Holiday Eating No Weight Gain?

Holiday EatingCan you really enjoy holiday eating with no weight gain?

Well, when we think of the holidays the first thing that comes to mind is holiday eating and the fear of weight gain. That’s because we always have a few treats up our sleeves. And we do gain weight.

But, preventing this phenomenon of holiday eating is not as hard as you think. You don’t have to starve, deny yourself favorite holiday dishes or do heavy-duty compensation workouts.

 Holiday Eating With No Weight Gain: Some Pointers

If you are the one cooking, you are more in control of what is going to be placed on the table.

So you can choose equally delicious lighter recipes. But, if you are visiting friends and family all bets are off and your radar needs to be on. It’s all about portion control.

Don’t wait till the second piece of pie gets offered. Pre-planning is key. In some cases you’ll know from past experience what the menu will be. Even if you don’t, assume there will be a barrage of excess temptations. Excess is the operative word. Enjoy but not to excess.

Whether you count calories, points, or eyeball your portions, eat half of what you think you should eat. If you are not sure of a particular food or treat, pass on it, or just take a bite to see if it is worth the calories. If you find yourself hungry after all of this, you can eat a little more or maybe you’ve actually saved room for that dessert.

You can visit, enjoy the company, make merry and have a smug sense of self-assurance that this whole season will pass without you gaining even a pound. Who knows, you might lose weight.

That brings me to your insurance policy. If you don’t exercise regularly this is definitely the time to start and get a jump on your New Year, New You. If you do, make time for it. You don’t have to do extra but don’t make the excuse you’re too busy at this time of year.

Cardio exercise is great calorie burner, and we all know that a half hour of moderate aerobic exercise a day can reduce one’s chance of heart attack by a whopping 50%.

See how I snuck in my pitch for exercise? I am not suggesting anything that I don’t do myself. It works for me and I bet it will work for you.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. And let me know if you were able to enjoy holiday eating without weight gain.

Happy Holidays!

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Cancer Exercise Programs

Cancer Exercise ProgramsCancer Exercise Programs

Studies show that about one third of cancer deaths each year are related to an unhealthy diet and not enough exercise. On the other hand, not smoking, eating well, and getting plenty of exercise are the most important things we can do to prevent cancer.

 

Cancer Exercise ProgramsCancer Exercise programs can help to control your weight and stabilize hormones. The same 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day that reduces your risk of heart attack by 50% can also reduce risk breast and colon cancer.

 

 

Cancer Exercise ProgramsControlling your weight helps to reduce the risk of breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, and kidney cancers. Healthy low fat diet of fiber, fruits and vegetables is also a major factor in reducing cancer risk.

Cancer Exercise Programs

Easy aerobic exercise has been shown to increase hemoglobin levels, reduce inflammation, lessen fatigue, and keep muscles in shape for better every day activities. Also you can increase self confidence, reduce depression and aid in recovery of surgery. Here are some aerobic exercise suggestions. Click each picture for info.

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Other research has shown cancer exercise programs that involve strength and flexibility exercises have helped patients return to a normal activity level sooner. Click the Strength and Flexibility video pictures to choose the right program for you.

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Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed kind of cancer and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among all Americans. Using sunscreen and not smoking make these two cancers largely preventable.

For women, the second most deadly cancer is breast cancer, third is colorectal cancer. Among women’s reproductive cancers, cancer of the endometrium – the tissue lining the uterus – is the most commonly diagnosed, followed by ovarian, vaginal, and vulvar cancers.

Breast cancer. Age and hormones play a big role in prevention of reproductive cancers in women. The hormone estrogen (and subtypes, such as estradiol) has a lot to do with breast cancer, although scientists are still exploring why. New research studies are finding that young girls who get plenty of exercise and eat calcium and soy foods may have lower risk for breast cancer later in their lives. Pre-menopausal women have lower risk if they have had children and breast-fed children; for this age group, being overweight seems not to be as great a breast cancer risk as it is for post-menopausal women who gain weight. Weight gain also adds risk of recurrence for overweight breast cancer survivors.

Exercise and social support seem to increase the life expectancy of breast cancer survivors, preventing recurrence. Monthly self-exams and annual mammograms are vital in detecting breast cancer early enough to treat it, so that a patient’s survival is as great as possible. More exacting screening methods, including sentinel node biopsies (removal of small bits of tissue likely to reveal cancer) and mammograms better able to penetrate dense breast tissue that can hide cancer, are improving detection and making earlier treatment and longer survival possible. Breast cancer symptoms include:

• Lump or thickening of the breast
• Breast pain
• Dimpling or puckering of the skin
• Change in skin color or texture
• Change in breast shape
• Swelling redness or heat
• Discharge from or retraction of the nipple
• Scaly skin on or around the nipple

Cervical/Uterine Cancer. Cervical cancer is one of the few types of cancer (liver cancer is another) that develops as the result of a virus. PAP smear tests to detect cervical cancer have been greatly improved in the past few years. Regularly getting a PAP smear is the best method of detecting cervical cancer. Abnormal bleeding, especially in post-menopausal women, may be a sign of these cancers, but may also be a sign of other disorders that are not cancer. Premenopausal women may have heavier than normal bleeding. Pelvic pain (except cramping) and urination difficulties also are possible symptoms.

Ovarian Cancer. Ovarian cancer is difficult to detect before it has spread to a stage where it is usually fatal. Symptoms may include constant abdominal bloating and gas in the digestive system. Other symptoms may be the same as for cervical/uterine cancer, described in the previous paragraph.

Cancer treatments are improving. Although the side-effects of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation can still be devastating and very unpleasant, all of these therapies are being more finely tuned and made less dangerous as better technology is developed. More studies are showing effective combination treatments. Many cancers are becoming more manageable over a long-term with healthy habits and watchfulness, instead of the automatic death sentence they used to be. However, some hard-to-detect cancers, including ovarian and pancreatic cancer, have often spread too far before they can be treated.

It is important to keep up with new developments in cancer treatment and other care options. Here are some reliable resources on cancer, exercise, nutrition & support for women:

National Cancer Institute

Ovarian Cancer National Alliance

National Ovarian Cancer Coalition

American Breast Cancer Association

American Cancer Society

American Institute for Cancer Research

Cancer Care

National Women’s Health Foundation                                              

Medical Fitness Network

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Strength Exercises Outdoors

Try these strength exercises outdoors to jumpstart your strength exercise program this Fall.. You can enjoy the weather while getting leaner and stronger with these easy strength exercises.  No equipment necessary!

Take a look at these easy strength exercises on video!

And here are all the exercises written out!

Strength Exercises Outdoors

Here are five easy exercises to tone you up; no equipment necessary. Try doing them every other day. For the first three start with eight reps and build up to 16. For the last two (isometric exercises) hold for 10 seconds and build up to 30 seconds. With all these exercises, remember to exhale on the exertion.
In a matter of a few weeks you should feel your body getting stronger and see it get shapelier.

Warm-up by taking a 10-minute walk. By the tenth minute, it should be brisk enough for you to just barely carry on a conversation.
Stop at a wall, a tree or a fence, and do these five exercises: two for your upper body and three for your lower.

Strength exercises

Mirabai Holland Standing Pushup

Standing Push-ups: Stand facing a surface, with legs hip width apart and place hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself down to the surface and then push back

Strength exercises
SQUATS: Face surface, legs hip with apart. Hold on for balance. Shift weight back into heels. Keeping back straight, abs pulled in; gently bend at the knees and squat to about a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then, using just your leg muscles, return to an upright position.
Muscles worked: Front of thigh (Quads), Back of thigh, (Hamstrings) Buttocks, Abs

Strength exercises
Wall Sit: Stand against surface for back support. Holding on as needed for balance, slide down to a sitting position against wall, knees at about a 90-degree angle. Pull your abs in and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Thighs and Abs

Strength exercises
Calf Raises: Face surface and hold on for balance. With feet together pointing straight ahead, slowly lift your body up on to your toes, while tightening calf, abs and buttocks muscles. Then slowly lower yourself back down again. Muscles worked: calves, abs, and buttocks.

Strength exercises

Upper Back Squeeze: Stand with your back to the surface, feet shoulder width apart.  Place hands behind you on surface. Straighten your arms behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Back, Shoulders, Back of arms (Triceps)

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Cancer and Exercise

Cancer and ExerciseCancer and Exercise: Best exercises for Cancer Patients?

In my health coaching practice, I consult with women who want to exercise but have health issues that make them uncertain as to how much they should do. Recently I had a client who said, “I am recovering from breast cancer. I finished my chemotherapy a few weeks ago and though I still feel weak, I was wondering if I should start exercising again?” And this is what I told her.

If your doctor says you’re up to it, you can get started. Best Exercises For Cancer Patients: according to ACSM (American College of Sports Medicine)

Cancer and Exercise

The best exercises for cancer patients is a combination of the three major components of fitness: Cardio, Strength and Flexibility. These types of exercise can have a positive impact on cancer patients and survivors. Easy aerobic exercise for cancer patients, has been shown to increase hemoglobin levels, reduce inflammation, lessen fatigue, keep muscles in shape for better every day activities, increase self confidence, reduce depression and aid in recovery of surgery.

Other research has shown strength and flexibility exercises to be good exercises for cancer patients helping them return to a normal activity level sooner.

Exercise and social support seem to increase the life expectancy of breast cancer survivors, preventing recurrence.

At the beginning, gently move a few minutes at a time, and build up at your own pace. Try walking, light aerobics or swimming. As you get stronger, add a couple of days a week of light resistance training. On days you feel more tired, try doing a few stretches.

Personal Note: It has been my privilege and joy to use my skill as a Certified Health Coach & Exercise Physiologist Specialist to help women manage their cancer with the healing properties of movement and exercise. It is from my own experience, that exercising on a regular basis, eating healthy food and reducing your stress can help prevent and/or manage cancer and many other life threatening diseases.

Click on Cancer and Exercise for more info. Visit www.mirabaiholland.com

for in home exercise programs for women over 50.

Bernadine’s Crusade

My mother died in 2005 from Ovarian Cancer. Here is a poem I wrote about her.

Time it was when she found out how sick she was.

Like a Gladiator she got in her wheel chair and with her cane she fought against her illness.

Month after month she strived and relished every peach, every plum.

Moment by moment from lunch to lunch, she road the streets and shopped for food, clothes and jewelry as if she would live forever.

Her doctors were amazed at the way she road into their offices waving her cane
in stylish hats.

For her it was just the way she lived.

Opinionated, visually acute; her sense of aesthetics keen.

Expressive, she once cooed for me like a bird then clicking her teeth like a sparrow eating a tiny meal.

So it went.

Until the last, she raged with her cane beside her in the bed.

Little sips of ice mocha and chocolate malts

Slowing down.

Barely breathing,

her eyes flew open, to take one last peek

getting ready for the next to come.

mwh©

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Golf Exercises Improve Your Game

Golf Exercises

Golf ExercisesThere are over 20 million golfers in the United States alone. And those who play frequently, including the pros, are often plagued by over-use injuries.

It’s the repetitive motion of the golf swing that’s the culprit. And if your form is less than perfect you can hurt yourself on a single swing.

It uses the same muscles every time: mainly shoulder (rotator cuff) core (side of the waist, abdominals), and arms (elbow, forearm and wrist)

Also, like any other physical activity, it’s good to warm-up your body at least 5-10 minutes before starting to play. A brisk walk, a few arm circles and practice swings with a towel will help to elevate your body temperature, lubricate joints and increase blood flow to your working muscles.

As for the current aches and pains, you probably have to rest those muscles until they heal.

Golf Exercises

The good news is, there are Prehab golf exercises to help you play injury-free in the future and they will also help improve your game.

Here are some essential exercises.

 

 

 

Essential Golf Exercises:

Towel warm-up

Roll up a towel lengthwise and take a few practice swings to warm-up the muscles you’ll use when you add the weight of the club.

Golf ExercisesGolf Exercises: Side Bend
If you have hand weights, great. Otherwise, grab some cans from your pantry.

Stand feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent, arms at your sides. Without bending forward or back, bend directly to one side, while sliding the weight in your opposite hand up the side of your body to your armpit. Do the same on the other side. 8-12 reps on each side, alternating side to side. Areas Worked: Side of the Waist

Golf Exercises: Core Strength & Stretch

Golf Exercise

Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position.

Gently stretch your right arm out in front of you till it’s level with your torso. At the same time raise your left leg and straighten it behind you. Hold for 10-20 counts and slowly return to starting position. Switch sides and repeat. Areas Worked: Abdominals, shoulder, hip and back of leg


Golf Exercises: Oblique Twist

Golf Exercises

Lie down, knees bent, feet hip width apart. Place your hands behind your head.

Lift and turn your torso to point your right elbow towards your left knee (keep your elbow back in line with your shoulder) and return to start. Do 8 reps. Switch sides and repeat. Areas Worked: Abdominals, particularly the side abs.

Golf ExercisesGolf Exercises: Rotator Cuff

Holding cans or hand weights bend arms at the elbows to 90 degrees in front of you. Keep your elbows bent and bring your arms out to your sides.

Repeat 8-12 reps.

Areas Worked: Shoulders

 

Golf Exercises: Wrist Curls
Golf ExercisesHold hand weights at your sides, elbows at 90-degree angles, palms down. Keep arms stationary, and using only your wrists, slowly curl the weights towards you until your knuckles are facing the ceiling. Repeat 8-15 reps

Flip weights palms up. Do 8-15 reps in this position.

Areas Worked: Forearms and wrists.

Golf ExercisesGolf Exercises: Diamond Stretch

Raise arms over-head, linking hands together. Slightly bend elbows and gently move them back.

Hold for 10-20 counts.

Areas worked: Shoulders, chest and upper back.

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Water Ballet Exercise

Water Ballet ExerciserWater Ballet Exercise!

We are filming for several hours a day starting at the crack of dawn. The weather is cooler but not for long. My only relief has been to strip off my workout clothes, which are almost pasted to my body, jump into a swimsuit and plunge into the pool. After about 45 minutes of laps back and forth I get an idea. What if I try some exercises in the water, holding on to the side of the pool? Doing some Water Ballet Exercise in the water, while cooling off is not such a bad idea I’m thinking. So I try one of my on land favorites for my legs and butt. I like it! I can really feel it working. It may be even more effective with the water for added resistance. This Aqua Ballet Workout not only tones your lower body but it also helps to elongate your muscles while you are doing it. And because you are in the water, you are adding resistance to strengthen your legs and butt while at the same time using your core muscles to help keep your body upright and balanced.

Try this Water Ballet Exercise to Tone Up Your Legs and Butt

Stand facing front, heels together, feet turned out. Hold on to the edge of the pool with your right hand. Slowly bend left knee, bringing foot up to right knee forming a triangle. Slowly stretch leg in front of body. Then bring foot back to the knee of the standing leg and return to the starting position. Repeat 4 times to the Front, Side, and Back.

Water Ballet ExerciseWater Ballet ExerciseWater Ballet ExerciseWater Ballet ExerciseWater Ballet Exercise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turn around and repeat exercise on the other leg holding on with your left hand. Enjoy this Water Ballet Exercise.

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Exercise Outdoors: Cross Training & Hydrate

Exercise Outdoors Exercise outdoors in summer can be a challenge. Cross training exercises are a good way to mix up your workouts and give yourself time to cool off, drink water and stay hydrated in summer heat.

Although I’m away from home, in the mountains, and not as affected by this huge triple digit heat wave, I did get a wake-up call of my own that I thought would be important to share.  I was shooting an exercise video this week in 90-degree heat. It was hot, but I got on a roll and forgot about the time. Less than an hour in, I started to swoon. Not a good shot on an exercise video. I realized immediately what had happened; I’d gotten so involved, I forgot to drink water between takes. I can say from experience that it creeps up on you. So you need to take steps to keep yourself cool and well-hydrated when you exercise outdoors. Cross-train with strength exercises mixed in with your cardio gives you a lower intensity interval so you can drink water, stay hydrated and cool off.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine losing more than 2 percent of your body weight through dehydration puts your body at risk for heat illness. This is serious business. We’ve all read the stories of team athletes who have actually died.

When you exercise in the heat you can lose up to five cups of water per hour. So it’s important to drink water before, during, and after vigorous exercise. The rule of thumb is to drink 2 cups of water a couple of hours before you start exercising so you are fully hydrated. Remember to bring that water bottle with you and drink a cup of water every 15 minutes or so while you are exercising. Don’t wait till you’re thirsty. If you’re thirsty, you’re already getting dehydrated.

But you’re not done yet. You need to drink another 2 cups over a two-hour period after exercise.

Sounds like a lot of water. It’s not. It’s just making up for the water you lose when you exercise in the heat.

Pouring water over your head during exercise won’t help you rehydrate, but it does make you feel better. A study at Cal State Fullerton with trained athletes showed that athletes exercising in 92-degree heat in a controlled setting felt cooler and that the workout was easier to perform.

But you know what Noel Coward said about “mad dogs and Englishmen.” Give yourself a break. If you can, exercise outdoors when it’s cooler, early mornings or late afternoons when the sun is less direct. Try finding shady areas.

Instead of keeping up your brisk pace for the whole workout, break it up. Go at normal pace for a bit, do a short light interval and then pick up your speed again.

Another idea is when you exercise outdoors do cross training exercises. Add intervals of strength training between shorter bouts of cardio. You’ll get a chance to drink and pour some water over your head too! Stop at a wall, a tree or a fence, and do these five exercises: two for your upper body and three for your lower.

Exercise Outdoors Video

Here is an Exercise Outdoors video with some easy cross training exercises to tone you up, no equipment necessary. 

Exercise Outdoors: Strength Exercises Using Your Own Body Weight

With all these Strength training exercises, remember to exhale on the exertion.

Standing Push Ups: Stand facing a surface with legs hip width apart and place hands shoulder width apart. Keeping your body straight, lower yourself down to the surface and then push back upright again. Muscles Worked: Chest, Triceps, and Shoulders

Calf Raises: Face surface and hold on for balance. With feet together pointing straight ahead, slowly lift your body up on to your toes, while tightening calf, abs and buttocks muscles. Then slowly lower yourself back down again.
Muscles worked: calves, abs, and buttocks.

Squats: Face surface, legs hip with apart. Hold on for balance. Shift weight back into heels. Keeping back straight, abs pulled in, gently bend at the knees and squat to about a 90-degree angle. Hold for a moment, then, using just your leg muscles, return to an upright position.
Muscles worked: Front of thigh (Quads), Back of thigh, (Hamstrings) Buttocks, Abs

Wall Sit: Stand against surface for back support. Holding on as needed for balance, slide down to a sitting position against wall, knees at about a 90-degree angle. Pull your abs in and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Thighs and Abs

Upper Back Squeeze: Stand with your back to the surface, feet shoulder width apart. Place hands behind you on surface. Straighten your arms behind you and squeeze your shoulder blades together. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
Muscles worked: Back, Shoulders, Back of arms (Triceps)

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Osteoporosis: What Does Buying A Purse Have To Do With It?

We all have a lot to lose if we take a serious fall. Assuming we survive, the effects can be life altering. And if you have osteoporosis, what would have been a minor slip and fall for others, could have devastating consequences for you. Here’s a fall prevention video that should be of interest to anyone interested in staying upright.

Osteoporosis Fall Prevention Video

There’s a story that prompted me to post this video and write this article. Here it is.

OsteoporosisI have a friend who had been eyeballing this cute little red purse for a couple of months.  She didn’t need it but she wanted it and sort of became obsessed with it.

She’d visit it online and wave to it in the store. But, there’s no way she was going to buy that purse because wanting it that bad made her feel a little stupid.

Well, the darn thing went on sale the other day at 40-percent off and another 10-percent off with her store card. Now, of course, she had to have that red bag.

Apparently, so did every other woman in the United States. Because, she had it in her online shopping cart and by the time she got her credit card out, it was no longer available. It had been snatched right out of her cart.

She was furious. She felt violated. “How dare they sell MY red purse?”

She called the company.  They apologized and looked for one in their inventory anywhere. They gave her stores and a warehouse to call and reserve it before the last one could be sold. She called around for over an hour and finally got to someone who found one in California and ordered it for her.

As she was patting herself on the back for her investigative skills and persistence my friend had an aha! moment. She had recently been diagnosed with osteoporosis. Her doctor had given her a list of endocrinologists he’d be comfortable recommending but she hadn’t even looked at it, let alone researched it.

“I had been meaning to but I had been putting it off for no good reason. I thought why on earth don’t I apply that same purse passion to taking charge of my own health care?”

She thought about it for a minute and the answer she came up with unnerved her a little. “Health care is not sexy,”  Purses are sexy! Purses are sexier than being healthier and maybe living longer? Eek!

But health is sexy! Quality of life is sexy!

As she started to Google the doctors on the list, she began to sing a parody to that old rock song.
“I’m too sexy for my purse, too sexy for my mouse pad, but not too sexy for my doctor’s office. Maybe a little bit too sexy, but I’m goin’ anyway.”

I think perhaps my friend has touched a nerve in many of us. Would we really rather look good than to feel good?

Sure seems like it. I think it’s that very premise that prompted an ad agency to come up with a TV commercial for a dietary supplement featuring a sexy dancing X-ray skeleton of a baby boomer model that’s protecting her looks by protecting her bones.

It got my attention. If you can’t get them to do it for health, get them to do it for beauty. Twistedly brilliant! Their slogan is “Beauty Is Bone Deep.”

So I guess, if beauty is your motivation, go for it; especially when the health comes with it.
But what do you do if you already have osteoporosis like my friend, or have low bone mass, or you just have the good sense to want to take of your bones?

Osteoporosis And Calcium

I asked Susan Randall, MSN, FNP-BC, Senior Director, Science and Education at the National Osteoporosis Foundation and she said:

Getting enough calcium in our diet is really important. The NOF recommends
an intake of 1,000 miligrams for adult women from age 50 or younger, and age 51 and older — 1,200 milligrams a day for adult women. If a woman isn’t paying enough attention to calcium in her diet she puts herself at risk. But more is not necessarily better when it comes to calcium. Neither women nor men should get more than about 2,000 milligrams a day.

She also said “Weight bearing exercise actually builds bone in youth and will help maintain bone.”

I said,  “People my age, are worried about falling down and breaking something.”

When I asked her about fall prevention she said, “As we get older the type of exercise changes a little bit. We still have to do some impact work but it has to be safe to avoid injury and falls so you want to add balance training, flexibility training, and safe movement to make sure the individual is able to stay active and healthy.”

Finally she recommended anyone interested in getting more facts about osteoporosis and bone health visit www.nof.org

So what’s the takeaway here? My takeaway is if you like standing on your own two feet, taking care of your bones is about as sexy as it gets.

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Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainAlthough specialists once thought that resting was the best prescription for a bad back, it is now shown that exercise relieves back pain. And carefully designed exercises may be even more effective in reducing back pain. A sedentary lifestyle and unnatural alignment of the spine have a lot to do with back pain, a condition that affects 31 million Americans at any given time, according to the American Chiropractic Association. One study found that half of all working Americans report back pain symptoms whether they are seated or standing on the job.

Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainIf you spend most of your time sitting at a desk, it’s easy to hunch your shoulders and neck forward to look at a computer screen without even noticing. And if you hold that position for hours at a time, especially with your legs crossed at the knees, your spine can really suffer. For women, wearing high-heeled shoes can add to spine stress.
By the time we reach our fifties, many Baby Boomers have created bad habits and bad backs.

Luckily, it’s possible to change your posture for the better, standing or sitting, and relieve that chronic pain – as well as the restricted breathing, digestion and circulation that holding an unhealthy posture may cause.

The most effective way to improve your posture is by stretching your spine and strengthening your back and abdominal muscles so that your whole core area gets stronger. Exercise also works to remedy sudden injury to back tissue and muscles.

One of the most effective ways to relieve back pain is back extension. Back extension helps to reset your vertebrae into proper alignment and to relieve nerve pressure. You can do it standing, sitting or lying face down (yoga cobra pose).

Exercise Relieves Back Pain

Exercise Relieves Back PainHere’s the standing version:

Stand feet comfortable apart. Place your two hands behind you at the lumbar area. Gently arch your back and look upward without stretching the neck too far back. Hold for 10-20 seconds. Repeat 3 times. Try this anytime your back feels fatigued. You’ll be surprised at how much relief it gives you. But don’t do it if you are in severe back pain. In that case it’s time to call your doctor.

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Cardio Dance: Healthy Heart Healthy Mind

Cardio DanceCardio Dance: Healthy Heart, Healthy Mind!
I became interested in cardio dance and memory several years ago when my older students began to tell me that their memories seemed to improve after they took my class.
I was teaching mostly cardio dance in those days. I started with simple steps and built up to a pretty complex routine.
There has to be a connection I thought, between the physical movement, making your brain learn this routine, and improved memory.
I’m no scientist but I was curious. So I started to break it down.
What I was having people do is learn short phrases of movement and then link them together. The cardio dance routine required them to move forward and back, side to side, remember specific steps; and stay in rhythm.
This was a real challenge for many of my students who had never done anything like this before. As they got more proficient, the class became a social gathering; because of this shared experience.
Cardio DanceMy students felt energized afterwards, not exhausted. They told me that besides getting a good body workout they were getting a memory workout as well. They said they could actually remember things better.
I wondered if there was science to support our anecdotal experience.
I contacted a couple of local Alzheimer’s specialists (there was no internet back then) and they told me – you’re probably right but there weren’t any specific studies on this more than 20 years ago.
Even now the research is not conclusive. But, technology in the last 15 years has allowed science to discover a lot more about the brain.
Vascular memory loss has been linked to heart disease and cardio fitness is a major factor in preventing and managing that issue. Aerobic exercise increases the amount of oxygen supplied to the brain improving mental function. Cardio fitness has been shown to reduce loss of brain cells in older adults.
A study of 1,449 older adults shows those who in middle age exercised vigorously enough to perspire and breathe hard for 20 to 30 minutes at least twice a week reduced their risk of later developing Alzheimer’s disease by about 60 percent.*
But cardio is just part of the equation.
Cardio DanceResearch published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that certain types of dance, particularly with routines to learn and remember, may help prevent age-onset memory loss and diseases like Alzheimer’s. “…. cognitive activity may stave off dementia by increasing a person’s “cognitive reserve.” **
And a study conducted at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, says activities that combined mental and social as well as physical stimulation offered the greatest protection against dementia***
Activity is the active word. Be physically active, mentally active and socially active, preferably all at once. Taking a Cardio Dance class or getting together with friends to do a Cardio Dance DVD is a good place to start. And to this day, when I start my cardio dance class I say,
“It’s time to workout our hearts and minds!”

*Rovio, Suvi; Kareholt, Ingemar; Helkala, Eeva-Liisa; Viitanen, Matti; Winblad, Bengt; Tuomilehto, Jaakko; Soininen, Hilkka; Nissinen, Aulikki; and Kivipelto, Miia. “Leisure-time physical activity at midlife and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.” The Lancet Neurology; published online Oct. 4, 2005.
** Dr Joe Verghese, lead author of study conducted at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, N Engl J Med, 2003; 348:2508-2516.
***Karp, Anita; Paillard-Borg, Stephanie; Wang, Hui-Xin; Silverstein, Merrill; Winblad, Bengt; and Fratiglioni, Laura. “Mental, Physical and Social Components in Common Leisure Activities in Old Age in Relation to Dementia: Findings from the Kungsholmen Project.” Presented at the Alzheimer’s Association 9th International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders, Philadelphia, Penn., July 17 – 22, 2004. Abstract published in Neurobiology of Aging, July 2004, Vol. 25, S2: p. S313.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3761497/

Compared with the control group, the exercise group significantly improved in verbal fluency (p = 0.048), word list delayed recall (p = 0.038), word list recognition (p = 0.007), and total CERAD-K score (p = 0.037)

  • Metabolic syndrome (MS) is associated with an increased risk of cognitive impairment.
  • Aerobic exercise improves cognitive function in elderly people and contributes to the prevention of degenerative neurological disease and brain damage. Dance sport is a form of aerobic exercise that has the additional benefits of stimulating the emotions, promoting social interaction, and exposing subjects to acoustic stimulation and music.
  • In the present study, dance exercise for a 6-month period improved cognitive function in older adults with MS. In particular, positive effects were observed in verbal fluency, word list delayed recall, word list recognition, and the total CERAD-K score.
  • Our data suggest that the implementation of dance exercise programs may be an effective means of prevention and treatment of cognitive disorders.
  • http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2013.00075/abstract

For more info on Women over 50 Health and Fitness and at home exercise programs for  visit www.mirabaiholland.com

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