HDL or “good”) cholesterol. It helps manage blood pressure and diabetes, and reduces your risk for either condition. Brisk walking also releases endorphins, which keep you emotionally balanced and feeling optimistic. Walking trims the waistline by subtly strengthening the core, while also strengthening the muscles and bones in the entire body. Walking is also the form of exercise least likely to lead to injury, particularly if you walk on a footpath that is relatively clear. For maximum spiritual, emotional and physical benefits, take a walk outdoors, surrounded by nature. The most important thing to keep in mind when starting a walking regimen is to wear the right shoes. Look for solid arch support, a firm heel, and soles that are both thick and flexible enough to cushion your feet, absorb shock and allow for proper mobility. If you’re really serious about walking at least a mile daily, you will definitely need a pair of good quality running shoes. Get them at a high-end athletic store and make sure you get fitted professionally. Be sure to stretch gently before and after a long walk, particularly the hamstrings and the muscles of the ankles and feet. A few ankle rotations after a long walk will help relieve the tension built up around the ankle joint. Using a pedometer can help you keep track of the number of steps you are taking, the distance that you have walked, and even the amount of calories and fat that your are burning while walking. This useful tool can help motivate you to meet the goals that you set for your regimen. The best time to take a walk is in the morning or early evening, after your morning and/or evening meal. The regular practice of a nightly one-hour walk right after dinner, as practiced in many European countries, is an excellent aid to digestion, weight-loss and improved sleep.