We Tried It: Gyrotonic
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Treadmill, stair climber, rowing machine, even yoga and Pilates—they all steer your body to move along an axis. But consider the movements you do in everyday life: reaching for the jar on the top shelf, unloading groceries from the car, or crouching over to tie your shoe. The point: Most functional movements move along more than one plane—they involve rotation and/or level changes. And so should your workout. That’s one reason why I was so interested in trying out Gyrotonic.

Gyrotonic is a training method based in principles of yoga, dance, tai chi, and swimming. Unlike yoga (and most workouts), there’s an emphasis on rotation and spiraling movement that doesn’t have an end point. You use handles and pulleys to enable sweeping, arcing movements, and there’s a fluid quality that goes hand in hand with your breathing (once you get the hang of it.)

Part of the appeal to me personally was that Gyrotonic offers the mind/body benefits of practicing yoga without any of the stillness that can (on some days) make me watch the clock. Regular Gyrotonic practice also builds core strength, balance, coordination, and agility. And I’m just getting started. Here are five more reasons to break out of your forward-facing routine and try Gyrotonic:

1. Counteract “computer back.” Practicing Gyrotonic regularly can greatly improve poor posture by lengthening the spine (so you look taller!) and strengthening the core to take pressure off of the lower back, along with opening the sternum and connecting your shoulders down your back, says Jill Carlucci-Martin, certified Gyrotonic instructor in New York City. “I even have a client who swears she grew an inch from taking weekly sessions!”

2. Eliminate the junk from your body. “The constant motion—arching, curling, spiraling, moving from your core, breathing methods—helps to prevent stagnation in the body by promoting removal of waste and lymph fluids,” Carlucci-Martin says.

3. Whittle your waist. In addition to strengthening the deep abdominal muscles around your waistline, Gyrotonic also helps slim your midsection by improving posture (so you stand taller) and eliminating fluid and bloating from your middle (and everywhere else).

4. Sculpt long, lean muscles. The lighter weights and emphasis on extending and expanding help build longer, leaner muscle.  

5. Focus your mind. “All of the movements engage the whole body and the whole mind, as well as coordinating breath with movement,” Carlucci-Martin says. "Many of my busy city clients love it because for one hour of their day, they come in and have to stay focused. They can't be thinking about what they have to buy at the grocery store or what’s on their schedule for work tomorrow. They always leave feeling refreshed and relaxed but also like they've had a workout, which is a wonderful combination."

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