4 WAYS TO MAINTAIN BALANCE WHEN THINGS GET HECTIC (ACE Healthy Living Feb 2019)
It seems as though the pace of life continues to gain speed. Constant events, deadlines, goals and to-do lists fill the calendar. This pace of life can become stressful. Unfortunately, stress is one of the primary causes of disease, unhappiness and anxiety. When you are really busy, it’s likely you don’t have time for a shower, much less a massage or a vacation. So, how do you make time for de-stressing? Let’s get right to the point, because time is of the essence. Try any of the following actions to improve your ability to reduce stress, maintain balance and enhance resiliency. Each idea can be implemented daily with little time commitment.
- Change the way you think – Shift your focus to abundance rather than lack. Focus on what you have rather than what you don’t. This simple mindset shift evokes gratitude and a sense of peace. We inherently fear failure and rejection. We worry about trying to control every outcome in our lives. We compare ourselves to other people, and we believe that we are always behind. As easy as it is to compare ourselves to others, it really is something to avoid. Each person has his or her own challenges, feelings of lack and bouts of unhappiness. We all have our own story, each is unique and different. It’s O.K. to be content with where you are right now and be grateful for what you have in the present.
Action: Start a gratitude journal – For one week, each night before bed, write down three things for which you feel grateful, proud, happy or content. Note how these things came into your life. At the end of the week, assess how you feel. It’s likely a mood shift may have occurred, and you feel less stressed.
- Take a break – In the midst of an overwhelming schedule, a selfish break can feel irresponsible. However, a short five- to 10-minute break will clear the mind, help with fatigue and provide a much-needed pause during a busy day. If possible, go for a short walk outdoors. Nature provides grounding energy, and movement improves blood flow and produces mood-enhancing hormones. Better yet, pair regular breaks with a daily bout of exercise. Maintaining a consistent exercise program, even when life is hectic, will enhance your physical and emotional abilities to deal with stress.
Action: Walk in the present – In the next hour, take a five-minute break for a walk. Notice your surroundings and pay attention to how your body feels. Take inventory of how you feel prior to the walk and again after the walk.
- Be a superhero – Physical activity, smiling, power postures and deep breathing are quick fixes for stress-related physical symptoms. Our bodies display stress in external ways—headaches, gastrointestinal issues, sleeplessness, general aches and pains can often be attributed to stress. Even if you don’t experience severe symptoms, it’s likely you have experienced fatigue, general tightness around the neck and shoulders, and a slouchy, tired posture. You can trick your body into feeling fewer physical symptoms of stress by changing your physical posture. Stand up straight, align the spine and smile. This power posture is an instant boost.
Action: Pose like a superhero – During moments of stress or general tiredness, stand up and place your hands on your hips. Pretend you are a superhero and puff up your chest. Take five deep breaths. Fill your lungs and belly to capacity. Next, smile for 10 seconds. The simple act of smiling sends a positive signal to the brain and allows the body to relax a bit. This power posture can be helpful before presentations and difficult conversations, and for those times when you just feel overwhelmed.
- Practice mindfulness – When life is overwhelming, your mind naturally spins with multiple thoughts. Focusing your thoughts on the past can create feelings of regret and depression, and focusing on the future can foster feelings of anxiety. The only place we can be without worry is truly in the present. That means letting go of expectations of anything except what happens right now. Most of us have future deadlines, goals and ambitions. Being mindful in the moment does not mean that we let go of those things. It simply means we turn our attention to the task at hand, and really place our focus and energy with it. For some, mindfulness is being fully immersed in work. Taking the time to eat slowly, taste and enjoy food is a form of mindfulness. Paying attention to how your body feels during movement is mindfulness. Mindfulness might also take the shape of paying attention to the breath, something that occurs all day long without you giving it a second thought. Whatever form mindfulness takes for you, the point is that it can be done anytime, anywhere, and it provides immediate results. In as little as 60 seconds, your body and mind can become calm, and a sense of balance can be restored.
Action: Breathe – Assume a comfortable position with a tall posture, standing or seated. Set a timer for one to three minutes. Close your eyes and pay attention to your breath. Follow the inhale, follow the exhale. Try to inhale for the same duration as you exhale. Notice how you feel before this exercise and after.
It takes conscious effort and commitment to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle. These four ideas are quick and efficient ways to navigate stress and maintain balance when life gets hectic.
WAYS TO PREVENT FALLING (From Washington Post, Lean and Fit, Feb 27, 2019)
The author of this article had taken a fall and was apprehensive about falling again. She was 53 years of age. She consulted several people about how to prevent falls, and here are excerpts from that article regarding the advice she received.
- Practice the following:
Level 1. Balance on one foot. Start by doing it near a doorway or chair so there is something to grab for support.
Level 2. Use your non-dominant hand to stir a pot.
Level 3. Use your non-dominant hand to stir a pot while standing on one foot.
- If you are going to fall, the best way to do it is to bend a knee and roll at an angle over one shoulder to protect your hip and your noggin.
- Tuck your head, use your strength to direct your fall, and roll so that you take most of the impact on your backside, the upper back and/or gluts being the most resistant parts of your body.
- Wear “minimal” shoes with thin, flexible soles for both sports and everyday living. The information we get from the bottoms of our feet (the technical term is plantar neurosensory input) helps us maintain balance. This input, coupled with muscle strength and agility, is essential for generating a “good correctional movement” should we fall.
Debora’s Note: I recently took a fall while walking fast on a dark street. I tripped on uneven pavement and when I realized that I was not going to be able to regain balance, the one thing I told myself as I was falling, was, “Don’t hit your head on the sidewalk”. I did hit my nose and head, but I was able to keep from hitting hard by bracing myself with my arms. Despite a lot of facial bruising, I was unharmed. But I learned that walking in the dark requires one to pay extra attention to the surface you are walking on.
NUTRITION MISFIRES (excerpted from IDEA Food and Nutrition Nov. 2018)
There is so much conflicting information about food and nutrition, it is a challenge to determine what is the correct information. Stamp out misunderstandings by learning how top nutrition professionals set their clients straight on five all-too-common nutrition misfires.
Misfire #1 Sugar is bad; therefore, all carbs are bad.
“All carbs are not created equal,” advises Kathy McManus, MS, RDN, director of the Department of Nutrition at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. “There are some unhealthy sources, like white bread, white rice, white potatoes, and foods containing added sugar (cake, cookies, candy and sugar-sweetened beverages). These foods raise blood sugar and can lead to diabetes and weight gain. But “The right types of carbohydrate foods, such as intact whole grains, fruits, vegetables, beans and other legumes, are the foundation for a healthy diet.” (Intact whole grains include all layers of the original kernel: bran, germ and endosperm.)
Focus on reducing added sugar, not on reducing sugar that occurs naturally, as in fruit or all carbohydrates. it is added sugar or refined grain, limit intake. If it’s in whole foods, dig in, though be mindful of portion control even with healthy foods.
Misfire #2 Vegetarian diets are healthy, so I should avoid all animal foods.
Vegetarians have lower rates of overweight and obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers compared with those on a typical American diet (Appleby & Key 2016). That sounds pretty compelling, but it doesn’t necessarily mean animal foods (meat, poultry, fish, dairy products) have no place in a healthy diet. In addition to protein, meats are sources of well-absorbed minerals, including iron and zinc, while milk and other dairy products are great sources of calcium.
Misfire #3 Gluten is bad for some people; therefore, everyone should avoid gluten.
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. “The fact that gluten is a protein surprises people, since today’s food conversation is very positive about protein,” says Kim Kirchherr, MS, RDN, a nutrition consultant. People with celiac disease react to gluten in a way that damages the lining of their small intestine, leading to digestive symptoms like bloating, diarrhea and malabsorption of nutrients.
Wheat sensitivities are not always related to gluten. “Some people with irritable bowel syndrome are intolerant to the carbohydrate portions of wheat called oligosaccharides. But the majority of us are totally okay to consume wheat and gluten,” says Denise Barratt, MS, RDN. She says gluten-free products may have less iron, fiber and B vitamins, so reconsider switching unless you need to avoid gluten for health reasons.
The message shouldn’t be to avoid gluten; it should be to choose more nutrient-dense breads made with whole-grain flours and, especially, more intact whole grains like barley and quinoa, which don’t raise blood sugar as much.
Misfire #4 Juicing is the best way to get your fruit and veggies.
Recent research has shown that juices are an effective way to increase vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients in the diet (Zheng 2017). In the U.S., most people don’t eat enough fruit or vegetables and may miss out on the nutrients they provide: vitamins A and C, potassium, fiber, phytonutrients, and more.
Juicers, however, usually remove fiber, and fiber is important for digestive health and cholesterol reduction, and it helps keep blood sugar under control.
Calories are another consideration. You are probably consuming a lot more calories from juice than you would if you were eating the whole fruit.
Misfire #5 Vitamins and minerals are essential for health, so I should take a lot of them.
Vitamins and minerals are critical for good health, but “bigger isn’t always better. We can’t easily get rid of excess vitamins stored in fat, such as fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. The B vitamins and vitamin C, on the other hand, are water-soluble, and we excrete what we can’t absorb, so taking an excess of those may mean you are essentially flushing the money you paid for them down the toilet.
While a multivitamin and mineral supplement containing around 100% of the Daily Values may be low risk and could make up for nutrients missing in the diet (Ward 2014), we have little research on the long-term effects of large doses of vitamins, minerals and other dietary supplements. In the U.S., laws do not require the Food and Drug Administration to verify safety or effectiveness before dietary supplements are marketed to consumers (NIH 2011).
ENJOY THE HOLIDAYS. DON’T FORGET TO EXERCISE, EAT HEALTHY, AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, BE NICE AND SMILE A LOT.
NEW CLASS OFFERING
Basic Full-Body Tune-Up” – 60-minute – 6-weeks – Starts Wednesday, March 2 from 4pm-5pm.
Taught by personal trainer, Linda Meyer, CPT, this group class (min. 4; max. 5 participants) focuses on flexibility, stability, strength, balance and endurance. It is designed as a full body workout with the aim of helping each person improve their overall fitness level.
Beginner level of fitness: this is a perfect class for motivated individuals who currently lack the strength, balance and flexibility they once had, and want to regain these qualities.
The cost for this 6-week class is $99 per participant. Call or email Julie Cohen, 847-251-6834 or Julie@pftl.net .
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU?
Brace yourself. According to Rod K. Dishman, Ph.D., director of the Behavioral Fitness Laboratory at the University of Georgia, nearly 50 percent of people who begin an exercise program drop out within the first 6 months. The question is, “Why?” What is it about sticking with a fitness routine that causes so many people abandon it?
The answer? Motivation. They don’t want health and fitness badly enough. It is a simple fact of human psychology that if we want something badly enough, we’ll do everything we can to get it. Your challenge is to find out what motivates you to get serious about fitness and stick with it.
You do not have to be part of that 50 percent who quit. You can stay committed and finish strong. It is all about finding what motivates you personally. Here are some possible motivators for you.
- Do it for your health. Consistent exercise and healthy eating are the two very best things you can do for your health. You will develop a strong, healthy heart, reduce your chances of many cancers, prevent diabetes, keep a sharp mind and resist dementia and avoid many of the common ailments that come with aging. It is possible to age without decay, and the key to this is exercise and eating well.
- Do it to look better. Appearance isn’t everything, but most of us care how we look. A strong and healthy person just looks good. And it isn’t all physical. Your demeanor will change as you develop the confidence that comes from the discipline of fitness. You will appear more energetic and confident because you will be more energetic and confident!
- Do it to relieve stress. Really! It isn’t a cliché. Exercising really does cause physical changes in your brain and nervous system that results in feelings of calmness and well-being. In fact, you may get so hooked on the mental benefits of exercise that you will crave it!
- Do it to be strong. If you have never done focused weight training, then you literally have no idea of the total transformation that you will feel after just a few weeks. There is nothing like bending over to pick something up that normally results in discomfort, strain and even pain, only to find out that it is a piece of cake! And by getting strong now, you reduce your risk of age-related falls and fractures because you have the core strength and balance to keep yourself stable.
WHAT ARE YOU AIMING AT?
Zig Ziglar once said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” And each of us knows from our own experience that he is right. The general flow of human life tends to be toward ease and comfort. One day flows into the next, and many of us never quite get around to turning our good intentions into reality.
Those ‘good intentions,’ while no doubt admirable, tend to remain unrealized mainly because they are too vague. Vague ideas are impossible to focus on and aim for; they are moving targets.
Do you have moving targets in your life? Perhaps you want to eat a more healthy diet or lose the winter weight that has crept upon you. Maybe you just want to establish a regular workout routine and stick with it this time.
The keys to your success are two-fold: steady the target and create momentum.
You Can’t Hit a Moving Target – Without setting specific goals, your good intentions are exactly like a moving target. You would like to lose some weight, feel a little better, make a change in your diet–but without clearly defined goals and methods, you can’t focus and make it happen.
The way to steady the target so you can finally hit the bull’s eye is to define your goals and write them down:
- How much weight do you want to lose?
- What kind of changes do you want to make in your diet?
- How many days per week do you want to exercise?
- Which article of clothing do you wish would fit your body again?
- How much weight would you like to lift while strength training?
Once you know where you want to end up, you are much more likely to get there. But you have to start moving toward your goals. That is where momentum comes in.
Create momentum to reach your goals – Sometimes, the hardest part of reaching a goal is just getting started. That first day of doing things differently or the first experience of bypassing an unhealthy treat in favor of a food that will give you more energy can be daunting. It isn’t easy and it certainly isn’t fun.
So how do you get that momentum? How do you start moving? Accountability is the answer. Having someone else involved in your efforts can be the most important factor in your success.
It is hard to change lifelong habits on your own. You need radical motivation that comes from involving others in your efforts. Setting deadlines, making commitments and entering contests all provide an external motivation that will carry you through even the toughest temptations. And once you get started, you will find that the momentum principle kicks in and it becomes easier and easier to keep going.
Start NOW – You can make that moving target come to a screeching halt and blast the bull’s eye right out of it by taking a few minutes to write down what you want. Don’t make it your goals too broad; be specific. And then begin brainstorming ways to get others involved with you; that will provide your momentum. Success is within your reach. You can do this!
Oh, and remember, our trainers are here to help you the entire way!
WANT A FREE ROWING MACHINE?
We will soon be getting a new stationary bike and need to make room for it. Consensus from trainers has indicated that our Schwinn rowing machine is not used very much, so we are giving it away. It is missing a foot pad, but otherwise is fully functional. Let us know if you want to take possession of the rower.
NEW SMALL GROUP CLASSES
“Basic Full-Body Tune-Up” – 60-minute – 6-weeks – Starts Wednesday, March 19 at 3PM
Taught by personal trainer, Linda Meyer, CPT, this group class (max. 5 participants) will focus on flexibility, stability, strength, balance and endurance. It is designed as a full body workout with the aim of helping each person achieve his/her fitness goals.
Beginner level of fitness: this is a perfect class for motivated individuals who currently lack the strength, balance and flexibility they once had, and want to regain these qualities.
“Zumba Fitness”– 60-minute – 6 weeks – Starts Tuesday, March 18 at 6:15pm & Thursday, March 20 at 7:30am
We have a new instructor (who is also a personal trainer), Leslye Jones-Beatty, CPT, who will be teaching a small group (max. 5 participants) 40 minutes of Zumba Fitness followed by 20 minutes of Balance and Resistance exercise, starting March 18 and March 20. These are great classes for those who want to learn Zumba in a focused way, and get a full body workout at the same time. Beginner to intermediate level of fitness.
“Mid-Day Power Play” – 60 minutes – 6 weeks – Starts Thursday, March 20 at 12:30pm
This class, taught by trainer Bev Pines, CPT, is designed to build whole body strength and flexibility by way of a blend of yoga inspired moves and body-weight and resistance exercises. You’ll also be taught how to relieve tight muscles that block freedom of movement. Designed for people who do not have major orthopedic issues, although modifications will be made for those with minor issues. Beginning to intermediate level of fitness.
“Fitness Challenge” – 60 minutes – 6 weeks – Starts Tuesday, March 18 at 2PM
This is an advanced class for fit individuals who want a challenging way to increase strength, power and agility. The format will include advanced core challenges, plyometrics and high intensity cardio. Taught by trainer Keri Werner, CPT, participants should gain muscle definition, increase stamina and burn calories. Advanced level of fitness is required.
The cost for any of these 6-week sessions is $20 per class meeting, or $18 per class ($108) if paid in advance. Call Julie at 847-251-6834 to register.
WHAT AMOUNT OF PROTEIN IS ENOUGH? (IDEA Fitness Journal Feb. 2014)
Protein is the latest item to be given the health halo effect, a phenomenon that leads people to overestimate the healthfulness of a food based on one quality. With customers convinced that protein-rich foods will help them lose weight, boost energy or bulk up, food manufacturers have capitalized on the halo effect by creating new products to meet the demand. While protein is essential to life and good health, most Americans get plenty without adding protein-packed snacks.
The latest protein research stresses that the degree of physical activity is a key factor in determining protein needs.
The Institute of Medicine recommends getting 10%–35% of total calories from protein; American adults on average consume nearly 15% of their caloric needs from protein. While the definition of a “high”-protein diet varies, it is generally defined as drawing 25%–30% of calories from protein.
Protein recommendations vary based on your activity level and health status. An absolute amount of protein, 0.8–1.2 grams per kilogram of body weight (1kg = 2.2lbs), is necessary to promote fullness and weight loss. Higher amounts are beneficial to body composition.
If you’re a healthy, sedentary adult, the recommended dietary allowance of 0.8 g/ kg of body weight is adequate to preserve and repair body tissues (that’s about 54 g for someone who weighs 150 pounds). However, 1.2–1.7 g/kg is suggested if you’re an endurance athlete (AND 2013a), and 1.4–1.8 g/kg is recommended if you’re a strength athlete.
For healthy adults, 2 g/kg is the maximum usable amount of protein, and there is no benefit in consuming more.
Excessive protein rarely causes problems for healthy people. However, protein exceeding 45% of total calories will trigger nausea, weakness and diarrhea. For some, too much protein taxes kidney function and may cause painful kidney stones and dehydration. Excessive protein may also leech valuable bone-strengthening calcium from the body, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.
TWEAKING AN EXERCISE ROUTINE TO STAY STRONG AFTER 50 (Reuters Health Information)
People turning 50 may want to consider tweaking their exercise routines because as they age stiffer joints, slower recovery from injury and the loss of lean body mass are among the perils facing the youngest baby boomers, fitness experts say.
Studies have shown that even a 90-year-old can build muscle, so the half-century mark is a good time to retire joint-stressing high jumps and to start lifting dumbbells to build strength.
Dr. Wayne Westcott, co-author of the book “Strength Training Past 50,” said maintaining lean body mass becomes harder with aging. “The average man in good shape is about 85% lean weight, organs, blood, bones, muscles and skin, to 15% fat. The average healthy woman has a 75/25 ratio,” said Westcott.
“It’s more challenging with age, but if you do strength training you can maintain your lean muscle to about age 70,” he said, adding that an older woman who doesn’t resistance train will lose up to 10 pounds of lean mass per decade.
Westcott places equal value on cardiovascular training. “We recommend approximately 20 to 30 minutes of resistance exercises two to three times a week. Then try to have an equal amount of aerobic activity four to five days a week,” he explained.
Westcott added that older adults, who are hitting the gym in increasing numbers, might want to avoid explosive, high velocity activities, such as high jumps.
In 1990 there were 1.9 million health club members aged 55 and above, while in 2012 there were over 10 million, according to a 2014 report by the trade association IHRSA.
Dr. Barbara Bushman of the American College of Sports Medicine said regular physical activity, rather than a sedentary lifestyle, has the potential to minimize the physiological changes that occur with age and inactivity, in addition to limiting the progression of chronic diseases.
“Older adults can benefit from exercise, and although absolute improvements may be less than for younger adults, relative increases can be similar,” Bushman said, adding that older adults may take longer to make improvements.
The aging exerciser also faces longer warm-up and recovery times, as the body is stiffer and slower to heal. And the burning of fewer calories means paying even more attention to diet.
Staying hydrated is also important. We need to be sure to hydrate even if we don’t feel particularly thirsty. “Hydration will keep all systems working much more efficiently – and even help keep our thinking clear.”
THOUGHT FOR THE MONTH – Spring is coming and summer is not far behind. Now is the time to make some positive changes in lifestyle, body weight, fitness and health. Fit people do have more fun.