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The Top Health Benefits of Pilates

 

Pilates

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only around 20 percent of the adults in this country meet physical activity guidelines for aerobic and strengthening activity. The key to meeting this requirement, many agree, is for people to find something they enjoy doing. When they can find an activity that they not only enjoy, but that they get health benefits from, too, it’s a win-win situation all the way around. Today, many people are finding that Pilates is the type of activity that keeps them active and healthier.

“Many people are not familiar with Pilates, but once they get started and see what a difference it can make in their health and well being they become hooked,” explains Maria Sison-Wright, a physical therapist, and Pilates and Melt Method instructor as well as the owner of Inner Core Wellness, located in Vienna, Virginia. “It’s all a matter of giving it a try so that you can see just how great it can be.”

Pilates is a fitness program that was first created by Joseph Pilates, a physical trainer, who came to America in the 1920s. He brought with him his fitness program and offered it at his studio until the 1960s. Today, it’s become a popular activity that works the entire body through a series of controlled movements. It engages both the body and mind, using over 500 exercises.

As people become more aware of Pilates, they are also learning more about the health benefits. Here are the top health benefits of Pilates:

  • Reduce pain. There have been several studies conducted that point to the fact that doing Pilates helps bring pain relief. In a recent issue of the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, researchers evaluated results from prior studies involving Pilates and pain and concluded that there was pain relief and functional improvement attributed to participants doing Pilates.
  • Improve flexibility. In a study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, researchers reported that an 8-week program using Pilates had a beneficial effect on flexibility, balance, and abdominal muscle endurance.  Those who want a strong core will find that Pilates helps them achieve their goals.
  • Reduces stress. Pilates is a program that involves both the mind and body and is calming, helping many people to reduce stress. People find that it helps with improving mental concentration and enhancing body awareness. It’s a great way for people to relax after a busy work day and provides some quality down time.
  • Improve posture. Pilates helps to improve posture, as well as increase circulation and endurance. It is also beneficial for toning and building lean muscles.

“Pilates is challenging, it’s rewarding, and it’s open to anyone who wants to give it a try,” added Sison-Wright.  “To quote Joseph Pilates, ‘Change happens through movement, and movement heals.’ Those who are looking for a great program that they will enjoy and will bring them a range of benefits should give it a try. They will be surprised at how engaging and rewarding Pilates is.”

What makes Pilates unique is that it works the entire body with the concept of integrated stretching, strengthening and control. Pilates creates length with stability, as opposed to compression with stability. Therefore, it applies less stress to the joints and spine. You not only improve your core strength, you also improve your flexibility and have an increase in body awareness as well. You can apply the principles of what you learned in Pilates to your daily activities whether at work, sports or at the gym.

Inner Core Wellness is a Romana’s Pilates Studio, offering Pilates classes, with most people taking at least two classes per week. It is recommended that people do it 2-3 times per week consistently to achieve the benefits. In addition to Pilates, Inner Core Wellness offers physical therapy, the Melt Method, events, and workshops. To learn more, visit their site at: http://www.innercorewellness.com.

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About Inner Core Wellness

Located in Vienna, Virginia, Inner Core Wellness is owned by Maria Sison-Wright, a physical therapist for over 26 years, Certified Romana’s Pilates Instructor and Full Melt Method instructor. The center offers private and semi-private sessions in Pilates, the Melt Method, and events and workshops. They specialize in the Classical Pilates, the original method as passed on by Joseph Pilates and Romana Kryzanowska.  The studio also offers the Melt Method technique, which is a self treatment technique that helps prevent pain, heal injury, and improve active aging.

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How to stop hating your own body image: Tips from a Neuropsychologist

 

Diet

Psychologists use the term ‘body image’ to describe our internalized sense of what we look like. This can be thought of as a mental representation or map of our body, against which we judge our external appearance. For most of us, there is a relatively good match between what we think we look like (subjective appearance) and how we appear to other people (objective appearance).

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a Manhattan neuropsychologist. She says that, “To some extent our body image is idealized (based on how we would like to look). It is also based on a mirror image of our actual appearance. Other people see animated or moving images, whereas we view our own image mainly through photographs or mirrors where our expression is still. Body image also changes as we get older.”  As a woman Dr. Hafeez understands the perils that gals fall into in our Instagram, Facebook and Photoshop society.

The following are some tips from Dr. Hafeez on how to love yourself more.

Forget the diet hype.

People who constantly diet have a higher risk of developing eating disorders, are more likely to binge eat and cause a domino effect of physical and mental health issues that include depression, irritability, anxiety, digestive problems and metabolic syndrome. Looking and feeling good are common sense. Eating right, regular exercise and sleeping are your weight control keys to success! 

Put body image in perspective.

Instead of spending so much time obsessing over your outer self – consider focusing your attention on education, hobbies and socializing with your friends. Keeping your mind engaged will help you notice others with the same interests. Working to get fit and healthy is an admirable goal but it should never consume your life.

Know your body and accept it.

Perhaps you inherited your mother’s larger hips or your father’s height and broad shoulders. Our genetics are a strange cocktail that are unique to every person and learning to love your body is the first step in working with your particular body size and shape. Having the same size and weight goals of a person six inches shorter or taller than you is unrealistic and setting yourself up for failure. You may be the same height as a friend who is a perfect size six but may have a much larger build. Don’t diet to fit anyone else’s expectations. It is YOUR  body, YOUR  health and you are the only one who has the right to dictate what is “right” for you. 

Celebrities are not “average” people!

Remember that most celebrities are paid based on how they look on camera. They have an entire team of people who make sure they eat right, exercise and take care of their skin and hair. When they become pregnant or go through a tough time, they have a team of people who helps them drop the weight fast and get back to “camera weight” without the distractions the average person has. Many celebrities have spoken out about suffering for years with eating disorders, emotional problems and drug addiction to maintain their public image. 

Focus on what you have the power to change.

Rather than spending your energy on wishing you were taller, redirect your focus on something you can change, like toning up with a yoga or Pilates class, or honing one of your talents. Then celebrate with a new handbag. 

Surround yourself with beauty.

Creating a beautiful environment at home or in your work space will provide a greater sensual experience, which is what we all crave. Keep fresh flowers on your desk or table, add some silk pillows to your sofa, play your favorite music while cooking dinner, and drink mineral water out of a nice wine glass! 

Ask for help if you need it. Surround yourself with positive people who lift you up – who contribute to your happiness – and look to them when you falter in your goals. Whether you need help sticking to a healthy eating plan, a buddy to workout with, a personal trainer to show you how to do the exercise that is right for you or someone to discuss emotional issues with – ask.

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About the author

Dr. Sanam Hafeez is a New York City based Neuropsychologist and School Psychologist.  She is also the founder and director of Comprehensive Consultation Psychological Services, P.C.  She is currently a teaching faculty member at Columbia University. 

Dr. Hafeez’s provides neuropsychological educational and developmental evaluations in her practice.  She also works with children and adults who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), learning disabilities, autism, attention and memory problems, trauma and brain injury, abuse, childhood development and psychopathology (bipolar, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, etc.…) In addition, Dr. Hafeez serves as a medical expert and expert witness by providing full evaluations and witness testimony to law firms and courts.

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Step up your workout routine with MaxiClimber

 

Workout

I have a confession to make – I hate to exercise. I’m OK with walking and swimming, but aside from that, I am not a fan. My plump body is a good indication of that.

It’s not that I don’t want to exercise. I do (to some degree). It’s just that I feel very self conscious about working out in our condo complex gym. I’m not in shape at all and I feel like people are staring at me, or mocking me, when I work out. For this reason I rather work out in the comfort of my own home – away from the snickering and judging.

We used to have an exercise bike. It was fine and I used it faithfully for a long time. Unfortunately it took up way too much room in our living room and there was no where we could push it out of the way. We ended up getting rid of it.

Another time we had a Gazelle. It worked great and my whole family used it. After a while it started to squeak – A LOT. My husband put WD40 all over it but it didn’t work. It also took up too much room. We ended up giving it to our neighbor.

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Without any equipment (aside from videos and hand weights) I haven’t exercised much at home with the exception of taking the dog for a long walk. My daughter uses a hula hoop to exercise with but I can’t use that. I don’t know how to hula hoop.

I’ve been on the look out for a piece of equipment that could provide me with an all over workout, was affordable, and would take up very little space when not in use.

One day I was pitched information about a new piece of equipment I have never heard of before – the MaxiClimber.

MaxiClimber engages all major muscle groups to burn calories and build muscle, utilizing the same movements as rock climbing. The easy-to-setup vertical climber is a total body workout that can help you sculpt lean, sexy legs, rock-hard abs and toned, and strong triceps and biceps. By using your own body weight as resistance, MaxiClimber gives a great cardio and strength training workout without putting stress on the lower joints of your body.

Key Features

It sounded interesting. I like that it’s a total body workout. I also like that it doesn’t put stress on your joints and it’s a great cardio workout (getting your heart pumping is key to a successful workout).

MaxiClimber was kind enough to send me one to review.

When it arrived I was at work. My teenager daughter (who loves to work out) saw the box and asked me if she could open it up. I asked her not to because I worried about her losing any of the pieces. She didn’t listen to me. When I got home the MaxiClimber was already set up. It arrives pretty much assembled.

When assembled (and closed) the MaxiClimber doesn’t look like much. It’s tall and not too wide. When it is opened  you can see what that MaxiClimber is all about.

I think this video by MaxiClimber shows you what MaxiClimber can do for you.

 

Both of my kids hopped on it and used it with no problem. In fact my daughter works out on it regularly. I’m very impressed that she is so committed to exercising.

I have to admit that I was very intimidated by it when I saw it set up. I didn’t think my 250+ pound body could use it without it tipping over. I cautiously used it the first few times until I felt confident enough that it wasn’t going to tip over on me.

THIS IS A WORKOUT! Oh my! I can barely do 10-15 minutes on the MaxiClimber without my heart beating out of my chest and building up a sweat.

MaxiClimber

The first few times I used it I felt it the next day. I hurt! That is because I was not used to such and intense workout. My arms, legs, butt and sides hurt. Thankfully the more I used it the better I was and the less I felt it the next day.

It doesn’t look like it will give you much of a workout – but it does. It works out almost your entire body with just this one machine. This includes your upper, lower and core.

Compared to other household exercise equipment (treadmills and bikes), the MaxiClimber helps you to get a more intense, overall workout helping you to burn more calories, tighten and tone your body.

MaxiClimber

One feature I REALLY like about the MaxiClimber is that it folds up easily and can be pushed into a corner or a closet to get it out of the way when not in use. You can’t easily do that with an exercise bike and most treadmills are too bulky.

We live in a tiny condo so space it at a premium in our home. Being able to tuck the MaxiClimber out of the way is a huge selling point for me. It’s also light enough to move around. My daughter is petite and has no problem moving the MaxiClimber around.

I have to admit that I’ve slacked off a bit the past month using the MaxiClimber. Between end of the school year stuff (finals), our daughter’s senior prom (looking for the dress, shoes, hair, makeup…) and graduation I have been on teh go-go-go pretty much all month long. I was so overwhelmed by everything the day after graduation (a Saturday) I slept pretty much the entire day to make up for a month of running all over the place.

Make sure you wear good sneakers when using this equipment. Do not try and do it barefoot. I did and it HURTS! You need to wear good shoes. It’s also safer that way too.

Please ignore my son's backpack and bed pillow on the floor in front of the climber. As you can see it tucks out of the way. Normally it's on the other side of the dresser against the wall. Our daughter had used it and didn't put it back (thus the reason why my son threw his backpack in front of it - that is where he puts his backpack normally).

Please ignore my son’s backpack and bed pillow on the floor in front of the climber. As you can see it tucks out of the way. Normally it’s on the other side of the dresser against the wall. Our daughter had used it and didn’t put it back (thus the reason why my son threw his backpack in front of it – that is where he puts his backpack normally).

Now that things have settled down a bit I am going to use the MaxiClimber on a regular basis. I plan on starting out with 10-15 minutes 3-4 times a week then gradually increase the work out time and days. Ideally I’d like to reach 30 minutes per day 6 days per week. That is an easily obtainable goal to have.

Even my son who doesn’t like to work out at all will use the MaxiClimber. He likes that he can still watch TV while using it. Not exactly the right motivation, but at least he’s moving.

We love our MaxiClimber. You get to work out almost all of your major muscles with just one piece of equipment that can be easily stored away when not in use. It’s a win-win situation if you ask me.

If you would like to learn more about MaxiClimber visit their official website, MaxiClimber.com. You can also follow them on social media (all of the links are found at the bottom of their website).

What do you think about MaxiClimber? Does it look like something you would like to workout with? Feel free to share your thoughts.

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Kimberly

*I received a free sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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baladea fitness + wellness system

 

baladea fitnes system

Can you believe it’s almost officially the summer season? That means plenty of days spent pool side or on the beach. For some people that can be one of the most difficult things to deal with.

When it comes to the long, cold winter months many of us tend to put on weight. That is OK when you are buried under layers of clothing, but when it’s time to shed your winter clothing and put on a bathing suit, many of us are frantic to lose weight and get in shape as quickly as possible to be bikini (or bathing suit) ready.

There are a lot of exercise programs on the market – probably more than I can count. Some are fine where as others are not worth a dime. I have tried many over the years and have found some that work really good and others that have been a total waste of my time.

I am an obese person who does very little exercise, except taking the dog for a walk. We also live in a condo so I cannot do things like jumping jacks and bouncing around because the floor shakes and I’m pretty sure the downstairs neighbors would not be to keen about their ceiling vibrating either. For that reason I opt for exercises that are more laid back and not very “high octane.”

I was sent to review a while back the baladea fitness + wellness system (it’s spelled with lower case letters).

baladea-Fitness-and-Wellness-System

Created by celebrity trainer Holly Perkins, baladea is the smarter way to slim down, tone up, and feel energized. Why does baladea work? New scientific studies show that stress reduction and relaxation can significantly improve weight loss. baladea takes full advantage of this discovery by fusing fitness and wellness into one wildly-effective combination.

The full system consists of several DVDs, booklets and other goodies.

  • 8 effective DVDs: Introduction hello, calm, flow, yoga, advanced, fusion, slim, and power
  • Premium resistance band + bag
  • Lifestyle guide: Exclusive success secrets and expert advice to help you succeed and stay motivated
  • Nutrition guide: Easy-to-follow and calorie-counting-free! Losing weight has never been more delicious
  • Three workout calendars: Pick your goal: Maximum weight-loss, complete well-being, or minimum time investment
  • Online community: Access to exclusive articles, the best recipes, expert tips, and much more

I like using DVDs to work out to. They are easier to see than trying to watch them off my computer.

I like that there are different DVDs for different types of work outs. I was surprised to see a yoga DVD and one that teaches you about de-stressing (calm).

The host, Holly Perkins, it likable. She’s not one of those annoying personalities that bother you like nails on a chalkboard. I have experienced work out DVDs where I simply cannot stand the host/hostess and I find it difficult to work out in that situation.

There are a nice mix of workouts for you to choose from (DVDs). The system also gives you workout calenders to suit your needs. For me, someone who is obese and never works out, I needed to make “baby steps.”

I found that the workouts were a bit too long for someone like me. I have to do them in “mangeable chunks.” If you are someone who works out regularly, or have in the past, then you should be able to follow along nicely. For “couch potatoes,” this might be a bit harder to follow along with.

For this reason I have had to “tweak” the program to work for me. I pop in a DVD depending on what I want to do. If I just want some easy exercises I’ll pop in calm or yoga (I’m not really that “bendy” for some of the yoga workout).

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My daughter, who is more physically fit and exercises on a regular basis (including working out at the gym) can follow along with this program a lot easier than I can.

I like the resistance band. I’ve always enjoyed that as a form of exercise. You get a decent workout without putting too much strain on your body. I also like how there are several different exercises you can do with the band so that you don’t get bored working out with it.

The lifestyle and nutrition booklets are a nice addition to the system, although most of the information is pretty much common sense stuff and information that most people already know. None the less it’s a nice addition to this set for those who have no formal experience healthy eating and exercise.

As far as DVD workout programs go, the baladea fitness + wellness system is a nice option. It gives you a nice assortment of workouts to keep you from getting bored, and the exercise band is a great little piece of equipment that you can take with you where ever you go.

If you would like more information pleas visit baladea.com.

Fitness System

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Join Gorton’s and Spark People’s 30 Day “Realistic Resolution” Challenge

 

2015

It’s a brand new year. Chances are you might have set some goals or resolutions for 2015. Most people set out to make positive changes in the new year.

I don’t believe in resolutions, but I do try and set realistic goals for myself. I also break my goals down into monthly goals rather than a big yearly goal because I think it’s more manageable that way.

Loosing weight, eating healthy and exercising more are popular goals/resolutions for many people. I’m one of them. Every year I say to myself “This is the year I FINALLY lose weight.”

I’ve been obese pretty much all my life. I’ve done every diet imaginable. I have found that most are just “quick fixes” and as soon as I go off them I gain the weight back – and more.

The ONLY way to lose weight and keep it off is to change the way you eat. There is no “magic pill” – only quick fixes. If you want the weight to come off – and stay off – you need to eat healthy, drink plenty of water, get your beauty sleep and of course exercise.

You DON’T have to give up all your favorite foods. Everything is “OK” in moderation and if you allot for it. For example, you can have your grandma’s chocolate chip cookies – just don’t eat five of them. One or two is sufficient. And if you opt for those cookies, make an effort to squeeze in a little more exercise to make up for it. That can be as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator or parking your car in the back of the parking lot at the store instead of looking for a spot right in front of the door.

You don’t need diet pills, diet foods or $$$ gym memberships. You just need to approach weight loss realistically.

Have you heard of SparkPeople.com? Spark People is an online weight loss community that can provide you with support, inspiration, recipes and more. Best of all it’s free to join.

Spark People Challenge

To help kick off the new year, Spark People has created the 30 day Realistic Resolutions Challenge.  The challenge includes four weeks of meal plans, 30 mini challenges and even support on social media. Simply use or search for the official hashtag #RealisticResolution (Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest). You can learn and get inspiration from others, as well as share your tips and tricks with others. You can even get daily emails sent to you if you are interested in that option.

One food that is great to enjoy when you are on a healthy eating plan is fish. I love fish! I would eat fish every day if it was possible. My husband only likes canned tuna and my son will only eat canned tuna and fish sticks. My daughter, thankfully, enjoys a variety of fish. In fact she eats fish several times a week, mostly for lunch or if I made a dinner she doesn’t like. Her favorite is Gorton’s Salmon.

Gorton’s has a variety of better for you options including baked and grilled fish. The fish is quick and easy to make (either pop it in the oven or microwave). It also tastes great.

I have purchased other fish products and often the fish tastes less than palatable. We’ve even thrown away fish I’ve purchased because it either tastes like it’s been sitting in a freezer for years or it has no taste. With Gorton’s I know we’ll be enjoying fresh tasting, flavorful fish.

I grew up on Gorton’s. Like my son I loved (and still do) fish sticks. I only remember my mom buying Gorton’s.

Gorton’s sent me a wonderful package to help me start off the new  year eating right. The package included some product coupons, an exercise DVD, insulated bag (to carry home my Gorton’s products in) and two books – The Spark Story (an inspirational look behind Spark People) and an awesome Spark People cookbook.

My daughter was especially excited to have the product coupons, because like I mentioned earlier, she eats fish several times a week for lunch.

Salmon

Gorton’s offers consumers forteen perfectly portioned, protein packed products – three of which are Gluten free!

Check out some of their varieties including Simply Bake Tilapia, Haddock and Salmon.

Did you know that fish provides your body with heart healthy Omega-3.

If you are looking to start off the new year eating healthy and taking care of YOU, you should join the 30 Day Realistic Resolution Challenge. What’s more, Gorton’s fans can participate in the Gorton’s “Eat Smarter” Sweepstakes for a change to win a $500 weekly prize or the $5,000 grand prize.

For more information about Gorton’s visit Gortons.com. You can also find the brand on social media (all links are found on their home page).

For more information about Spark People visit SparkPeople.com. I am not sure if they have a social media presence.

Do you plan on joining the 30 Day Realistic Resolution Challenge?

What is YOUR favorite Gorton’s product?

What tips/tricks do you have for losing weight?

Feel free to share your thoughts. I always love to hear from readers.

Gortons-Logo

Kimberly

*I received a free “kit” in exchange for my participation. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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Get in shape in the new year with Gaiam

 

Cherry red summer apple isolated on white

Let’s face it… it’s that dreaded time of year where we need to narrow down our resolutions for 2015. Most people (even though they won’t admit it) often resolve to eat healthy, lose weight and exercise regularly. I have to admit I am one of those people.

I actually don’t make resolutions. I feel like they set you up for failure. Instead I like to set reasonable goals for myself.

Losing weight, eating healthy and exercising are ALWAYS my goals for any new year. I just lack the motivation to do them. Sigh…

If exercising and getting in shape is one of your resolutions you’ll need some great work out apparel. Some ladies also would like “cute” work out gear for those trips to the gym. LOL!

Gaiam has an apparel line specifically designed to be lightweight and warm, which is great for the cold weather months ahead of us for most people.

Gaiam’s apparel features breathable, quick-drying performance wear made from the softest fabric possible—so you’ll stay cool and dry during your workout, but won’t feel the chill on your way home.

In addition, Gaiam’s apparel line is built for a life in motion, with body-friendly designs that fit and flatter from any angle – and in every pose.

Here are just a few items available from Gaiam which will make working out in the new year more comfortable and fashionable.

Leggings

Curve Legging ($78.00)

The yoga-specific fit hugs your curves and follows every movement; Wide 3″ comfort waist band with hidden key pocket and anti-chafe seams extend the comfort.

Tank

Petal Back Racer Tank ($64.00)

This fun, flattering tank has an on-trend cowl neckline, integrated shelf bra with removable cups and back panels designed to help you extend your reach. Mesh back inserts for zoned cooling. 

Follow My Line Jacket

Follow my Line Jacket ($98.00)

Soft and breathable with a snap collar cowl neck and handwarmer pockets. Two way adjustable zipper, edge stitching, a curve-enhancing pleated back and long arms with petal cuffs.

Infinity Scarf

 

Infinity Scarf ($34.00)

The generous length creates warmth and multiple wearing styles. Inside zipper pocket cleverly stashes key, card or phone. Made with two types of fabric. 

MWBelt

Many Ways Belt ($34.00)

Made from soft, stretchy cotton, this reversible belt/skirt has ruched outer seams and a wicking lining. Make it narrow to cinch in your waist or pull it down for a layered skirt look.

Cinch Wrap

Cinch Wrap ($70.00)

This loosely structured layer is made from a softly textured heather knit fabric with an adjustable fit you can play with: an open neckline with drawcord fabric tie and adjustable length sides with self-ties that change the shape of the integrated pockets.

If only they came in my size. Then again, I don’t think I’d look as good in them as the models.

My daughter enjoys working out. She visits the gym in our condo complex on a regular basis. I commend her on that.

My daughter has the Organic Cotton Throw Wrap from Gaiam.

Cotton Wrap

Currently her wrap is rolled up in a ball and shoved in her drawer (got to love teenagers!).

The wrap is very light weight. I wouldn’t think it would keep you warm but my daughter says it does help her stay warm when she’s working out on the treadmill.

My daughter has a condition called Raynaud’s. Its an autoimmune disease. She tends to be cold all the time. Even in 70 degree weather she can feel cold. Her hands are ALWAYS like ice cubes. He skins also turns snow white (literally – WHITE!) when she’s cold, most especially her hands. Even in weather most people feel comfortable in she needs to wear a sweater or sweatshirt. She NEEDS a wrap like the Organic Cotton Throw Wrap from Gaiam. Its lightweight weight and doesn’t interfere with most of her exercises at the gym. It helps keep the chill off. This will be especially helpful when it’s warmer outside and they crank up the AC in the exercise room.

She likes the wrap. I’ve even seen her wear it to school and out with friends as if it was a regular wrap and not work out wear.

It feels very soft, and as I mentioned, it’s very lightweight. It’s a wee bit long for her (she’s very petite) but she doesn’t mind. It also rolls up very small so she can tuck it in her school bag and take with her on days she has gym.

If you would like to learn more about these and other Gaiam workout apparel visit www.Gaiam.com. You can also find their social media links on the bottom of their website.

gaiam-logo

Kimberly

*I received a free product sample in order to do this review. There was no compensation. The opinions expressed are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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