You guys are going to LOVE the post today because you can enter to win a FREE Week of Aerial classes at Air Fit Charlotte! All you have to do are the following steps;
1. “Like” Running Disney Mom on Facebook and share this post
2. Follow @RunDisneyMom on Twitter and tweet this post
3. Comment on this blog post and let me know when you’ve completed those actions. I will then enter you in a drawing and one lucky winner will win a FREE week of classes at AirFit Charlotte! (No cash value. Sorry, if you are not local to Charlotte you may not redeem for cash or transfer to someone else).
You must enter the contest by September 15, 2015. All winners will be announced on September 16.
You will definitely want to try out Air Fit! Read below for why:
Last week I wanted to try something new because I was experiencing a bit of runner burnout. I hit up Air Fit Charlotte for their barre strength class. I left pouring in sweat, and in love! I have to warn you, barre class is addictive. Barre can’t replace the cardio workout you get with your run, but it’s a great supplemental exercise to build muscle, strength, flexibility and endurance. You can check out my post on Air Fit for more information about their awesome studio!
Here are the top benefits of barre:
The aspect I like the most about barre is that every movement is intentional and mindful. The instructor guides you to make small, specific movements, which help connect your mind to the exercise. Studies show that a muscle can contract without movement if there is a mental connection. In fact, a study by Pirkko Markula (2004) applied Focault’s technologies of the self apply to fitness. Foucult studied how people problemize their identities by becoming more self–reflexive, which can result in changing their condition. Markula found that through applying this same theory to fitness, self-awareness in exercise makes the movements more impactful. This is particularly true in hybrid forms of exercise, such as barre, as movement is combined with breathing and focus. Markula’s reserach found that this form of mindful exercise actually changed body shape and provided body benefits more than any other exercise!
Improves Functional Strength
Barre creates functional strength. Functional strength helps us in every day situations. Think about the difference between performing abdominal crunches, which only work the rectus abdominus, of which there is no function in everyday life, and the horizontal movements in barre. If you think of the movements you make everyday, you’ll find that you move diagonally, side-to-side and conduct multi-plane movements. These are the exercises you’ll find in barre.
Makes you a better runner
Barre will strengthen your core and a strong core is key for runners. Core strength is important because all of your upper-leg muscles connect to your spine and pelvis. If your core isn’t strong, the muscles can’t hold the bones in a stable position. If those bones aren’t stable, then your leg muscles don’t have a strong connect point from which they can contract, which leads to decreased power. I like to use an analogy of our body as a car. We often have lots of power in our engine and our engine isn’t what determines our success in a race. However, a weak suspension system and chassis is often the problem. A strong core is like having a strong suspension system.
The small isolated, isometric movements in barre help improve overall endurance. Because you are often required to hold movements, you are constantly engaging the muscles. The class I took was also fast-paced and had my heart-rate up. It felt like tabata training because our heart-rate got super high, then had a chance to recover after each exercise. The Health Fitness Revolution reported that barre helps make you stronger in addition to improving endurance.
A study by Michelle Sandrey and Jonathan Mitzel (2013) put athletes through a six-week core stabilization training program, designed to benefit track and field athletes. This study found the athletes experienced significant improvement in their endurance, core strength and overall balance. The researchers found that six-weeks is the sweet spot for seeing the results of the core training, as significant changes in core stabilization were not present after only four-weeks. The main message: stick with it!
Barre improves posture and overall flexibility. It can improve the flexibility of tight hip flexors and hamstrings and strengthen your abbuctors, adductors, quadriceps and hamstrings to help your knees and joints more stable. This overall improvement in flexibility improves running mechanics.
All of these benefits don’t even touch on the fact that barre is fun! It definitely helps mix up the workout routine and provide different movements. Air Fit also has great instructors, upbeat music and a beautiful studio. Have you tried barre? What did you think?
Markula, P. (2004). “Tuning into One’s Self:” Foucault’s Technologies of the Self and Mindful Fitness. Sociology Of Sport Journal, 21(3), 302-321.
Sandrey, M. A. and Mitzel, J. G. (2013). Improvement in Dynamic Balance and Core Endurance After a 6-Week Core-Stability-Training Program in High School Track and Field Athletes. Journal Of Sport Rehabilitation, 22(4), 264-271.