Getting Fit: Find Fabulousity!

Getting FitGetting Fit: Find Fabulousity!

I was back in my home town recently, where I taught for over 20 years. I missed my ladies so I decided to take some of my former students out for tea and dessert.

I thought for a minute the dessert part was a bad idea when a couple of them wouldn’t eat a piece of cake in front of me. But when I dug in, moderately of course, the party got started in earnest.  Ever the moderator, I asked them each to share things that were important in their lives over the past year.

As we went around the circle, they spoke of getting pregnant, daughter’s weddings, losing your job, becoming a gym rat, outliving heart disease, surviving menopause, the joy of grandchildren, and a trip to China.

Maybe because I was their host, the conversation drifted toward how getting fit had changed their lives.

They shared stories about feeling invisible, not sexy, not pretty, having no energy and feeling like a lump. One remembered showing up in my office, tearing her hair out saying my doctor told me I need to do something, I’ve got serious health issues, but I hate to exercise. What do I do?

She said, I told her “I’m going to give you exercise you can look forward to instead of dread.”

Getting Fit: Find Fabulousity!

Most of my work is done with women who haven’t been active in a while. My coaching style is to start people wherever they may be physically and emotionally and get them moving, gently, and pleasantly. If the first experience is pleasant, you’ll want a second and the third and so on. Sustainability is the key to getting fit and staying fit successfully. And that’s what happened with these ladies. But something else remarkable happened too.

They told me getting fit had given them the self confidence to pursue things they would never have dared to try; that the change in their bodies had kindled a change in the way they saw themselves. Instead of feeling invisible they felt fabulous and that Fabulosity had spilled over into the rest of their lives. As much as I would love to take all the credit for this transformation, I think that it boils down to healthy body, healthy mind;

Getting fit was the key that unlocked the door to their potential.
Pretty cool huh?

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How Exercise Affects Sleep

Sleep and Exercise

Health experts recommend eight hours of sleep a night for most adults. Yet so many of us get fewer than six-and-a-half hours during the work- week.                                                   We all love a good night’s sleep. But did you know that not getting one not only makes you dull and stressed, it can also make you pack on the pounds.

Too little physical activity is clearly part of why we’re overweight.

But a lack of sleep may make weight loss and weight control more difficult by altering your metabolism. It may also be changing your eating and exercise patterns.

In a Japanese study, children sleeping less than eight hours a night were almost three times as likely to be overweight.

Lack of sleep may change hormone levels and thus influence weight gain. Higher levels of the hormone insulin have been linked to a shortage of sleep.

Because insulin promotes fat storage and controls blood sugar, extra insulin could make weight loss more difficult.

Studies also show that a lack of sleep leads to lower levels of the hormone leptin, which can cause an increased appetite. Sound familiar?

A third hormone affected by too little sleep is cortisol, linked by research to stress. When people feel threatened or stressed, their cortisol levels rise in a “fight or flight” reaction. In one study, people whose cortisol levels rose highest in response to stress had more waistline fat – and fat at the waist is related to the greatest number of risks for heart disease and other ailments.

If you were wondering where this is all going here it is. Results from a Stanford University study show exercise, particularly aerobic exercise in the late afternoon or right after work can turn this all around.

The physical stress of aerobic exercise produces fatigue and a rise in body temperature. A few hours later, your body temperature drops. That coupled with the fatigue from your exercise triggers your brain to induce a deeper, longer sleep.

What time of day you do is as important as doing it. If you exercise too close to bedtime you may be up for hours climbing the walls. Getting a half hour brisk walk is all it takes.If you belong to a Gym, get there and mix it up on the cardio machines.

Or get yourself a good cardio dance video by a certified instructor. In any case quality zzzzzs equals quality of life and may even increase longevity.

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Stretching Routines: Gogi Tendon Organs ?

Stretching Routines: What Do Your Gogi Tendon Organs Have to do with it?

Stretching RoutinesStretching: What Do Your Gogi Tendon Organs Have To Do With It?  
Here’s a little video with the answer.
Have you tried to pick a coin up off the ground lately? How about tying your shoes? Have you switched to slip-ons? What about reaching over the coffee table to scoop some dip on the other side? Remember when you didn’t think twice about those maneuvers?
Sounds like decrepitude is setting in. Or maybe you’ve just lost some Flexibility.Flexibility is range of motion around your joints.
There are two types. Static flexibility – how far you can stretch and hold a body part, and dynamic flexibility – how much range of motion you have when you move.
Both are important. In fact I consider Flexibility one of the 3 main components of fitness, along with Aerobic Capacity and Muscle Strength.
I recommend a flexibility program that incorporates slow dynamic movements like Tai Chi, as well as static stretches like Yoga.But in my experience, Flexibility is the most ignored component of fitness. We do our Cardio and our Strength training but, unless we’re regular Yoga or Tai Chi, practitioners, Flexibility is not on the menu.
Why not? I think there are a couple of reasons. First, I think we don’t get it.It doesn’t make our muscles stronger or our figures shapelier. We don’t realize how valuable flexibility is until we try to do something we used to take for granted, like reach around to the back seat to get our sunglasses. Even then we toss it off with, “Well, I guess I’m getting older”. We somehow don’t connect with the thought, ” If I’d been doing a little stretching all these years, it wouldn’t have felt like I was going to rip something just then”.Secondly, there’s been lots of press about conflicting studies on the effectiveness or ineffectiveness of stretching.
Some studies say stretching improves athletic performance. Others say they’ve proved the exact opposite. Some studies say stretching helps prevent injury. Others say it has no effect on injury prevention. There’s enough conflicting buzz to make you not want to bother.That’s too bad because all that buzz masks the fact we do know stretching does help you gain and maintaining flexibility.
Does stretching help prevent injury or aid athletic performance? I DON’T CARE.
I want to stay flexible as I age. I want to be able to pick up coins, tie my shoes and grab my sunglasses. Give me my dose of flexibility training!Even if we were flexible as kids, as we get older, connective tissues, our tendons and ligaments, tend to lose water, shorten, and become stiffer. So we get less flexible. But it’s not too late.

Even if you’re not interested in the fine practice of Yoga or Tai Chi, barring some medical issue, there’s a simple way to help hang on to the flexibility you have, and work on getting some of that youthful flexibility back. A few easy stretching exercises may be the difference between living tight and living flexible.

I stretch every day. Easy for me to say, I teach a stretch class. But just a few minutes, three times a week, can make a real difference. I’ve seen students of mine go from really stiff to pretty darn flexible in a few months, without trying hard.

Stretching, when done right, feels delicious while you’re doing it, and even better when you’re done. The kind of stretching I do is relaxing and meditative. I find it melts my stress and energizes me while keeping me flexible. I’ve developed a stretch exercise technique I call Moving Free. It’s evolved some over the 30 years I’ve been teaching it. I use a fusion of modified static stretches from Dance, Yoga and classic fitness as well as dynamic movements adapted from Dance and Tai Chi and Kinesiology.

Here’s a video with some lower body stretches you can try at home.

As if that weren’t enough, There’s more to stretching than just flexibility. I think stretching is a form of meditation that creates a sense of well-being and promotes peace of mind. When I finish my stretching routine I have a more positive outlook as well as the feeling that my body is more alive, more accessible to me. Try it and see.

Chances are that pretty soon you’ll be able to find your shoes simply by looking down.

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Weight Loss Apps

Weight Loss AppsWeight Loss Apps. Really?

Want to lose weight? Me too. Whether it’s 5 pounds, or more than 50, losing weight is a constant struggle for most of us. We’re all looking for anything we can find to keeps us on track. One of the most effective, tried and true, weight loss aids is keeping a diary,

You eat something, you write it down. You do a half hour of cardio exercise, you write it down. You want to know how many calories in a handful of peanuts, dig out your calorie book, look up “handful of peanuts and write it down. It works, but it’s colossal pain in the neck!

Well, now there’s an app for that. Using weight loss apps will put all the info you’d be struggling to write down at your fingertips. And the better weight loss apps make it really easy. They’re not scary at all!

You put in your email and your password, tell it whether you are male of female, and enter your height, your age, how much exercise you do, your current weight and your goal weight. Then, you set your weight loss plan. You tell the app how much weight per week you want to lose. The app tells you how many calories you’re allowed to eat each day.

You can log in and find out how many calories in that handful of peanuts, that piece of cake, that glass of wine. You list everything you eat during the day and any exercise you do. The app keeps a running tally and tells you how many calories you have left that day. It really helps to know that you can have either a chocolate moose or turkey sandwich. It helps you choose the turkey sandwich by giving you the nutrients in various foods. You can also pick portion size and store your favorite foods so you can log them in quickly.

There are dozens of apps available for your computer, tablet and smart phone. Some cost a few bucks, but many are free. Here are a couple of apps that I particularly like. The basic apps are free. You can pay for premium versions but I’m using the free versions and they’re enough for me. The functions of both of these are similar but some people prefer one layout or the other.

Check them out and take your weight loss high tech.

www.loseit,com

www.myfitnesspal.com

 And of course it helps to add regular exercise to the weight loss mix. Get at home exercise videos for women at www.mirabaiholland.com

 

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It’s Fashion Flash Monday

Today’s Fashion Flash host is Deb from the No Nonsense Beauty Blog. She’s here sans nonsense on the cutting edge of 40 plus beauty to bring it on home to you. The rest of us Fashion Flash Bloggers have been edge cutting too; and we’ve got everything Fashion, Beauty, Health & Fitness and of course Shopping to show you. So make a cup of tea, take a break from the madness, and click in. Happy Holidays!

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Fitness and Wellness IQ: Test Yourself By Mirabai Holland © 2012

Test your fitness and wellness I.Q. today. It can greatly increase your longevity. If you haven’t been physically active or done regular exercise for a while, it may be hard to know what to do.
Fitness And Wellness Self-Quiz
(answers at end)

1. What is the number one killer disease of women?
a. Osteoporosis
b. Breast Cancer
c. Heart Disease
d. Diabetes

2. What does osteopenia mean?
a. Low muscle mass
b. Low bone mass
c. Another word for osteoporosis
d. Strong bones

3. What is the normal % of body fat?
a. 15-20%
b. 22-30%
c. 25-35%
d. 30-35%

4. Which one of the following blood pressure readings is considered a risk factor for heart disease?
a. 110/70
b. 115/80
c. 120/80
d. 140/90

5.What helps to pick up metabolism?
a. Lean muscle mass
b. 1000 calorie a day diet
c. Sleeping 8 hours a night
d. Meditation

6. How much body fat does the average 65 year old woman have?
a. 30%
b. 37%
c. 43%
d. 50%

7. What is sarcopenia?
a. high muscle mass
b. low bone mass
c. high bone mass
d. low muscle mass

8. What is interval training best for:
a. Picking up the metabolic rate
b. Adding variety to your routine
c. Making it easy to get a drink of water
d. Both a & b

9. An optimal program for older people would include activities to improve:
a. strength, flexibility and coordination
b. eyesight
c. digestion
d. jogging

10. What body shape is the one that puts you at less risk for both heart disease and breast cancer?
a. apple
b. pear
c. banana
d. pineapple

11. To be at less risk for heart disease your total cholesterol should be:
a. Above 200
b. Below 200
c. Between 200-220
d. Between 220-225
12. Which is the “good” cholesterol
a. HDL
b. LDL
c. NDL
d. Margarine

13. How much exercise should you do?
a. At least 3-4 times a week, 30 minutes at 60-90% max heart rate.
b. At least twice a week, 60 minutes at 70-90% max heart rate
c. At least once a week, 60 minutes at 80-85% max heart rate
d. At least twice a week, 30 minutes at 70-90% max heart rate

14. What is the equation of finding your target heart rate?
a. 220-age x %
b. 200-age x %
c. 220 x age – %
d. 200 x age – %

15. What does aerobic exercise do?
a. Helps to stimulate metabolism and reduce LDL
b. Helps to develop stronger abdominals and back muscles
c. Helps to build a stronger heart muscle
d. a & c

16. What are the risk factors for heart disease that you can control:
a. Family history, age, menopause
b. Inactivity, excessive alcohol, and high blood pressure
c. Smoking, high cholesterol and triglycerides
d. b & c

17. How often should you weight train?
a. Every day
b. 3 days in a row, 2 days rest
c. 2-3 times a week, alternating days
d. None of the above.

18. How often should you perform a Breast Self-Examination?
a. every other week
b. Once a month (if still menstruating best time a week after the start of your period)
c. Once every week
d. None of the above.
19. When should you start getting annual mammograms?
a. After age 40
b. After age 45
c. After age 50
d. After age 55

20. What are the best types of exercise if you have had breast cancer?
a. Light strengthening and stretching exercises.
b. Walking and swimming.
c. High intensity strength training
d. a & b

21. 44 million Americans at risk for Osteoporosis; what % are women?
a. 60%
b. 70%
c. 80%
d. 90%

22. By the time women are 70 they can lose up to
a.15% bone mass
b. 20% bone mass
c. 30 % bone mass
d. 45% bone mass

23. As a woman goes through menopause what is the main factor that causes bone loss?
a. loss of estrogen
b. fatigue
c. hot flashes
d. lightheadedness

24.What are the 3 areas at most risk for osteoporotic fracture?
a. Spine, neck, foot
b. Hip, shoulder, foot
c. Spine, hip, wrist
d. None of the above.

25. What type of exercise is not particularly effective for loading your bones
a. Weight training
b. Walking
c. Swimming
d. Jogging
ANSWERS: 1. c, 2. b, 3. b, 4. d, 5. a, 6. c, 7. d, 8. d, 9. a, 10. a,11. b, 12. a, 13. a, 14. a, 15. d, 16. d, 17. c, 18. b, 19. a, 20. d, 21. c, 22. c, 23. a, 24. c, 25. c

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The Wellness Mandala By Mirabai Holland, MFA ©2011

Autumn, leaves are turning, frost is on the pumpkin and flu season is knocking at our door. I’ve got no excuse. Even my neighborhood drugstore is giving out flu shots these days.
Thinking about avoiding the flu always makes me wax philosophic.
So I started thinking about wellness. What is wellness anyway?
It’s the absence of disease. If you are not sick you are well.
But it’s more than that isn’t it? It’s quality of life and for some it’s the balance of all things. I like this balance concept so I dug out one of my favorite balance tools:
The Mandala: the wheel of life. I wrote down all the types of wellness I could think of and ended up with 6 categories that I stuck on my Mandala. Here they are:
Physical Wellness
· Taking care of your body, eat right, exercise
· Visit your doctor regularly

Mental Wellness
· Keeping an open mind and trying to see other’s point of view
· Allowing your curiosity to take you to new places and learn new things.

Emotional Wellness
· Trying to keep a positive state of mind
· Cultivating self esteem
· Reaching out to others for support

Spiritual Wellness
· Recognizing your beliefs.
· Allowing your core values to direct your actions.

Social Wellness
· Developing positive inter-personal relationships at home and work
· Allowing yourself to give and receive love: to and from everyone that means that much to you including animals
· Participate in social situations; try not to stay on the sidelines.

Environmental Wellness
· Making your home environment peaceful, pleasant, safe and comfortable.
· Choosing an occupation and a workplace that doesn’t drive you nuts.
· Try to have a positive impact on our natural environment.
Recycle more, pollute less.

When the wheel is in balance it spins evenly. When even one of these categories is out of whack, the whole wheel starts to wobble.
So as a wellness professional I respectfully suggest you get rolling!

Send your Moving Free with Mirabai questions to: askmirabai@movingfree.com

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Orthopedic Issues: Prehab To Avoid Rehab

 

Orthopedic problems are a major health issue worldwide. This is a growing problem particularly among baby boomers. Both women and men are both at risk. Job-related conditions like standing all day or performing repetitive motions can lead to overuse injuries. And being out of shape and overweight are leading contributors to orthopedic injuries and chronic orthopedic problems. But active adults are not immune. Pushing too hard when you workout or play sports instead of staying in your comfort zone can do you more harm than good. In fact there are about 28 million reported orthopedic injuries each year in the USA alone. Accidents happen and excellent rehab is available. But a lot of orthopedic problems are preventable. Muscles and tendons are connected to the brain by a complex system of sensors called proprioceptors, capable of detecting the slightest difference in muscle length, or tension on a tendon. The proprioceptors exist to help your body avoid injury. Those little strains and pains you begin to feel when you push too hard are telling you “Back off” you need more conditioning before you can perform at this level. Pushing through the pain is flirting with serious injury.

The proprioceptors also, tell the brain just where a limb is in space at any given time. A well-trained proprioceptive sense helps a tennis player get to a ball and return it without having to think through each step. The body knows the way.
Prehab is one of the best ways to avoid Rehab. Developing your proprioceptive sense- awareness of where your body is in space — is a good start. There are exercise programs that focus on proprioception like my own Moving Free® technique, Tai Chi and certain yoga exercises. It helps you avoid awkward movements that can cause injury and perform daily tasks with ease and grace. And it improves your sense of balance to help prevent falls.Here’s an exampleClose your eyes. Hold out your arm in front of you. Your brain knows your arm is in front of you without you having to see it. Keep your eyes closed. Now circle your index finger. Your brain knows where your finger is through the full range of motion without looking. That’s your proprioceptive sense at work.

Strengthening areas at risk for orthopedic injury is another component of Prehab. This kind of Prehab comes in two forms:
  1. ·General Prehab for daily living as part of a personal wellness program, looks at the body as a whole, and develops it as a whole to maximize quality of life. This often includes strength training, cardio conditioning and core training, as well as some proprioceptive exercises.
  2. ·Activity Specific Prehab designed to get you ready for the rigors of a particular sport or physical endeavor. Good Activity Specific exercises pay special attention to the body parts most involved in that activity without ignoring the concept of training the body as a whole.
Send your Moving Free with Mirabai questions to:askmirabai@movingfree.com
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Link Between Anger and Cholesterol?

Q: For years people have said, that getting angry can raise your blood pressure but I recently heard that it can also raise your cholesterol. Sounds crazy. Is there any truth to this?

A: Yes its true.

A study with 103 healthy mid-aged women conducted by the University of Maryland and published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that women with angry dispositions, given to frequent outbursts of temper, had higher cholesterol levels than those who were more even tempered. What all these women had in common besides having a short fuse is they were all sedentary and deconditioned.

But what I found most interesting is the study also found that having a short fuse didn’t elevate the cholesterol in women who were physically fit.

So the message here is if you are not already exercising on a regular basis, its time to get going. Even 30 minutes most days of moderate exercise can do the trick.

Then go and scream to your heart’s content.

Send your Moving Free® with Mirabai questions to: askmirabai@movingfree.com

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