When one thinks about the different alternate therapies that are out there today, have you ever thought that the usage of healing crystals is one that many place right there at the top? For those less familiar with the concept, fossilized minerals -- or crystals -- are thought to contain several healing properties. From fighting depression to relaxing the mind, the list of benefits seems to be endless. Not only have crystals been used in ancient forms of medicine and by priests to align the body’s chakras (bodily focal points), but today, athletes tout their healing properties and celebrities vouch for their efficacy. In other words, crystals as a form of self-care is growing in popularity in all areas of life. But why? Is there any truth to their power? Do these little rocks actually help to treat medical conditions, promote healing, and boost energy? Let’s investigate.
The Science Behind Healing Crystals for Fitness, Energy, and Healing
We must admit: It’s a little strange to see the fitness community (which is usually focused on scientific research) embrace an undecidedly unproven trend like the healing powers of crystals. Like other types of alternative therapies, crystals reportedly focus on healing your body from the inside by channeling your energy levels. According to experts, crystals allow fruitful, positive energy to flow into the body while removing the toxic, negative energy. They emit uplifting, calming, energizing vibrations that help you achieve a revitalized physical state of being as well as a more peaceful mind. These vibrations are thought to arise from the special way the crystal’s molecules and atoms interact and move, which supposedly affects our human bodies -- and minds.
Keep in mind that humans have been using stones for energetic purposes and healing by many cultures for thousands of years -- which may be why people are so drawn to them. For example, sacred Indian texts explain the healing properties of crystals and how they can be used to treat illnesses; crystals were used by ancient Egyptians for protection and healing; crystals are often found in Chinese medicine; and ancient Romans and Greeks used crystals in medical treatment and for protection in battle. So, is it really that far-fetched that we are turning to their healing powers in modern days? Maybe, maybe not.
Any athlete knows that physical success -- whether it’s reducing body fat or cutting down your mile time -- requires you to be focused with your head in the game. Anything that can help athletes feel more confident, present, and calm is going to be a huge hit (and gain traction!) in the fitness community. We know that performance and sports are just as much mental as they are physical, which is why many athletes have set rituals or routines they do before stepping on the court or field. For some, crystals are simply a way to get their minds in the right place.
12 Crystals in Fitness for Healing and Energy
If you’re ready to check out the purported power of crystals for yourself, the first step is to think about your immediate fitness, wellness, or health needs and choose a crystal accordingly. After all, people use crystals in many different ways -- and for many different reasons. Some types of crystals are thought to be most powerful when carried with you throughout the day, while others are best used during deep breathing or meditation. From crystals that calm your race-day nerves to stones that send your energy into overdrive, below are 12 crystals (listed in alphabetical order) that every athlete needs in his or her collection.
- Amethyst (Positive Manifestations): Meditating with amethyst can help you to visualize your dreams -- and thus make them more likely to come true! In fact, many meditation techniques involve visualizing your end goal so that you increase the chance of it happening. If that isn’t enough, this crystal is also effective for healing and curbing negative habits, helping to see you through dark, tempting moments in order to make the right choice. It is also used to help counteract the harmful effects of radiation.
- Fluorite (Cleansing & Stabilizing): This crystal absorbs and neutralizes negative energies from the environment and is effective at spiritual body cleansing. Fluorite also increases your powers of concentration, self-confidence and helps in decision-making.
- Green Tourmaline (Increase Focus): If you’re looking to deepen your connection with nature, green tourmaline could be the key. Also known as the “Stone of Happiness and Joy” due to the positive feelings and energy it brings, this feel-good gem has been said to awaken the mind, body, and spirit. It may also help to prevent exhaustion and chronic fatigue as well as heal muscles. In fact, many trainers, professional athletes, and Olympians who use green tourmaline report significant increases in endurance, strength, speed, and self-confidence as well as better recovery times and greater mental focus.
- Howlite (Grounding, Focus & Calm): Howlite is said to be a fantastic stone for getting rid of negative feelings, emotional pain, and post-workout anxiety. Have pre-race jitters the night before you’re supposed to hit the pavement? Hold howlite in your hand to absorb its soothing qualities and calm your nerves. After all, self-doubt will almost certainly stop you from doing what you set out to do. So if you need to feel grounded, focused, calm, and confident, howlite may help in every aspect of your life -- not just fitness.
- Lepidolite (Clears & Strengthens): This crystal mops up EMF (electromagnetic frequencies) from the environment and is excellent when used with fluorite on computers and around cell phones. They can be worn together on a necklace or placed in a pocket when using or carrying your phone. It also helps strengthens the immune system, soothes the nervous system and can be used to restructure DNA. Lepidolite relieves exhaustion and aids in the relief of tension and related disorders.
- Malachite (Cleansing & Transformation): If you’ve ever had a lousy workout or ran a race that didn’t go the way you wanted it to, we’ve been there, too. The feelings after a less-than-stellar performance can linger for some time and perhaps make you question the point of all those logged miles and training hours. However, malachite -- known as the “Stone of Transformation” -- can help to relieve you of that self-doubt. In fact, this emerald green stone acts almost as a deep cleanser for your body, helping to not only alleviate those negative feelings but also get you in the right mindset to keep moving forward.
- Moss Agate (Immunity & Revitalization): A refreshing and cleansing stone, moss agate is known to boost the immune system for optimal health. Other stones to consider for this purpose include ametrine and larimar, which promote self-healing and energy, and rhodonite, which treats autoimmune diseases while balancing and regenerating cells. Many athletes find that labradorite can help to regulate their metabolism and treat infections, while carnelian can revitalize the body by improving the absorption of minerals and vitamins.
- Red Jasper (Endurance & Stamina): Also known as the “Stone of Endurance and Nurturing,” red jasper can be used to enhance mental and emotional stamina as well as physical endurance. It is beautifully aligned with the root chakra and boasts incredible grounding properties while bringing about courage, stamina, balance, and the inner strength of a true warrior. It’s also known for helping the body maintain a strong blood circulatory system.
- Shungite (Protection & Purifying): The glossy, black shungite stone (as well as hematite, pyrite, fluorite, amethyst, black obsidian, and lepidolite) is said to help neutralize energy that comes from the electromagnetic frequency (EMF) from cell phones and other electronic devices. While you can place the crystal near your workout equipment, on your desk or where you use the most technology, the simplest -- and most effective -- way is to wear a piece of jewelry with the stone or tuck it into the pocket of your athletic wear when exercising so that you’re always protected.
- Sodalite (Maintain Focus): Sodalite is arguably one of the most popular crystals for athletes. A powerful grounding stone, sodalite is fantastic for helping to release fears and maintaining focus. Athletes often use sodalite to boost their confidence and help them feel empowered to do what they originally set out to accomplish, whether that is a heart-pounding marathon or a mind-awakening yoga session.
- Super Seven (Combined Energies): It is a crystal made up of seven different gemstones that naturally occur together, Amethyst, Quartz, Smoky Quartz, Cacoxenite, Rutile, Goethite and Lepidocrocite. It is a stone invokes a lot of different feelings and covers many different powers combined, such as creativity, positive energy, stress and anxiety reduction, peace of mind, focus, joy, self-confidence and more. One of the best ways to use this stone is during meditation.
- Tiger’s Eye (Vitality & Action): Think of tiger’s eye as a life coach. It’s the crystal that will tell you to dream big -- and make that dream a reality. Adding a tiger’s eye crystal to your daily meditation may help you to realize a world of new possibilities and guide you through the best way of manifesting and taking action toward your goal. So go ahead -- set those dreams free and sign yourself up for that Ironman competition! With tiger’s eye in your pocket, nothing will stand in your way.
After deciding the type of crystal you wish to purchase, you’ll need to know what to look for when shopping. Knowing a crystal’s lineage is sort of like knowing where the food you eat comes from. Since everything has energy, you want to make sure you have only the most clear, clean, and positive energies in your crystal. Ask the store if they know any physical history about the stone you wish to buy, how they harvest the stones, and where they get them. Most importantly, experts agree that if a crystal is yours, then it will speak to you. Although some report feeling tingling or warmth in their hand, others say they just knew it was supposed to be theirs when they saw it.
How to Use or Wear Your Crystals
Once you have purchased your stones, you’ll want to make sure they’re charged -- regardless of which one you choose. Let it sit on a sunny windowsill or outside in direct sunlight (or even moonlight!) for at least four hours. By allowing it to soak up the light from the sun and moon, you are essentially helping your crystals to hold more energy. Then, in the same way that you need direction to be productive, so does the crystal. Set your intention and give the crystal a job, being as specific as possible. For example, think calming thoughts if you’re looking for more peace and less anxiety. Or, if you’re trying to boost your energy and fitness, visualize how that would feel and imagine what that would look like. Looking to win your next race? Feel your heart race as you see yourself bursting across the finish line!
Once you have your intention and/or goal in mind, sit in a quiet space, hold your chosen stone in your hands, and think about that goal. Don’t rush the process. Take your time. As your mind focuses on what you are looking to achieve with the crystal’s help, the stone is thought to absorb that energy, and it is now activated. You’re ready to go!
Carry or place the crystal however you wish -- hold it in your hand during meditation to help with calm, carry it in a pocket with you to help keep you going or to help win that race, place it near your heart by wearing it in a necklace or tucked safely in your bra, add it to an shelf or altar space in your home, use it during your yoga practice, place it on the windowsill or on your desk... whatever works for you!
Keep in mind that there is no scientific research that says crystals can cure diseases and heal medical conditions, mainly because illnesses are not caused by specific wavelengths or negative energy. However, crystals could have some mental (and maybe even physical!) benefits, thanks to the so-called placebo effect, or belief in that treatment. Much in the way that we put faith in our religious beliefs and in the power of prayer, placing hope in crystals and their healing powers might not be so crazy.
The placebo effect and its benefits are strongly supported by research, and the power of positive thinking - whether it’s because of possibly-powerful stones or not -- has been shown to have a great effect on the health outcomes due to mindfulness. Whether or not you believe in the science of the idea, adding gems into your daily life to increase your confidence and positive energy really can’t hurt.
Like anything related to your wellness and health -- from meditation to yoga to green juice -- crystals can be a helpful addition to your routine, but they are not an end-all, be-all solution nor a substitute for doctor’s orders. Whether you are seeking better recovery after a workout, looking for more energy to take on your newest fitness goals, or simply working toward maintaining your current health and wellness routine, consider whether you may benefit from adding crystals to your life.
Additional Reading & Resources:
- How to Use Meditation for Mental Clarity & Decreased Stress
- FAQs on Breathing Techniques & How Breathing Exercises Can Improve Your Health
- 10 Do-At-Home Brain Exercises That Boost Memory & Mental Health
All SportPort™ activewear garments are unique, signature designs, all Made in the USA. Our passion for excellence is what drives our brand! When you wear SportPort™ activewear, you know you are wearing an original, one of a kind garment engineered to perfection.
With many of us having to exercise safe distancing without compromising our health, we, at SportPort, are taking our work and our gyms home. We thought we’d give you some ideas on how to get the full benefits for creating an easy, comprehensive, at-home workout routine -- no cost, no gym membership needed -- so that we can all stay safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. Here are common household objects, and exercises you can do with them, to get an effective “sweat sesh” (sweat session) right in your own living room!
10 Easy Exercise Objects Already in Your Home
Fortunately, staying healthy and active doesn’t require a gym membership. Believe it or not, your home is probably filled with free exercise machines and objects -- you just need to know what to look for! While you may already have some exercise equipment at home such as stretch bands, a yoga mat, free weights or even a treadmill, the following objects can also double as useful pieces of fitness equipment for a customized at-home workout.
- A Countertop
- A Chair
- A Broom or Mop
- Steps & Stairs
- A Wall
- A Towel
- A Heavy Book
- A Backpack
- A Couch Cushion
At-Home Exercise Ideas That Don’t Require Big, Expensive Gym Machines
- Counter Push Ups: Strengthen your chest and arms by engaging in countertop push-ups. Bend your elbows and lower your straight body closer to the counter, being at a 45-degree angle, stopping when your elbows are by your ribs. These are fantastic exercises to sneak in while you’re waiting for the oven to preheat or water to boil.
- Chair Exercises: Whether you’re practicing leg raises or trying to perfect your squats, a sturdy chair -- without wheels -- is an excellent addition to your routine. Practice tricep dips. For a greater challenge, place your heels on the edge of another chair. Raise and lower yourself until your elbows are bent between 45 and 90 degrees. You can also use a chair for decline push-ups by keeping your feet on the chair and your hands on the floor.
- Broom Stick Tricks: Aside from sweeping, a broom can also work your glutes, hips, and core as well as your legs, buttocks, shoulders, and arms. You can use a staff, bat, cane or long stick too. Using a stick, you can shake things up by adding oblique twists, holding the broom above your shoulder and twisting your core from side to side. Try holding your stick in both hands, arms straight above your head, as you lower your buttocks toward the ground.
- Container Weights: Household items such as milk jugs, laundry detergent containers, water bottles, and soup cans can be used like dumbbells or hand weights. Try to incorporate some kettle-bell swings, overhead presses, tricep kickbacks, or front raises -- all exercises that strengthen your upper back, shoulders, and arms. Put rocks in empty paint cans and use them for squats. Carry jugs of water up and down the stairs. Need less weight? Use a smaller container.
- Stair Steps: Who needs a treadmill or a StairMaster when you have a staircase to use instead? Running or walking up and down the stairs is a fantastic way to exercise your glutes and get your heart pumping -- right in the comfort of your own home. Add weight resistance by carrying a heavy object while you do.
- Wall Exercises: Not only do walls provide stability when you’re stretching, but they are also useful for doing wall push-ups and wall-sits. To work your glutes and quads, keep your back against the wall, assume a squatting position, and push your weight back into the wall as you lower your body, creating a 90-degree angle between your thighs and calves.
- Towel Stretches: Don’t have a stability ball or resistance band? Use a towel for a killer arm workout or to help with stretching. Wanting to work your legs? Lie on a smooth (non-carpeted!) floor in a plank position with a towel placed under each foot. Try to glide your legs apart and back together again. You can also take your workout outside by tossing the towel over a sturdy tree, holding onto each end, and doing some pull-ups.
- Book Weights & Balances: Almost any exercise you do while holding a weight or a medicine ball can be done with a heavy book. Try holding a book when doing weighted sit-ups or weighted oblique twists. You can also sit on a chair with your legs together and outstretched, balance a book on your shins, and slowly raise and lower your legs.
- Backpack Weights: Fill a backpack with canned foods or books, strap it on your back, and wear it around the house while doing chores (bonus points if it’s equipped with a cross-chest strap for extra support!). You can also wear it while doing exercises such as pushups, lunges, and squats or take it off and use the straps to perform shoulder presses, curls, or makeshift kettle-bell swings.
- Cushion Balance Exercises: If you are looking to work on your balance, couch cushions are a great alternative to expensive balance tools, mainly because your body must work harder to stand and stay stable on top of the soft stuffing-filled or foam surface. You can also try doing pushups on them or split squats by placing one foot on the floor and one foot on the cushion.
If you are looking to take your work and gym home with you and you don’t have access to traditional exercise equipment, don’t worry! You can still get your sweat on. As long as you have a few common household objects on-hand (check your garage -- there are many unexpected workout tools in there!), you can piece together a full-body workout to match nearly any gym-based fitness routine. As is the case with any exercise routine -- at the gym or at home -- remember to work at your own pace and fitness level.
An extraterrestrial making its first landing on our planet might easily form the opinion that the seemingly larger-sized human male is biologically superior to the average smaller-sized female. But, upon closer study, they might find that biological disadvantages and advantages can also be equally distributed between the sexes. For instance, while men may be generally be physically larger or stronger than women who have, on average, less total muscle mass, what women lack in physical strength they seem able to make up for in psychological (emotional and mental) strength!
Amazing Woman Spotlight: UltraRunner Courtney Dauwalter
Take 33-year-old Courtney Dauwalter, for example. A female ultrarunner with a reputation for outrunning men and shattering course records, her claim to fame includes winning 11 ultramarathons and finishing second in seven other endurance races, beating out men and women alike. Dauwalter specializes in extremely long races, but her successes have opened a debate about how men’s emotional and mental strengths apply to endurance sports.
A former science teacher from Golden, Colorado, Dauwalter says, “The race is set up perfectly to test your limits. You just go until you reach your own finish line.” And this means going mile for mile against bigger and physically stronger men — and winning. For now, elite ultrarunning is one of the few sports in which women appear able to hold their own with men, and this much is clear: As the distance lengthens, the physical advantages that men have grows smaller.
Evolutionary biologist Healther Heying says, “We know that men are simply bigger and have more muscle mass and are more powerful and faster, [but] this is about stamina, and stamina is some combination of, yes, strength, but also psychological will. It begs the question, ‘Is there something going on for women, perhaps given our very long evolutionary history as mammals who spent a long time gestating and then giving birth, that gives us a psychological edge in extremely long-term endurance events?'”
When thinking about what drives her and allows her to win, Dauwalter believes that, as her threshold for pain increases, so does her ability to run farther. She says, “I put myself in situations where suffering is going to be involved and hope to be able to tap into the mental piece every time that physical pain becomes too much.”
Mental Strength vs. Physical Strength
That mental piece Dauwalter is referring to may be the key to understanding why women might be stronger than men in certain arenas. As a society, we spend a lot of time talking about physical strength. Workout videos generate more than 300 billion dollars a year, newsstands are filled with fitness and weightlifting magazines, and television commercials are dominated by the latest weight loss supplements and fad diets. On the other hand, mental strength has never attracted that much attention. Yet, without mental strength, we probably won’t reach our physical fitness goals — or any other goals, for that matter.
When it comes to ultrarunning, or sports in general, having mental strength is nearly as important for athletes as physical fitness — for both men and women. Being able to battle through the pressure and not bottle it up by being affected by the noise of the crowd or the size of competitors helps athletes to focus on their goals. If the mind is tired, the body will follow no matter what you want to do. If the mind is strong, it can convince the body to keep going.
However, when it comes to high-pressure situations, studies have shown that women could have a psychological advantage over men. For instance, in one study, researchers analyzed more than 8,200 men’s and women’s tennis games and found that men consistently choked under competitive pressure, but with regard to women, the results were mixed. Furthermore, researchers asserted that, “[E]ven if women show a drop in performance in the more crucial stages of the match, [that drop] is still about 50% smaller than that of men.” While tennis is not quite in the same ballpark as ultrarunning, it does lend the question of: Are women psychologically stronger than men and, if so, why?
Some scientists feel it’s biological. According to Alex Krumer, an author of the study and behavioral economics researcher at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, “If you look at the literature on cortisol, the stress hormone, you’ll find that levels of it increase more rapidly in men than in women — in scenarios from golf rounds to public speaking — and those spikes can hurt performance.” Krumer continues, “Physically speaking, men are still stronger than women, on average. But if you’re talking about mental toughness, maybe in certain circumstances, it’s women who have the edge.”
Could this be the reason why Courtney Dauwalter is such a successful female athlete? We believe so! Kim, owner of SportPort™, says, “We love to see and work with women who are determined and passionate about what they do. We are passionate about fitness and health. Passion motivates. That’s what drives us to succeed.”
SportPort™ is excited to witness the amazing female athleticism to be demonstrated at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Stay updated here on what you should know about the women of Team USA as they prepare for Rio.
2016 U.S. OLYMPICS: ABOUT THE WOMEN OF TEAM USA
- 292 WOMEN COMPRISE OVER HALF OF THE 555-MEMBER TEAM USA.
- TEAM USA HAS THE HIGHEST NUMBER OF WOMEN TO EVER COMPETE FOR A SINGLE NATION.
- THIS IS ONLY THE SECOND TIME IN HISTORY THAT TEAM USA HAS MORE WOMEN ON THE ROSTER THAN MEN.
- TEAM USA WILL BE REPRESENTED IN 27 SPORTS.
- 46 STATES ARE REPRESENTED BY TEAM USA.
- THE MOST DECORATED FEMALE ON THE ROSTER IS ALLYSON FELIX WITH 6 MEDALS, 4 GOLDS.
- THERE ARE 11 MOTHERS ON TEAM USA.
- ENGAGED COUPLE, KATELIN SNYDER AND NAREG GUREGIAN, WILL BOTH COMPETE AT RIO IN ROWING.
- FANS CAN USE #HELLOFROMHOME TO SHOW SUPPORT OF OUR U.S. ATHLETES.
FEMALE ATHLETES TO WATCH
- Jillon Potter, survivor of cancer and a broken neck, will compete on the U.S. rugby team.
- Ibtihaj Muhammad will become the first U.S. athlete to compete at the Olympics in a hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women.
RETURNING OLYMPIC WOMEN SEEKING TO DEFEND THEIR LONDON TITLES:
- Kristin Armstrong (Cycling)
- Gabby Douglas (Gymnastics)
- Missy Franklin (Swimming)
- Kayla Harrison (Judo)
- Katie Ledecky (Swimming)
- Aly Raisman (Gymnastics)
- Brittney Reese (Track & Field)
- Kim Rhode (Shooting)
- Claressa Shields (Boxing)
- Jenn Suhr (Track & Field)
- Serena Williams (Tennis)
- Dana Vollmer (Swimming)
- Kim Rhode (Shooting)
- Allyson Felix (Track & Field)
4-TIME OLYMPIC CHAMPIONS
TEAMS SPORTS TO WATCH
- The U.S. women’s basketball team will seek a record sixth consecutive gold medal.
- The U.S. women’s soccer team hopes to continue their gold-medal streak to four consecutive and become the first FIFA Women’s World Cup champion to win the following year’s Olympic title.
- The U.S. women’s water polo team will defend its Olympic title.
- The U.S. women’s rowing team has not lost an Olympic or world championship title since 2006.
- The U.S. women’s beach volleyball team has prevailed since 1996.