Category Archives: The Healing Power of Exercise
A new study performed by the University of Colorado Boulder and published April 2013 in the European Journal of Neuroscience, shows that even when you dislike exercise, or you’re forced to engage in it by a doctor or fitness instructor that you will still reap the amazing benefits. Many past studies have shown that people who engage in regular exercise are protected against stress related disorders, but scientist wanted to know if the same results were present when the perception of control was removed. Why this study was needed I have no idea, but it’s nice to have additional scientific proof as to the benefits of exercise. In the study performed by researches to attain these results, it was noted that the sedentary rats, the rats who sat on the sofa and watched TV or surfed the web all day, froze when faced with stress. The longer they remained embolized by fear, the more residual anxiety they experienced. Those rats who ran on mechanized wheels, on a regular, predetermined schedule for a period of 6 weeks, never experienced the “deer in headlights” syndrome and managed their exposure to stress much better. What does the study prove? Well, if you are a healthy person who is exposed to high amounts of stress in your daily life, or you are prone to anxiety and depression as with those who battle Fibromyaglia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Ankylosing Spondylitis and many other invisible chronic illnesses, you will find that you are better equipped to manage daily stress and symptoms such as anxiety and depression with regular & consistent forms of exercise. So Let’s Get Moving & keep it moving for a minimum of 6 weeks!!
Exercise offers amazing healing benefits. A good workout improves our mental attitude, strengthens our cardiovascular systems, reduces stress, improves our overall quality of life and helps to slow down the effects of aging. Sometimes the last thing we want to do when we’re in pain pain, tired or overwhelmed is to MOVE, but we have to keep going! On non-flare, non-pain days be sure to MOVE & keep moving!!!
“The Human Spirit Needs Places Where Nature Has not Been Rearranged By the Hand of Man” ~Unknown~
Yay, warm weather is here, as we’re quickly approach the official first day of Summer. Like many of you, I long for this time of year when I can spend time outdoors and I also look forward to taking advantage of the many opportunities to reconnect with nature. This longing for fun in the sun and fresh air is not only rejuvenating both physically and mentally, the great outdoors also offers us incredible healing benefits. Scientists have discovered that by spending time outside we increase our exposure to phytoncides which naturally reduce stress. People who take walks in the park where they encounter many plants and trees, versus walks in the city where they are surrounded by buildings and cement sidewalks, had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as a lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure readings. In several other studies, specifically one that took place in April 2007, showed an increase in white blood cells within a group of 12 healthy men ranging in ages 37-55 , who took two-hour walks in a forest over a two-day period. In January 2008, a group of women who also participated in a very similar experiment entitled ”forest bathing” had an increase in white blood cells and a reduction in anti-cancer proteins, which lasted up to one week due to their exposure of phytoncides which are found in forest air.
The beach is another place to go for wonderful healing benefits. Salt water is high in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and bromide which not only accelerates the healing of cuts, it also helps to fight infections, reduces inflammation of joints and relieves muscle pain and soreness. Salt water also stimulates blood circulation, increases moisture retention, detoxifies and promotes cellular regeneration. As a result it offers beautifying and anti-aging benefits, for both the inner and outer body. Regular beach time & salt water swimming also offers healing benefits for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. In summary, spending quality time in nature, offers us incredible physical and psychological benefits, such as recovery from stress, increased relaxation, decreased mental fatigue, better performance, restored mental clarity, increased immune function for improved heath, healing and an increased overall sense of well-being.
Best Places to Enjoy Nature
3) Local Parks
4) National Parks
6) Camp Sites
A Few Outdoor Nature Activities for Summer:
6) Paddle Boarding
9) Outdoor Meditation & Relaxation
10) Outdoor Yoga & Fitness Classes
Want to feel better mentally, physically and emotionally? Increase the amount of time that you spend outdoors surrounded by nature!
There is now neuroscience research that support yoga’s positive effects on anxiety, stress and depression. As the medical community continues to embrace the healing benefits of yoga does this mean that one day your doctor just might prescribe yoga for what’s ailing you?
We’ve heard about the amazing healing effects of meditative techniques such as relaxation, meditation and yoga for many years, including how these reduce the activity of the autonomic nervous system, alleviating stress-related maladies, including migraines, anxiety and depression, among others. Now there’s additional medical research available to back these claims. Dr. Chris C. Streeter Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine practices yoga and conducts research on its effects.
Dr. Streeter conducted a study with doctors of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, comparing two groups of exercisers (group 1) people doing yoga and (group 2) people walking. After 12-weeks, those in the yoga group showed greater improvements in their mood and anxiety levels compared to the walkers, and there was a positive correlation between increased Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), a key neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA levels were measured through brain imaging, and improved mood. The results of her study latest study is published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicinein 2010.
There is an estimated 20 million Americans practicing yoga. It’s no wonder that yoga and alternative therapies have shown up as elective courses at many medical schools across the country, including Boston University, Dr. Rob Saper of BU a former burned out medical student in the 80′s took a year off to study at Kripalu, the yoga retreat in western, Massachusetts, which he says, inspired him to “try to change medical education and medical care in a way that’s more wholistic” with an emphasis on self-care. Medical students at BU learn of yoga’s research-based benefits, in hopes that these future doctors will be able to exploit their knowledge to help patients as they become comfortable enough to include this alternative therapy in their evidence-based practice (EBP), perhaps one day prescribing yoga as they would Prozac or even pain killers.
Thanks to much research, the medical community continues to embrace the healing benefits of yoga among other natural and alternative healing methods, this is a wonderful news for those of us with who live with invisible chronic illnesses, and their multitude of symptoms, and many of which we might choose to manage naturally. Yoga is also great for chronic pain, it also lowers levels of inflammatory proteins, and helps with many other ailments. As an avid yogi and sufferer of Ankylosing Spodylitis, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction, I for one look forward to seeing yoga or even acupuncture appear on doctor’s electronic prescription pads. Perhaps doing so will garner even more support from insurance companies, hopefully making alternative treatments affordable and accessible to everyone.
You’re only one workout away from a good mood! It’s fairly common knowledge that exercise has incredibly positive effects on the body, but exercise can also improve mental health.
It takes only 10 to 30 minutes into cardiovascular exercise or strength training to release endorphins, which helps to reduce stress, and relieve symptoms relating to anxiety, depression, tension, fatigue and anger, while also improving vigor & self-esteem. The release of endorphins also helps to reduce pain (including chronic pain) & enhance the immune system. Having workout partners or joining a group exercise class gives you the added bonus of socializing with people who share your interests and common weight loss & fitness goals. Continued exercise will also help to delay the effects of aging. Having a regular workout routine is much like having your very own fountain of youth! After your workouts you experience a sense of euphoria and a higher level of energy. You will also likely sleep better after a good workout, feel more energetic the next day and find yourself in a better mood.
So come on, what are you waiting for let’s get moving!
Courtesy of Shake Fitness
Inevitably the start of a new year has everyone resolving to get fit, improve their health or to lose weight. I love January, because it gives me the opportunity to meet and interact with many wonderful new people, however even with the best intentions, by April many have unfortunately returned to their sedentary or incredibly busy lives. Here are a few recommendations that I give to my clients who want to begin an exercise program and stick with it beyond the typical six to eight week duration.
1) Visit your doctor and get the OK to exercise: One common reason that people fail to stick with an exercise program is the existence of a major, or even minor health issue that they are usually unaware of, but quickly become familiar with in their first exercise class. Those living with existing health issues also want to check in with their doctors to ensure that new symptoms or physiological changes will not interfere with a new exercise program. Everyone can benefit from exercise, but finding the right type of exercise for you and your specific condition is crucial. You’ll also want to inform your instructor or trainer of your health issues, so they can provide modifications if needed.
2) Select your workout days in advance: You have the motivation, now look at your schedule and select the days that you can commit to exercise. Do not leave it up to chance and let nothing stand in the way of you participating in daily or weekly workout.
3) Figure out what you enjoy doing: Walking, running, yoga, dancing, jumping rope, skating, lifting weights, swimming, bike ridding etc.
4) Do your homework to find the right program for you: Ask friends and family, search the web and check out news articles on the latest trends. You never now, you might find a hot new fitness program that incorporates something that you truly enjoy. If you do not LOVE your workout regimen, you are less likely to stick with it.
5) Figure out if you are a gym person or fitness studio person: Come January people often end up in the wrong places. Studio people end up at gyms and gym people end up at studios. Decide before you sign a contract. Try out a few classes, meet a few people and ask for their opinions. Sometime the gym atmosphere can appear to be pretty hardcore, finding yourself surrounded by lots of unfamiliar equipment, with many people who are incredibly dedicated and serious about exercise. This can be a great motivation for some, whereas others might find this somewhat intimidating. Fitness studios are often smaller, consisting of participants who are serious about getting into shape, but who prefer a community like atmosphere where they can also make friends and socialize. In addition, studios tend to specialize in particular programs or a specific fitness genre, as a result you might get more of what you love. Whereas gyms offer many different types of programs in hopes of appealing to a broader group of people. Gyms typically prefer memberships that require at the very minimum a 1-year commitment, whereas fitness studios allow for more flexibility in payments, by offering class cards.
6) Decide how you will hold yourself accountable: People often make the mistake of thinking by locking themselves into a 1-year contract that this will automatically hold them accountable. Yes, this works for a very small group of people, but for the majority they simply end up making monthly donations to their local fitness facility. What will motivate you to workout? One idea is to find a small group of individuals who share your workout interests. Yes, having a single workout partner is great, but what happens if they decide to sleep in or skip a workout day, or several? Having a few individuals that you can count will keep you motivated, setting you up for success.
7) Have reasonable expectations & set reasonable goals: If you’re going from sitting on the sofa and watching TV after work to jumping into a new workout program, you are less likely to workout 5 to 7 days a week. Start out with a reasonable goal of perhaps exercising one day a week for 1 month, then adding an additional day by month two and so on. Weight loss is usually the number one motivating factor for wanting to get into shape, loosing 60 pounds in 60 days is a pretty lofty goal. A more reasonable goal is loosing 1 to 2 pounds per week, a much healthier approach to weight loss, that you are more likely to keep off.
8)Take a good look at your diet: People often make extreme dietary changes this time of year and unfortunately the more extreme the diet, the less likely you are to stick with it. Plus, if you are starving yourself, you will not have the energy to workout. Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all eating plan that everyone can follow. You can however make a few small dietary changes that can set you up for success. Rather than eating fewer, larger meals, or adapting to an extreme calorie restricting diet plan. Eat 5 to 6 meals smaller meals daily. Two of those meals can be fruit or a protein drink and make sure each of your meals are balanced with protein and complex carbohydrates.
9) Drink plenty of water before during and after your exercise program. Dehydration is another reason for a lack of success and A failed exercise regimen. If you feel miserable during or after exercise, you are less likely to have the desire to do it again. In one hour of exercise the body can lose approximately a quart or more of water depending on the activity. Be sure to stay hydrated to avoid dizziness, fatigue, nausea and body aches
10) Chart your progress & reward yourself: Take before pictures and make note of your before weight, along with your daily and weekly progress. This will help you to stay motivated, plus you’ll have great moments to refer back to once you’ve achieved your goal. Be sure to also reward yourself weekly, for even the smallest of accomplishments. In addition to having a big reward for yourself when you’ve accomplished the weight loss or workout goals that you’ve set out to achieve.
Here’s to great health and fitness in 2012!
“Brought To You by The Positive Pear & Shake Fitness