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stomach upset

Managing the Problem: Natural Treatments for Gastrointestinal Disorders

Millions of Americans suffer from some form of gastrointestinal disorder. In fact, as many as 45 million Americans have irritable bowel syndrome. There are many different kinds of GI disorders—and different ways to treat them. It can be a painful and disruptive way to live, and people often suffer for years without realizing the real source of the problem is digestive in nature. If you are experiencing chronic heartburn, bowel discomfort, persistent diarrhea, or severe cramping, you may have a serious digestive problem and should consult your doctor.

If you are someone who experiences digestive ailments, know there are plenty of ways to effectively address them through diet, exercise, and other natural methods. Gut health plays a critical role in our overall well-being, so making sure you take the steps to optimize your digestive health is imperative. Here are some common ailments, as well as strategies that can help alleviate the associated symptoms.

Dysbiosis

When harmful bacteria is dominant in the GI tract, the gut is in a state of imbalance, also known as dysbiosis. While the optimal solution is to achieve balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria, it can be a problematic situation for many people. Bloating is one of the more unpleasant symptoms, but this can be treated with probiotics.[1]

Acid reflux

Acid reflux is a condition in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus, causing severe discomfort and, over time, damage to the esophagus.[2] Other symptoms include nausea, chest pain,  tooth erosion, bad breath, and trouble breathing or swallowing. There are a number of approaches a patient can implement, including weight loss, not overeating, emphasizing low-carb foods (which inhibits bacterial overgrowth caused by undigested carbs), minimizing carbonated drinks, and limiting alcohol and coffee intake.

Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s Disease is an inflammatory bowel condition thought to be caused by family history and genetics, though the precise causes are unknown. It’s a painful condition with symptoms that may include diarrhea, rectal bleeding, fever, weight loss, and abdominal pain. While anti-inflammatories are typically used to treat Crohn’s, there are several natural approaches that have worked for Crohn’s sufferers. Wild oregano oil is sometimes used to get rid of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, while probiotics can be helpful, taken in amounts high enough to have a therapeutic effect.[3]

Irritable bowel syndrome

IBS is a common problem among Americans, who may experience diarrhea, painful dry stools, or loose stools. Bloating is another problem commonly associated with IBS which, as mentioned, can be treated with probiotics found in live yogurt. Symptoms are generally treated through diet—with an emphasis on low-fat, high-fiber foods—and by avoiding dairy, alcohol, caffeine, and foods that tend to produce gas.

Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis is caused by small pouches formed in the colon. The condition occurs when these pouches become inflamed, which can cause severe abdominal pain and fever.[4] Since obesity is considered a major risk factor, exercise is usually indicated as a form of treatment. A severe attack may require treatment with antibiotics and a liquid diet that allows the colon to heal. This can also help prevent the need for surgery to treat or remove the impacted portion of the colon. Dietary modifications include an increase in vegetables, legumes, and whole grains.

Gallstones

Gallstones are hard deposits that form in the gallbladder, an organ involved in digestion. There are about 1 million new cases of gallstones diagnosed each year in the United States, according to the American Gastroenterological Association.[5] It’s a condition associated with high amounts of cholesterol or excessive waste in the patient’s bile.

Some gallstone patients have success treating gallstones by drinking apple juice or using apple cider vinegar to cleanse the system. Milk thistle, which is available in pill form, may also be effective in treating gallstones naturally. Studies have shown that regular exercise, such as running or walking, can help prevent the development of gallstones.

The millions of Americans who live with some form of intestinal disorder struggle with unpredictable pain and digestive problems. They are manageable conditions that are difficult to cure. However, a combination of natural treatment methods, diet, and exercise can make a significant difference for patients.


Henry Moore is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both.

References:

[1] https://plexusworldwide.com/sunnyshare/trust-your-gut/probiotics-bloating

[2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/146619.php

[3] https://www.healthline.com/health/crohns-disease/alternative-treatments

[4] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diverticulitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20371758

[5] https://www.gastro.org/practice-guidance/gi-patient-center/conditions

computer elearning

How Sharp is Your Saw: Using eLearning to Get More Coaching Clients

One of the most powerful tools in any coach’s arsenal is his or her knowledge of which coaching techniques to apply to a given situation and how to apply them to best meet clients’ needs. “Sharpening the saw,” or continually honing one’s skills, ensures coaches are on top of the most effective practices.

Learning new skills and coaching techniques is easier than ever through eLearning–educational programs delivered online. Online courses are more accessible, less expensive and faster to master than traditional educational programs. And best of all, they can be taken at the learner’s convenience, 24/7/365.

So how does eLearning help coaches sharpen their saw? In his mega-bestseller The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Franklin Covey describes “sharpening the saw” as a way of “preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have–you. It means having a balanced program for self-renewal in the four areas of your life: physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual.”

By engaging in eLearning to expand their knowledge of proven, effective practices, coaches can treat clients with a wider variety of issues. These same practices also work on the coach! Taking online training gives coaches the opportunity to see their own issues, in each of the four areas mentioned by Covey, from a fresh perspective, making them better practitioners and better people in general.

Approaching eLearning not only as a tool to gain skills as a coach, but also as a way to live to one’s full potential provides extra motivation when taking online courses and makes “sharpening the saw” more fun!

Reprinted with permission from the SoleLife Blog.


Nichole Lowe is a board certified Health Coach, Educator and Presenter. She is the Founder and CEO of SOLELIFE™. SOLELIFE™ is an online training platform that offers proven advanced training for coaches and health practitioners in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) to improve its customers’ client results and grow their referral business. It’s an all-in-one solution for professional coaches where they can learn new skills, connect with peers, and gain valuable industry knowledge in a first-ever fully social eLearning platform.

If you’re interested in learning more about DBT, SOLELIFE offers a free course, Understanding DBT.

Woman Holding Her Father's Hand

There Are More Than 5 Million U.S. Teachers…

You are having dinner with a friend and notice a softball-sized protrusion on the left side of your friend’s head. Do you inquire about your observation? Maybe you make jokes? Or, perhaps you choose to remain silent.

When we experience or witness cognitive declines, we meet them with resistance and say: “Dang it. Where the heck are my keys?” Or, “Idiot. I hate when I can’t remember.” Or, “Geez, how many times do we have to have this conversation?”

Sometimes, we say nothing.

Silence speaks unkindly.

Despite popular beliefs about cognitive decline being a natural concomitant of the aging process, the National Institute of Health on Aging reminds us that “age-related changes in cognition are not uniform across all cognitive domains or even across all [people ages 65 and greater.]” There is tremendous variability in cognitive functioning among people who comprise this heterogenous group – humans who’s ages are 65 and greater.

And when cognitive shifts do present, often as an inability to remember recently learned information, important dates or repeating questions – we, yet again, opt for silence.

Or, we ignore, deny, hide and humor.

It is estimated that 60% of female and 70% of male Americans will live dementia free lives.

In a fear-based culture, one that favors an us vs. them mindset, these sorts of comforting statistics do not readily capture our attention. Instead, we glom onto facts such as: “There are 5.4 million Alzheimer’s patients in the United States.” For these millions of Americans, their existence is described as “terrible,” “they’ve been robbed of their memories,” and “this is just devastating.” These stories are of loss, wrapped in loss, and suspended by more loss.

Yes. It has been suggested that in the brains of people affected by Alzheimer’s (as determined by autopsy), there is evidence of diminished neural connections, brain atrophy or surface area decreases, neurofibrillary tangles and cellular death. This is just to name a few of the potential losses evidenced in the brain.

However, these changes are often foreshadowed by present-day behaviors and interactions presented by people affected by Alzheimer’s. When we talk about how terrible Alzheimer’s is, this has the potential to inform and shape people’s experiences. How different would our experiences be if we used language of strength and resilience and gratitude to frame the story of cognitive transformations?

What if we begin the story from a different vantage point? A story that begins by us listening rather than narrating. One that holds as the hero of the story the one who is directly affected by Alzheimer’s.

When I read statistics on the number of people in the U.S. affected by Alzheimer’s, I interpret this as the number of possible teachers waiting for class to begin. Yes. People affected by Alzheimer’s have much to teach.

We have much to learn. We know so very little. We could equate our knowledge with the measurement of animals from largest to smallest. Our knowledge is equivalent to that of a tiny crustacean, a Stygotantulus, that measures a tenth of a millimeter in length.

When we stop fearing them and start seeing them as us, maybe then we will be ready for class to begin. Maybe then we will begin to learn.

These teachers hold valuable gifts in the realm of practicing present moment awareness. We could only hope to be so lucky to be chosen to be a teacher.

When we show up for class, with a mindset of not-knowing, perhaps then we can begin to meet cognitive transformations with curiosity, rather than resistance, and begin saying: “Deep breath in, my keys are temporarily out of sight?” Or “Gosh, I wonder how long this will last?” Or “Curious. It appears to me that for you this is the first time we are having this conversation?”

If you’re not ready for class to begin, this is perfectly fine.

Please though, say something to your friend when you notice a softball-sized protrusion that presents as forgetting important dates.

Be brave.

Choose to speak kinder than silence. These are gifts.


Adrienne Ione is a dynamic, mindful, high-fiving, cognitive behavioral therapist, certified dementia specialist and senior personal trainer. Founder of Silver Linings Integrative Health, a company with an aim of promoting health, fitness and wellbeing opportunities for people to thrive across the lifespan.

Seniors using exercise ball and weights

How the Human Body Changes As It Ages

The human body undergoes a lot of changes during its lifetime. From infancy to old age, there are biochemical processes in the body that define these changes.

Some of them are visible externally, such as the greying of hair, skin becoming less supple, etc.

But beneath all of this, some processes happen to make all of this possible.

Metabolic Changes

Metabolism is defined as the chemical reactions that occur to keep the body functional.

Although metabolism does decrease during old age, this effect can be slowed down by exercising and staying fit.

Metabolism is influenced by four major factors:

  • Resting Metabolic Rate – This is the number of calories that you burn while you’re in a state of rest. This is the least amount of energy that you need to keep functioning.
  • Thermic Effect of Food – This is the number of calories that you burn by digesting and absorbing food.
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis – The number of calories that you burn by small actions that are not defined as an exercise. Ex: Casual walking, washing dishes, etc.
  • Exercise – This is the number of calories that you burn through active exercise.

Through active exercise, you can sustain your metabolism while aging. This does not prevent it, but delays the onset and reduces the impact.

Genetic Changes During Aging

Throughout a person’s lifetime, their cells are exposed to harmful environments, continuously damaging them. This reduces the body’s capacity to heal from injury and regrow dead cells. This damage to the cells also damages the DNA.

While DNA can replicate, it’s not infinite.

It’s limited by Telomeres.

Telomeres are protein complexes that cap the end of linear DNA strands. During replication of DNA strands, Telomeres do not replicate. Instead, they stretch themselves out between the newly created strands. Because of this, there are a limited number of times that DNA can replicate.

It’s been observed that there’s a direct correlation between the shortening of telomeres and the production of somatic stem cells throughout the course of aging. This shortening of telomeres is what causes a large number of age-related diseases in humans.[1]

Hormonal Changes During Aging

Hormones cause significant changes while the human body ages.

Before adulthood, there’s a substantial increase in the production of the growth hormone in the human body.

After attaining adulthood, the production of this hormone is reduced and ultimately declines as the person grows older.

Tropic hormones rise during puberty.  This hormone increases the production of sex steroids and growth hormones. It’s been observed that the decline of Growth Hormone reduces by 15% for every ten years in adulthood.[2]

Sleep is also a factor in hormonal changes during aging.[3]

Without adequate sleep, hormonal imbalances have been known to occur, when compared to individuals who get a proper amount of sleep regularly.

In men, it’s been found that there is a significant reduction in the production of testosterone as they age.

This commonly happens during Andropause. This reduction in testosterone is attributed to the loss of libido, depression, the decline in cognitive ability, and loss of muscle mass and strength.

This can be slowed to an extent through an active exercise to maintain muscle mass. But it’s not entirely preventable.

The reason for this reduction in the production of testosterone is because of the reduced hypothalamic secretion in the pituitary gland.[4] Although this can be treated with Androgen replacement therapy, it is usually only reserved for those with an abnormal change in their testosterone levels.

In women, the balance of hormones changes during menopause. Common symptoms of menopause include “hot flashes,” mood swings, and problems with sleeping.

Menopause typically happens to women in their mid-forties. Their bodies start making less of the female sex hormone, Estrogen. Because of this, their menstrual cycles slow down, become less regular, and eventually stop altogether. This signifies the end of the woman’s fertility.

When a woman has her last period that is when her menopause begins. In addition to the end of menstrual cycles, the walls of her vagina will also dry up and thin.[5]

Both Andropause and menopause cannot be completely stopped, but the loss of hormones can be reduced with hormone replacement therapy. This is done by artificially injecting hormones like estrogen and testosterone into the person’s body.

Exercise can lessen the impact of this to an extent, but it is not entirely preventable. It’s a natural cycle that happens to everyone.

Slowing Down the Effects of Aging

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to prevent the effects of aging. It’s a natural process that cannot be stopped. But it can be reduced to a great extent with controllable factors.

But for most people, a healthy and balanced diet with proper exercise can keep the effects of aging from impacting them too adversely. You can follow this at any age, and it isn’t restricted to only those that are beginning to feel the signs of aging.

Loss of muscle mass is a significant aspect of aging, and continuous exercise can help keep muscles from degenerating from loss of testosterone. A proper protein diet also helps, since this ensures that there’s an adequate supply of protein for the human body to repair damaged cells. [6]

Talk to your doctor about a proper exercise regimen for you to arrive on a schedule that is suited to your requirements.

Maintaining this should help prolong your lifespan while minimizing the adverse effects of aging.


Jill Roberts, is an owner and editor of Wellness Geeky Health & Wellness Publication. She and her team dedicated to provide readers and clients with most reliable Health information. She holds Master’s Degree in Molecular Biology and PHD in Epidemiology and Clinical Research. She also worked as an editors for European Medical publication (European Medical Journal) for 7 years.

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3295054/#b9-ad-2-3-186
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279163/
  3. https://www.wellnessgeeky.com/3-tips-to-get-more-sleep-and-reduce-stress/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1502317/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072495/
  6. https://www.wellnessgeeky.com/arbonne-protein-shakes-powder-reviews/
apple-world

Waste Not, Want Not

In 32 years (2050), we will be dealing with major food issues. By then, the global population will have grown from today’s 7.6 billion people to 10 billion people (not due to lots of new babies, due mainly to longer lifespans related to better health care and nutrition). We will need 60% more food than is available today. To do so, farmers will need to increase crop yield, use water more effectively, and feed animals more efficiently. The agricultural industry is working hard on that—and climate change complicates it all.

As athletes, we like having plenty of food to eat and clean water to drink. Hence, we want to think about how we can invest in a sustainable future with our food and lifestyle practices. While we may suffer less from food shortages than will the people and athletes in less developed countries, we won’t be able to escape these environmental problems:

  • oppressive heat that not only damages crops but also drains the fun from playing outdoor sports, like soccer and tennis;
  • storms that disrupt plane travel for sports teams, as well as the flights of thousands of recreational athletes going to, let’s say, New York City for a marathon;
  • floods that ruin farms and crops, as well as playing fields;
  • droughts that kill crops, golf courses, and gardens.

The timely topic of sustainable diets and animal agriculture was prominent at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Food & Nutrition Convention & Expo (#FNCE). The message was clear: We are facing the urgent need to curb greenhouse gas emissions (GHGE) to reduce our carbon footprint and invest in our future well-being. Here’s some of what I learned from speakers Frank Mitloehner PhD, professor and air quality specialist at the University of California-Davis, and Amy Myrdal Miller RD of Farmer’s Daughter Consulting. Perhaps this information will nudge you to think more about how your food and lifestyle choices impact the climate—and inspire you to make some changes.

Waste less food.

Up to 40% of the food we produce gets wasted. About 16% of that happens at the farm (e.g., sick animals not treated with antibiotics, unharvested crops due to labor shortages or “ugly” produce); 40% happens in food service and restaurants, and 43% in our homes. Who among us hasn’t tossed out “ugly” apples, over-ripe bananas, and perfectly good leftovers?  A huge contributor to food waste is the “best used by” date on food packages. Please note: the “best used by” date is not a “don’t eat this” expiration date, but rather a marker for quality and freshness.

Wasted food required energy to be produced and then transported to your supermarket (and landfill). Wasted food takes up 21% of precious (and limited) landfill space; this represents the largest percentage of all waste in US landfills. As it rots, creates the greenhouse gas methane.

To reduce food waste, you want to shop carefully, use leftovers, and compost food scraps. Restaurants, colleges, and other quantity food producers need to figure out how to find a meaningful home for leftovers, such as by donating to food pantries, if permitted.

Eat less animal protein.

Farm animals produce methane, so reducing the demand for meat is another way to help the environment. Yet it is not the biggest way to help. That’s because meat/food production is not the leading cause of GHGE, despite what you might have read repeatedly in the recent past. Hence, you do not need to become vegan unless you truly want to do so. If everyone were to eat a vegan diet every day, GHGE might drop only 2.6%. But you do want to eat meat less often and in smaller portions. If all Americans honored Meatless Mondays, the drop in GHGE in the US would be 0.5%. While not the cure-all for carbon emissions, every little bit helps!

Instead of blaming farm animals for being methane producers, the far bigger sources of GHGE are from the burning of oil, coal, and natural gas (fossil fuels). The environmental benefits of eating less animal protein of any type pales in comparison to the benefits from reducing fossil fuel use. Using fossil fuels to create electricity accounts for 30% of all GHGE. Transportation accounts for 26%, and industry, 21%. Agriculture contributes to only 9%, and animal agriculture alone, about 4% of all GHGE in America. (This number includes the carbon footprint of animals from birth to being consumed.) To put this in perspective, a recent study showed that switching from a meat-based to a vegan diet for one year equates to the GHGE of one trans-Atlantic flight from the US to Europe.

Educate yourself about the pros and cons of grass-fed beef.

With conventional agriculture, corn-finished cattle are generally raised on pastureland first for about 10 to 12 months, and then finished on a corn-based diet for the last 4 months to optimize marbling. Grass-finished cattle spend a total of 26 to 30 months on pastureland before they are slaughtered. All of that time, they are making manure, belching from the high fiber grass diet, and releasing methane. Corn-fed cattle produce far less methane and are content to eat the corn when well-balanced into their diet. (Yes, I know there are other reasons you might want to choose grass-fed cattle. I’m just talking sustainability here.)

Another way to reduce GHGE might be to start considering the possibility of eating protein-rich insects. I admit, I’m not there yet—but they are a sustainable source of protein. We just need more research to learn about the digestibility and bioavailability of insect protein—and how to make it yummy.

Solving the world’s impending food (and water) crisis is a huge global issue. We need governments around the world to look holistically at the complex interplay between the environment and food production systems. While we need to work together globally, each of us can act locally. How about biking more, driving less and wasting less food, as well as eating less meat? The next generation will thank us.


Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her office in the Boston-area (Newton; 617-795-1875). Her best selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook and food guides for cyclists, marathoners, and soccer players offer additional information. They are available at www.NancyClarkRD.com. For her popular online workshop, see www.NutritionSportsExerciseCEUs.com.

seniors-exercising

Healthy Aging: A Paradigm Shift to Prevention

In a previous article about A Paradigm Shift to Personal Responsibility, I set up the premise that the healthcare system is technologically driven and derives its results through partnerships with the insurance industry, government, pharmaceutical industry, medical profession and the hospitals that deliver services to patients.

Given the complexity of the system, patients have have to learn to navigate it to get the proper guidance, access and information from the right people at the right time for the right results. Moreover, the system is laden with traps in the form of its many “hidden” extra costs which means that going down the wrong route can turn into an expensive mistakes. Therefore, I believe that people need to become educated on the value of prevention by living a life that represents the core values of “wellness” and all that this word has come to mean over the past two decades.

A Definition of Wellness

In 1993, I prepared a presentation for the Association of Human Resource Professionals entitled “Improving Health in The Workplace”. I designed it as a proposal to encourage corporate managers to see the value and importance of prevention through the eyes of the employee in partnership with the company. My intention was to develop a “win-win” model whereby the company enhanced employees’ lives by investing in programs that would help create a “workplace health consciousness”. This would assist people in making healthier choices thereby improving productivity and performance. The company would benefit in the form of fewer days of work missed and the cost of healthcare would decline as well.

Needless to say, the presentation did not net me any new corporate clients but it did yield a couple of wonderful personal training clients. My thought process was focused on personal health and fitness services delivered on site, but being a single fitness provider the idea was probably too impractical to pursue. My presentation focused on the individual and its takeaway messages was:

We are what we eat, we are what we think, we are what we do, we are what we feel, and finally we are what we believe.

My idea was that if we become healthy in our thinking and expression first, then our bodies will follow suit: our new thought patterns will foster the adoption of new attitudes and behaviors. This model is just as true today as it was back in 1993 because wellness is not fitness – it is a consciousness of health that is ingrained in what we value most about our life and what that means to us.

The Values of Wellness and Prevention

I think it only fair to share with you my vision statement because it goes to the heart of why I am a proponent of healthy aging and believe prevention comes from “within” us as we focus on our choices while living in the present.

Healthy aging is a consciousness issue. It is not merely the death of our cells but is a complex and dynamic process that is grounded in CHANGE as life unfolds for each of us. The challenge, as I see it, is in discovering the potential that lies within us to become all we were meant to be – mentally, physically, and spiritually. This potential can carry us to living a life of fulfillment, peace, and prosperity if we remain PRESENT during each moment of our life – living consciously. Learning about who we are from the “inside-out” while acting upon our choices in the present, enables and empowers us to live a life of great accomplishment. This is my vision of a world that is possible.

I see now that what I envisioned for healthy aging will disappear in the world of the iPhone and other technologies if we do not become active players in the awareness of our own body and other sources that can control our thoughts and other processes. The goal of prevention is to “catch” the stressors BEFORE they create “dis-ease” in the body causing chronic conditions such as cancer. The problem is that the tests and the other “preventative” measures being used today only catch problems AFTER they have started to take hold in our bodies.

The Power of Five

1. The Power of Thought: Thinking is life. What we think we become. Everything in life evolves from thought. From this power comes our imagination, affirmations and ability to visualize outcomes. Dreams come from our thoughts. Disneyland was once a thought in Walt Disney’s mind. If we are staring at our phones over 200 times a day (which has been tested), we are missing out on our life and the changes that are occurring right before our eyes.

2. The Power of Change: “Change is the only constant in the natural order” as one of my favorite teachers taught me back in 1982. How we deal with change and address the challenges that change brings, plays a key role in whether we can go with the flow – or remain stuck where we are. Comfort zones keep us trapped in the place where change becomes almost impossible to embrace, but if we learn to let go of the past and embrace who we are in the present, life becomes so much more rewarding. “Go with the flow” is the best advice I can give when dealing with ALL change – it makes life so much easier and rewarding.

3. The Power of Choice: Choice is the real point of power in life. We “choose” every day of our life: whether we to go to work, go to the store, play with our kids or plan our futures. The point of making choices in the present is to create what you want from your life – and in your life. If you choose your health you will become active without excuses. You will eat well. You will entertain uplifting and loving thoughts. You will express yourself gently to those you love. You will not demand but forgive. You will value your every experience and be grateful for your gifts. This is to choose life in all its wonder and potential happiness.

4. The Power of Belief: Believing in yourself is always the place to begin. Believing in your potential to accomplish great things and to make a difference in the world takes work but it is possible with proper reflection and thought. “If you can conceive and believe, you can achieve”. This is true in all areas of life. Take responsibility for your beliefs and if they need to be altered or replaced – do so. Don’t wait until you are sick and tired and finally unable to believe at all in something more than your own life. Affirmations, meditation and reflection in quiet moments are ways to check in on your current beliefs. If you believe in yourself, anything is possible.

5. The Power of Consciousness: “The mind of man is unlimited in its potential and responds to specific demands made upon it”. This is another statement of belief I hold. I believe in opening my mind to new ideas and thoughts. I can create new and exciting ideas and some of these become realities in the world. This very piece of writing was an idea that is now materialised in the world to inspire others. My consciousness is one of hope and faith that I am being guided to create programs that will help people of all ages grow in consciousness so that they too can benefit from the ideas that others shared with me over the past 40 years.

Living in the present is challenging given the world we live in and all the demands that are placed upon us. We are on call 24/7 if we choose to let ourselves be taken in that direction. I refuse to let myself get taken into the world as Steve Jobs envisioned it. His world is not my world. I believe in the freedom to create my life by making the choices that are appropriate for me at any given time. Make your choices consciously and respond to your life and the changes it brings you by not resisting them. Be open and receptive to them. Thinking is the key. Think “through” your life. Do NOT react to outside pressures. Only then you will be able to enjoy the journey. This is true prevention.

Originally printed on HealthyNewAge.com. Reprinted with permission from Nicholas Prukop.


Nicholas Prukop is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer & a Health Coach, a fitness professional with over 25 years of experience whose passion for health and fitness comes from his boyhood in Hawaii where he grew up a swimmer on Maui. He found his calling in writing his first book “Healthy Aging & You: Your Journey to Becoming Happy, Healthy & Fit” and since then he has dedicated himself to empowering, inspiring and enabling people of all ages to reach for the best that is within them and become who they are meant to be – happy, healthy and fit – and be a part of a world where each person can contribute their own unique gifts to life.

If you need help in designing a fitness plan, you can contact Nicholas Prukop via email at runningnick@sbcglobal.net or read his inspiring book Healthy Aging & YOU

woman heating pad

Why Suffer in Silence?

In America today, 40% of females, including women, children and teens, suffer in silence with either primary or secondary dysmenorrhea every month. Primary dysmenorrhea accompanies the monthly menstrual cycle without any underlying medical conditions. Secondary dysmenorrhea means that there is another medical issue present, such as endometriosis. This condition makes it hard to function, with most women being bedridden for three to five days or longer. Dysmenorrhea is not a weakness, but a real medical issue.

Generally, the female client will have severe throbbing pain from the waist down. They can feel it in their stomach, low back, legs and feet, making it hard to move. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, anxiety, stress, depression, lightheadedness, fatigue, headache, fever, and depression, weakness and fainting. Risk factors are smoking, obesity, being underweight, strong family history, high levels of stress, anxiety and/or depression. Women can still have painful stomach cramping well after menopause if they have Endometriosis.

This is a silent stressor for many women because they rarely choose to speak about it. Some have been living with the pain for twenty years or more and think there is nothing they can do. If a client comes to you and mentions that they have a lot of pain, urge them to see their doctor. This conversation is more likely to happen with a female personal trainer. The good news is that fitness professionals can help their clients to feel better during this painful time of the month.

It is important to acknowledge this painful condition because of the physical and mental implications that come along with it. As the trainer you, may be working with a therapist as well as an OB/GYN. You are trying to help your client feel better overall. We recommend scheduling an assessment first to understand the client’s medical history. As a fitness professional, you may want to refer your clients to other professionals as well. Acupuncture, for example, is well known for helping women to ease and reduce anxiety. When you network with other professionals, you form a referral system to obtain more clients for yourself, too.

After completing your assessment, you will develop a wellness program for your client. The program will include: exercise, meditation (specific to this condition), and aromatherapy, as well as other components. Try to have your client establish a regular daily wellness routine. Journaling is also important as it helps to connect your thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Support groups can also help as women share their experiences with others.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, The Stress Management Institute will be launching a new program called “Living Well” in January 2019. Fitness professionals can learn how to enhance the lives of women who live with this condition.


Robyn Caruso is the Founder of The Stress Management Institute for Health and Fitness Professionals. She has 18 years of experience in medical based fitness.

References:

woman sleeping

Sleep: An Essential Component to Maintaining Health

I have the answer to making you feel calmer, more energized, with no side effects, help with depression, lose weight, improve your for focus and productivity at work, regulate your hormones and boost your immune system. Sleep does all of this and more. 

Sufficient sleep is an essential to maintain health.

Getting enough sleep improves:

  • motivation
  • supports brain health
  • recovery of muscle strength
  • speed
  • muscle glycogen (stored energy in the muscles)
  • cortisol (stress) regulation
  • memory

Two thirds of adults in developed nations do not get enough sleep!

Less than six hours of sleep compromises the immune system and doubles cancer risk.

A tired brain isn’t able to communicate its needs properly, which can lead to imbalance and unhealthy habits.

Those who are sleep deprived also have a slower reaction time than to those who are rested. You can take all the vitamins and drink all the caffeine you want, sleep deprivation is sleep deprivation. Sleep enables the body to heal itself. Sleep actually is not passive, but studies show during some sleep phases, parts of the brain are more active then they are when you are awake.

The shorter your sleep, the shorter your life span. For athletes, insufficient sleep can be the reason for decreased performance and increased injury risk.

Adults should sleep 7 or more hours per night on a regular basis to promote optimal health. Less than five or six hours of sleep can negatively impact human performance, metabolic health, mental health, cardiovascular health, immune function, mortality, pain, general health. More than 8 hours a night can improve all of the above.

As you age, you sleep less and you spend less time in slow wave sleep. Amyloid beta is cleared from the brain during sleep and more slowly from the aging brain. Worsening amyloid deposition is seen in people with shorter sleep durations, or worsening sleep quality. Don’t count on recovery methods to contract little sleep and a poor diet. Sleep and nutrition are not recovery. Modifiable risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease is not enough sleep!

As you rest, your body and brain are preparing and rebuilding themselves. Growth hormones, which promotes cell reproduction and regeneration, is released into the bloodstream and the production of certain types of immune cells peaks. Sleep also helps to regulate hormones associated with weight gain. A study on sleep deprived men found that when they got less sleep, levels of gherkin (the hormone that increases appetite) rose. Lack of sleep can result in weight gain. Woman who sleep five hours a night were 15 percent more likely to be obese than those who slept seven hours. Being sleep deprived contributes to weight gain and makes weight loss difficult.

Good nutrition is amazing. Meditation is amazing. But nothing makes up for lack of sleep, nothing.

Sleep slows your heart rate and breathing and causes your blood pressure to drop. It also changes the frequency of your brainwaves. Delta waves (the slowest frequency brainwaves), which are linked to deep healing, only occur during the deep part of your sleep cycle. These are the same brainwaves experienced in a meditative state. Production of delta waves is associated with a drop in the production of the stress hormone cortisol. Lack of sleep have an aging impact on the brain and skin.

Some tips to create a sleep friendly bedroom:

  1. Black out curtains, the darker the room the better.
  2. Keep your bedroom decor simple and calm, clutter free, work papers out of sight.
  3. Blue walls perhaps or blue in your room.  Gentle blue tones are widely believed to have a calming effect.
  4. Keep a notepad by your bed so you don’t have to worry about staying awake because you don’t want to forget something, just write it down and go back to sleep.
  5. Pre sleep meditation and calming music.

Some tips for quality sleep:

  1. Institute a tech curfew. The light radiating from TV, phones, computers, iPads can disrupt the circadian rhythm. A study at Harvard University Medical School found particular frequencies of light disrupted the sleep inducing hormone melatonin. Turn off all devices at least an hour before bedtime. If you must read on your laptop or iPad before bed, download the blue light filter app. The more amount of screen time used, the less sleep. The circadian clock regulates our sleep; using technology near bed time interrupts the natural circadian rhythm clock and negatively impacts sleep. The top 25% of social media users were 2-3 times more likely to have disturbed sleep than those in the bottom 25%.
  2. Alcohol. You fall asleep more quickly, but the quality of sleep is poor, and REM sleep is decreased.
  3. Exercise regularly. Just not right before bed — that can have the opposite affect.
  4. 65 degrees is the optimum temperature for a good night sleep. If you are too hot, you are more likely to feel restless.
  5. Try herbal tea with chamomile and or valerian root.
  6. Imagine a tranquil natural scene, this visualization could make you relax. Studies at Oxford University showed that those who used this technique would fall asleep twenty minutes sooner than those who did not picture the tranquil scene. Avoid counting sheep — the study showed it took people longer to fall asleep!

Restful sleep is key ingredient to living a miraculous life. Real sleep!

“Lack of sleep is another way we block our power, creativity, and intuition.”
–Huffington Post President and Editor-in-Chief Arianna Huffington.

We often measure how productive we are based on how hard we work and how little sleep we get. This mentality is negatively affecting our health and overall well-being!


Charleene O’Connor is a a biomechanics specialist, TPI Level 3 Golf Fitness Trainer, Egoscue Postural alignment therapist, Meditation teacher and SUP instructor. Visit her website, charleenesfitness.com

Senior Man On Cross Trainer In Gym

Exercise and Cardiovascular Disease

Regular exercise has a favorable effect on many of the established risk factors for cardiovascular disease. For example, exercise promotes weight reduction and can help reduce blood pressure. Exercise can reduce “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood (the low-density lipoprotein [LDL] level), as well as total cholesterol, and can raise the “good” cholesterol (the high-density lipoprotein level [HDL]). In diabetic patients, regular activity favorably affects the body’s ability to use insulin to control glucose levels in the blood. Although the effect of an exercise program on any single risk factor may generally be small, the effect of continued, moderate exercise on overall cardiovascular risk, when combined with other lifestyle modifications (such as proper nutrition, smoking cessation, and medication use), can be dramatic.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

  • Increase in aerobic capacity
  • Decrease in blood pressure at rest
  • Decrease in blood pressure while exercising
  • Reduction in weight and body fat
  • Reduction in total cholesterol
  • Reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol
  • Increase in HDL (good) cholesterol
  • Increased insulin sensitivity (lower blood glucose)
  • Improved self-esteem

Physiological Effects of Exercise

There are a number of physiological benefits of exercise. Regular aerobic exercise causes improvements in muscular function and strength and improvement in the body’s ability to take in and use oxygen (maximal oxygen consumption or aerobic capacity). As one’s ability to transport and use oxygen improves, regular daily activities can be performed with less fatigue. This is particularly important for patients with cardiovascular disease, whose exercise capacity is typically lower than that of healthy individuals. There is also evidence that exercise training improves the capacity of the blood vessels to dilate in response to exercise or hormones, consistent with better vascular wall function and an improved ability to provide oxygen to the muscles during exercise. Studies measuring muscular strength and flexibility before and after exercise programs suggest that there are improvements in bone health and ability to perform daily activities, as well as a lower likelihood of developing back pain and of disability, particularly in older age groups.

Patients with newly diagnosed heart disease who participate in an exercise program report an earlier return to work and improvements in other measures of quality of life, such as more self-confidence, lower stress, and less anxiety. Importantly, by combining controlled studies, researchers have found that for heart attack patients who participated in a formal exercise program, the death rate is reduced by 20% to 25%. This is strong evidence in support of physical activity for patients with heart disease.

How Much Exercise is Enough?

Unfortunately, most Americans do not meet the minimum recommended guidelines for daily exercise. In 1996, the release of the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health provided a springboard for the largest government effort to date to promote physical activity among Americans. This redefined exercise as a key component to health promotion and disease prevention, and on the basis of this report, the Federal government mounted a multi-year educational campaign. The Surgeon General’s Report, a joint CDC/ACSM consensus statement, and a National Institutes of Health report agreed that the benefits mentioned above will generally occur by engaging in at least 30 minutes of modest activity on most, if not all, days of the week. Modest activity is defined as any activity that is similar in intensity to brisk walking at a rate of about 3 to 4 miles per hour.

These activities can include any other form of occupational or recreational activity that is dynamic in nature and of similar intensity, such as cycling, yard work, and swimming. This amount of exercise equates to approximately five to seven 30-minute sessions per week at an intensity equivalent to 3 to 6 METs (multiples of the resting metabolic rate*), or approximately 600 to 1200 calories expended per week.

How Can a Personal Trainer Help?

If you have cardiovascular disease or are at risk for developing disease, you may be apprehensive at starting an exercise program. You may have questions such as:

  • Is exercise safe for me?
  • How long should I exercise?
  • How frequently should I exercise?
  • Do I stretch before or after exercise?
  • Can I do strength training and lift weights?
  • How do I know if I’m exercising at the right intensity?
  •  What if I develop symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness, or nausea?

A personal trainer or exercise professional can answer all of these questions for you and establish a well-rounded exercise program that is safe and effective.

A personal trainer will tell you what types of aerobic exercise are most appropriate for you and devise an exercise program tailored towards your needs. This will include guidelines for frequency (how many times per week), intensity (how hard you should exercise), and duration (how long each exercise session should last). A well-designed exercise routine will start with a warm-up that includes dynamic movements designed to raise the heart rate, increase core temperature, mobilize the major joints in the body, and prepare the body for more intense exercise. Warm-up can be followed by either aerobic exercise or weight training. Your trainer can monitor your heart rate and blood pressure during both activities to make sure you are exercising at the proper intensity. If heart rate and blood pressure get too high, your trainer will have you decrease the intensity of exercise or stop. If you develop any symptoms while exercising, your trainer will be right there to advise you and check your vital signs. Weight training is very safe as long as it is performed with proper supervision. Your trainer will recommend the most appropriate exercises for you to do and emphasize proper breathing and technique. Under the guidance of an exercise professional, you can help to improve aerobic capacity, decrease blood pressure and cholesterol, improve good cholesterol, lower blood glucose, improve muscular strength, increase joint range of motion, and lower weight and body fat. All of these will result in a lower risk for developing cardiovascular disease or if you already have disease, it will decrease the chances of subsequent cardiovascular events. Most importantly, working with an exercise professional will extend your lifespan and greatly improve the quality of your life.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, join Eric Lemkin for his upcoming webinar, Essentials of Cardiovascular Disease and Exercise.


Eric Lemkin is a certified personal trainer, strength & conditioning specialist, corrective exercise specialist and founder of Functionally Active Fitness. Lemkin has been a certified personal trainer for 17 years and has helped people ages 8-80 reach their fitness goals through customized personal training – specializing in exercise for the elderly or handicapped. 

References

Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung HC. Deaths: final data for 2009 [PDF-2M]. National vital statistics reports. 2011;60(3).

Roger VL, Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2012 update: a report from the American Heart Association . Circulation. 2012;125(1):e2–220.

Heron M. Deaths: Leading causes for 2008 [PDF-2.7M]. National vital statistics reports. 2012;60(6).

Heidenriech PA, Trogdon JG, Khavjou OA, Butler J, Dracup K, Ezekowitz MD, et al. Forecasting the future of cardiovascular disease in the United States: a policy statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123(8):933–44.

CDC. Million Hearts™: strategies to reduce the prevalence of leading cardiovascular disease risk factors. United States, 2011. MMWR 2011;60(36):1248–51.