Exercise Reduces Stress, Anxiety & Depression…Even When You Hate it!

Excerise-Reduces-Stress-Anxiety-Depression-The-Positive-PearA 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!!

Examples of exercises that are beneficial for various conditions

Happy Earth Day 2013…We Are Boston Strong.

Happy-Earth-Day-2013-The-Positive-PearHappy Earth Day. Earth Day is meant to raise awareness about various environmental issues, such as air pollution, water pollution, deforestation, habitat destruction and lack of biodiversity, sustainable energy, reduction of energy usage, climate changes and issues relating to global warning, ecological crisis, species poaching and loss of species, and environmental policies.

One very important issues of concern lately is Neonicotinoid pesticides and its detrimental impact on the Bee population. Neonicotinoids are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically related to nicotine. This class of  insecticides has been in existence since the 1980’s initially developed by Shell and further developed by Bayer in the 1990’s. The neonicotinoids were initially developed because they showed reduced toxicity to mammals compared to the previously used insecticides which were organophosphate and carbamate. However, these toxins have always been harmful to insects.

 

Researches have linked Neonicontinoid to the Honey Bee’s inability to learn scents, hampering their esfforts to collect food. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) first discovered in 2005, has dramatically worsen within this last year. Honey Bee deaths are on the rise around the globe, with a commercial loss of hives at 40% to 50% that’s approximately 5,650,000 lost hives, valued at $1.61 billion. Needless to say that loss of the honey Bee population is a threat to U.S. Agriculture and according to Albert Einstein “If the honey bee becomes extinct, mankind will follow within four years.” Italy, France, Slovenia and Germany have taken action to limit the use of bee-killing pesticides.  In January 2013, the European Food Safety Authority stated that neonicotinoids pose an unacceptably high risk to bees.  The European Commission has also  pushed for neonicotinoid pesticide ban in Euorpe, but chemical companies such as Syngenta and Bayer have loudly protested.  What can we expect from The U.S. Department of Agriculture? Probably about as much as we expected regarding food labeling of GMO foods. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently in the midst of approving a deadly NEW neonicotinoid called Sulfoxaflor.

What can we do? Well, as the food movement learned regarding GMO Food Labeling with the failure of Prop 37, we can’t outspend “Big Food” and large named corporations with deep pockets who are causing irreparable harm to the environment and to human life. Additionally, we can’t out campaign them, but we can potentially outsmart them. As with many things that are out of our control, I think it helps to drive awareness, because our efforts large or small due make a difference. We do have a voice, we can help in this instance by asking Congress to Ban Neonicotinoid Pesticides before they completely devastate the U. S. Bee Population.

Boston Strong on Earth Day

Earth-Day-Boston-2013-The-Positive-PearOn Earth day as my focus moved from our food, the environment and the many hazards that both the healthy and chronically afflicted are exposed to, to focusing on our loss of peace and the demand for justice in Boston. I could not help but think pf our community as we return to a form of normalcy. We usually spend a great day in Boston doing something earth day related, but after the bombings and subsequent lock down of the city, which lead to the apprehension of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, in an area that is a short distance from where my family once lived, we elected to donate our earth day time to paying our respects to so many who were affected by the bombings.  We would have attended the Boston Marathon this year as we do each year, if my youngest weren’t on crutches. We actually cheered for my sister-n-law who ran in the Marathon for the first time this year. We also had many friends who were also running and though forever touched by this horrible incident, all came away completely unscathed. On this earth day we honored  8 year old Martin Richard, 29 year old Krystle Campbell, 23 year old BU Grad Student Lingzi Lu of China and 23 year old MIT Police officer Sean Collieral and the many victims the Boston Marathon bombings. We prayed for peace and comfort for the families, along with gratitude and appreciation for own safety and for those we know and love. A calmness has been restored to the Boston area. Peace and hope have been restored in all of our hearts, along with renewed faith and confidence in humanity. Through the vigilance of those who helped on the day of the bombing to our law enforcement agencies who were on the ground until the suspect was apprehended. We can only hope now that circumstances will allow justice to be served in an appropriate manner. May Peace light & love be with each of you and may we all continue to be Boston Strong.

Very Cherry Berry Smoothie

Very Cherry Berry Non-Dairy Smoothie

1 Cup Frozen Trader Joe’s Very Cherry Berry Blend

(or) your own mixture of frozen Cherries, Blackberries, Blueberries & Red Raspberries

1 Organic Banana (optional)

1/2 cup of Zico Coconut Water

1/2 Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Smooth Non-Dairy Beverage*

(or) 1/2 Cup of MimicCreame Organic Almond & Cashew Cream*

1/4  Trader Joe’s Organic Apple Grape Juice Blend

1 Serving of  AmaZing Grass Green SuperFood

Add all liquid ingredients to the blender followed by the frozen Very Cherry Berry Blend. Turn the blender on low and allow ingredients to mix slowly while you pour in a scoop of the AmaZing Grass. This Green SuperFood adds a very nice color to your berry blend, giving it a very rich deep red color. While also providing a great boost of  whole foods, antioxidants, fiber, enzymes and probiotics.

*Note: Add either the Almond Milk (or) the MimicCreme Almond & Cashew Cream, both are delicious and sweetened naturally, but the two together in this smoothie would make it far too sweet.

You’re getting your potassium with the coconut water, so bananas are completely optional and only change the taste of this smoothie slightly. I have this smoothie daily and often without bananas and it tastes great either way.

        Kid Friendly Version:

1 Cup Frozen Trader Joe’s Very Cherry Berry Blend

1/2 Cup Traders Joe’s Orange, Peach, Mango Juice Blend 

1/4 Cup Organic Apple Grape Juice Blend

1/4 Cup Trader Joe’s Vanilla Almond Smooth Non-Dairy Beverage

1 Organic Banana

1/4 to 1/2 scoop of AmaZing Grass KIDZ SuperFood Wild Berry Flavor

*The AmaZing Grass KIDZ Wild Berry Flavor is VERY Berry tasting. I can only use a very small amount for my daughter’s smoothies. Play around with serving to see what your child likes.

A Little Exercise Motivation

EXERCISE MOTIVATION:

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!!!

More on Exercise & the types of exercise that work well for Spondys & Spoonies

The Human Spirit Needs Nature Which Heals Our Mind & Body

“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

1) Beach

2) Mountains

3) Local Parks

4) National Parks

5) Landscapes

6) Camp Sites

A Few Outdoor Nature Activities for Summer:

1) Walking

2) Biking

3) Hiking

4) Rollerblading

3) Boating

4) Kayaking

5) Canoeing

 6) Paddle Boarding

7) Swimming

8) Camping

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!

Natural Stress Management Techniques via The Positive Pear