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Balance Distorted Thinking – How to Say No to Negativity

Start with these methods to boost your mood naturally and defeat negative thinking.

Some days I feel more anxious than others. Feelings alter the way we think, and thoughts can turn negative feelings like depression, anxiety or anger into a positive experience just as easily if we practice self-help exercises (psychological not physical, in this case) to dissolve the issues. Usually there is a trigger that sets things reeling. Certain exercises can facilitate a shift from negative thinking or illogical thoughts to a happier, more balanced feeling.

Realize that life throws us curve balls just to keep us grounded (pardon the pun). Staying positive is not realistic or easy. For every negative emotion (for instance, sadness over the loss of a loved one or friend), there’s both a healthy and a negative version. Here are some useful tips that can make a difference.

Have a Laugh

Fun is cheap. If you have forgotten how to have fun, don’t wait for the next wedding or family reunion to laugh it up. Research shows that having fun and laughter decreases levels of the damaging stress hormones cortisol and epinephrine. It also helps to laugh because it supports our immune system and protects us from illness. One minute of laughter boosts your immune system for over 24 hours. I am sure my last cold was short-lived because I made it a point, even when I felt terrible, to watch a funny movie or read an entertaining book. Turn off the news at dinner time or before you go to sleep.

Call a Friend

When feeling down, reach out to friends who don’t allow you to dwell on your pain, but also don’t ignore it. Stay away from the “Debbie Downers.” “If we surround ourselves with people who are joyous, hopeful, or make us laugh and live in the moment, that makes us feel much better.” – Helen Grusd, Ph.D, clinical psychologist

Say Thanks

You probably have a lot to be thankful for, despite bouts of pain or an injury that may have slowed you down. Focus on gratitude. Perhaps make a list you read out loud to yourself (it helps to hear yourself say the words) every day, and eventually you can memorize it, as it becomes a part of your consciousness and diverts any negative feelings that keep you stuck.

Do Something – Anything

  • Go out and shop for your favorite bath scent and take the best bubble bath since you were five years old.
  • Start a journal. When you see the words pop from the page it creates a different reality.
  • Agree when people might ask you to join them in an activity. Say yes to more things instead of no. Saying no will isolate you more in life.
  • Play more, be child-like and I can guarantee the benefits will pay off.
  • Don’t cook tonight, have your dinner delivered. Why? Because YOU deserve it!

Get Lost in a Song

It’s hard for negative thoughts to occupy the same space in your brain if you’re listening to happy music. A recent study found listening to upbeat music improves moods short term and boosted overall happiness over a two-week period. It can also reduce your level of pain. You’ll find yourself sitting less as you tap your toes to the rhythm of the song. Then, stand up and dance as if no one is looking.

Mood busters only work, like exercise for our body, if you practice regularly and before your mood sinks too low.

Go Outside

Those who enjoy spending time outdoors are more likely to like themselves. Be a nature lover. Taking a walk or hike, in addition to relieving depression, it helps distract from negative energy you might be carrying. If you would rather be outside and just pull weeds or plant a new exotic plant, that will work too. It also keeps fitness buffs energized.


Reprinted with permission from Lori Michiel. Originally published on Lori’s Fitness Blog For Active Adults and Seniors.

Lori Michiel, NASM, has been assisting seniors in their homes since 2006 with customized exercise programs including those designed to address Parkinson’s, metabolic disorders, arthritis and diabetes. These adaptive programs are specifically designed to improve balance, circulation, flexibility, mobility and promote independence. Lori Michiel Fitness has over 40 certified trainers who are matched with clients in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties. Connect with Lori at www.LoriMichielFitness.com.

water bottle

Dehydration Generation – Who is Most Susceptible?

The sensation of thirst declines with age. Even young children who play outdoors in the heat are often reluctant to stop playing and drink water.

In seniors, illness and medications may further reduce thirst or increase urine production. Older adults are at increased risk of experiencing heat stroke or urinary tract infections.

I understand why people may not want to drink water. Besides possibly making extra trips to the bathroom, it is boring, tasteless and fills you up. There are many options to flavoring water from squeezing lemon or limes into a glass or water jar, to adding other assorted fruits such as apples, pears, oranges, etc. It just takes a few minutes to prepare.

Preventing dehydration is important. Whether you are outdoors or inside a cooled room, it can still happen. You lose fluids through perspiration and breathing, even if you are not exercising, your core temperature may rise and result in heatstroke. Early signs of dehydration include dark yellow urine and dry skin. In severe cases, symptoms can progress to dizziness, fainting, and even seizures. Treatment in extreme cases can also affect the heart and kidney function. Limit your prolonged activities if you feel any symptoms mentioned above. Your stamina will prevail.

To reduce your risk, sip water throughout the day rather than wait until you feel thirsty. It’s also smart to drink a full glass of water each time you take medications (if recommended). You can hydrate with foods, too, such as soup, smoothies, and produce with high water content, like celery and watermelon.

In the meantime, keep moving and exercising your body, especially if you have stiff joints from arthritis, sit too long or feel stiff or de-conditioned.


Reprinted with permission from Lori Michiel. 

Lori Michiel, NASM, has been assisting seniors in their homes since 2006 with customized exercise programs including those designed to address Parkinson’s, metabolic disorders, arthritis and diabetes. These adaptive programs are specifically designed to improve balance, circulation, flexibility, mobility and promote independence. Lori Michiel Fitness has over 40 certified trainers who are matched with clients in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties. Connect with Lori at www.LoriMichielFitness.com.

Lori M Self Evaluation

A Self-Evaluation To Do at Home

Take notice before your muscles begin to evaporate, and you need someone else to take charge.

Here are some questions, allowing you to make a self-evaluation, which can help you decide if you need assistance.

  1. Can you walk 50 feet in 12 seconds? This benchmark is a good indicator of the ability to walk for exercise. If you can’t, it’s time to think about ways to get moving.
  2. Can you walk 400 meters (a little less than a quarter mile) in just over five minutes? For endurance, the threshold is walking 400 meters or about one lap around a high-school track.
  3. Can you stand up from a chair five times in 11 seconds or less? This is a way to assess lower body strength needed for numerous tasks climbing stairs, walking, getting out of a chair or car, picking something up off the floor, getting off the toilet, or stepping out of a tub.
  4. Can you walk 10,000 steps a day? If you can achieve this benchmark, good for you. Studies have shown that it can help protect people from osteoarthritis and from developing mobility problems.
  5. Can you stand still with one foot directly in front of the other for 10 seconds without tipping over? If you didn’t sway or step out, great. Practice more complicated moves by continuing to take ten steps in a straight line without losing your balance. (Click here to take my Balance Quiz.)

Exercise is for everyone. But the truth is, some people, especially seniors, lack the range of motion, strength and flexibility to exercise. That’s especially true for those just starting out.

Assessment tools used by personal trainers are designed to meet the basic criteria that helps to measure physical fitness parameters and functions needed to accomplish activities of daily living.


Reprinted with permission from Lori Michiel. 

Lori Michiel, NASM, has been assisting seniors in their homes since 2006 with customized exercise programs including those designed to address Parkinson’s, metabolic disorders, arthritis and diabetes. These adaptive programs are specifically designed to improve balance, circulation, flexibility, mobility and promote independence. Lori Michiel Fitness has over 40 certified trainers who are matched with clients in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties. Connect with Lori at www.LoriMichielFitness.com.

Senior-doctor-throat-open-wide

Parkinson’s Symptoms: “OPEN WIDE” – A Trip Down Our Throat

Our throat muscles, through which we speak, sing and scream, give us our signature sound. In many situations, people affected by Parkinsons disease (PD) have diminished voice control. According to Wikipedia, Parkinsons disease can cause changes in speech. The voice may get softer, breathy or hoarse, causing others difficulty hearing what we say. Speech may be slurred. Speech changes can interfere with communication, which can be isolating and harmful.

Other causes of voice disorders include infections, stomach acids that move upward in the throat, growths due to a virus, cancer and diseases that paralyze the vocal cords. Here is a brief understanding of what, how and ways to care for your precious voice.

What Are Your Vocal Cords?

Your voice box sits between the base of your tongue and the top of your windpipe, which is where your Adams apple likes to hang out. (The Adams apple is more pronounced in men than in women.) The vocal cords are two bands of smooth muscle membrane tissue, each covered in a mucous membrane, that stretch across the voice box like the strings on a guitar.

How They Work

When youre quiet: listening, observing, perhaps meditating your vocal cords sit apart, creating a tunnel through which you breathe in. But the moment you begin speaking, they clap together as the diaphragm pushes air up from the lungs. This air causes a buzz sound or vibration and sends sound waves through your throat, nose and mouth, which amplify them. As these humspass through, they are transformed into song or sentences.

Your Sound

Vocal cords vary in thickness and length, which is why each person has his or her unique tune. Think of the singer Barry Whites voice. Deep and strong. Those who have booming voices, such as Barbra Streisand have larger resonating cavities (throat, nose and mouth).

Take Care of Your Cords

Yelling, or screaming can cause inflammation and lesions on your vocal cords. Even a long-lasting cough can do damage. If you are hoarse, rest your voice. Speak softly and try to avoid throat clearing, even if your throat is congested. Drink lots of water to thin excess mucus and lubricate. Menthol and eucalyptus can be irritating.

For those with Parkinsons disease, if you notice your voice is diminished, see a speech-language pathologist (SLPs) specializing in voice therapy. They can assist with diagnosis, assessment, planning and treatment of voice disorders including difficulty with swallowing. Some exercises include moving your tongue up and down, moving it from corner to corner, placing your tongue at the tip of your mouth or smiling and saying EEEloudly. Repeat 10 times, at least twice a day.


Reprinted with permission from Lori Michiel. 

Lori Michiel, NASM, has been assisting seniors in their homes since 2006 with customized exercise programs including those designed to address Parkinson’s, metabolic disorders, arthritis and diabetes. These adaptive programs are specifically designed to improve balance, circulation, flexibility, mobility and promote independence. Lori Michiel Fitness has over 40 certified trainers who are matched with clients in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties. Connect with Lori at www.LoriMichielFitness.com.

stretch_2

Did You Hear? Stretching is Back in Fashion, Part 2

For any person, a regular stretching routine can bring some surprising benefits. While you might think that stretching right before activity is beneficial, it needs to be done on a regular basis for a minimum of 10 minutes in order to bring some major changes to muscles and tendons. Research shows that people with the least flexibility have increased chances of injury…

Use Exercise Bands to Boost Your Cardio Endurance and Reduce Inflammation

Researchers studied 1,544 people age 50-plus. Some of those in their 80s had the lowest inflammation levels in their bodies because they took care of their health. This included cardio exercises along with resistance – weight training with weights and bands, stretching for flexible joints and mobility. Even in extreme old age, centennials showed positive outcomes when they exercised. Low levels of inflammation were also an important predictor of people’s cognitive function, especially those in the oldest age group.

Lori Michiel in her studio

I’d have to say that of all the exercises I do, I love anything aerobic (getting my heart rate up) the most.  Walking, jogging, biking and dancing are the most common forms to get your motor running and is a great way to shake off the cobwebs. Any quick, sustained movement can increase your heart rate.

Before you start moving around, think about what motivates you to push a little harder. Are you interested in exercise to reduce stress and shake off the blues, lose weight, build a healthier brain (cognition), or make new friends?

Researchers say those who believed exercise was good for stress reduction valued it more with increased age. Motivation to move when reaching 60-plus can yield different benefits. For instance, people who exercise experience less inflammation in their bodies. Inflammation can lead to illness (stemming from a lower immune system) and difficulty losing weight. Losing weight can be especially troublesome if you have joint issues (hip, knees or back). With each pound you lose, the equivalent of four pounds of pressure can be released.

The combination of cardio mixed with bands is one solution for cardio exercise to keep inflammation at bay. It is fun. Be creative and you will never get bored. In this month’s Exercise Snack Video, I will show you a few quick examples. Pay close attention to my cues on form and technique and in the long run (pardon the pun), you’ll have fun!!

Side note: The familiar tune of the Bee Gees song “Stayin’ Alive” has been used for medical training for some time. It has the right beat — not to mention the perfect title — for providing CPR’s chest compressions at the right pace to revive a patient. Try playing it sometime when you exercise.

Reprinted with permission from Lori Michiel. Originally published on Lori’s Fitness Blog For Active Adults and Seniors.


Lori Michiel, NASM, has been assisting seniors in their homes since 2006 with customized exercise programs including those designed to address Parkinson’s, metabolic disorders, arthritis and diabetes. These adaptive programs are specifically designed to improve balance, circulation, flexibility, mobility and promote independence. Lori Michiel Fitness has over 40 certified trainers who are matched with clients in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange Counties. Connect with Lori at www.LoriMichielFitness.com.