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Alternative gymnastic- the way to cope with workplace stress

31 October 2009 / 11:10:38  GRReporter
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We all know that sport equals health. But more often than not we seem to prefer a cold beer and fries with our friends to a boring cardio or weightlifting. The intensive dance-aerobics and hip-hop dances are an acceptable solution; however, they only become fun after a lot of hard work and training. If you don’t have the patience for all this, “Ta Nea” newspaper is coming up with alternative exercises – gyrotonic, capoeira and tai chi.

Gyrotonics has been practices in Greece for more than 10 years although not widely popular yet. “Gyrotonic is the next step in gymnastic, combining in a particular manner the basic characteristics of different styles of gymnastic,” explains Evita Iliupoulou, a pilates instructor with 18 years of experience who is among the first instructors to introduce gyrotonic in Greece. “Basically, one movement consists of three simultaneous exercises- stretching, twisting and strengthening of the body,” says Iliupoulou who has developed her own style in gyrotonic, adapted to the specific Greek body structure.

Experts say we need to find out about the different styles of gymnastics and then choose the one most suitable for us. Pilates, the recent leader in alternative gymnastic, is a style appropriate for everyone, says the instructor Nikol Koutsi. “Pilates can be accommodated to different body structures and physical abilities but is most suitable for those experiencing physical tiredness during the eight-our workday. It is especially appropriate for people that wish to develop balance of their pose, for example flight attendants,” added Koutsi.

One of the latest hits in the Athenian fitness gyms is the capoeira. It is a traditional Brazilian marshal art practiced to the sound of traditional Brazilian music. It is not a dance, but it’s not pure marshal art either. It combines elements from both, together with acrobatics, songs and choreography, creating the irreplaceable pleasure of capoeira. “It is a non-stop-moving, dynamic exercise which major effect is not so much on the body, as it is on the state of mind, which makes it suitable for people working in a stressful, intense and crowded office environment,” says Paoulinio, one of the capoeira pros in Greece.  

One intelligent solution is the Chinese marshal art tai chi. Unlike most marshal arts, it is a slow-moving, relaxed exercise focusing on the inside rather than on the outside. The first lesson begins with static exercises and is called chi-gong. “The movements don’t express power, kicks of pushes for instance; they are consequent slow and controlled movements,” says Tanos Touralias, an instructor. The positive effects of tai chi are numerous, but it’s certainly not the exercise recommended for body building. It strengthens the muscles with time, but does not make them bigger. It is suitable for people working under stress since it calms the pulse, lowers blood pressure and tension.


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