Friday, October 11, 2013

Zayna Gold Healing Through Movement

Today I have a guest post from my friend (and first editor) Nancy Kruh. I sent Nancy this DVD because she maintains a regular fitness program but also has had health problems that made her a perfect candidate to test this out. Thanks Nancy!

THE WORKOUT: Zayna Gold Healing Through Movement (Boston Body, $19.95)


WHO CAN DO THIS: Anybody, but it's tailored for people suffering from irritable bowel disorder (IBD) and other chronic digestive disorders.

THE BREAKDOWN: An IBD sufferer herself, Zayna is a Pilates instructor with studios in Boston and other DVDs to her credit. She created this video for people who may not feel like exercising but want to anyway, and for that alone, it's a creative and much-needed product. I've battled gastrointestinal distresses over the years, but -- full disclosure -- I tried out the video when I was feeling fine, so I had to keep a mindset about its purpose as I exercised. What I found was a good balance between caution and challenge. I felt like I'd had a workout, but it definitely didn't do me in, which is the sort of exercise I'm looking for if I don't feel well. It's also the sort of exercise that can help me feel better.

The 45-minute program is divided into four parts: upper body, lower body, full body (which combines the movements of the first two), and a core workout. The movements are mostly traditional exercises -- bicep curls, presses, squats, lunges. Because doing exercises while lying down can be painful for IBD sufferers, you're standing for all the exercises in the first three parts.

Zayna offers a calming, healing presence during the exercises, and she places a huge emphasis on breathing, which definitely helps the body relax and get the full benefit of the movements. This video is touted as Pilates-based, and it works the core, but if you're expecting any attention to flexibility, you'll be disappointed. In her intro, she stresses the importance of keeping the spine "supple and flexible," but there is no stretching in the entire video and only one exercise that requires even the slightest twist of the spine.

THE SWEAT FACTOR: A light glow. More if you choose to repeat any of the parts, as she suggests you do.

BUT IS IT FUN? Only in an "it's good for you" way.

WHEN IT'S OVER: You feel like you've accomplished something, which is a good feeling if you're feeling bad.

GEAR AND APPAREL: Comfortable clothes. Optional: hand weights (you pick the poundage) and mat or towel (for the core workout).

FINAL WORD: You'll probably get the most out of it if you're not feeling well. Otherwise, pick something with more spunk to it.

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