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Be the Five

The current prevailing thought construction about COVID-19 is informed by a medical model of disease: respiratory illness. What we need is a paradigm shift. A model that promotes and encourages respiratory health and optimum wellbeing across the lifespan.

Google and WHO teamed to offer a PSA “Do the Five.” I invite you to consider an alternative. In addition to doing the five important tasks outlined in the “Do the Five” infographic, “Be the Five.” Yes. This is a different way of thinking – of being – one that runs counter to a culture of doing. Is it possible that one form of healthy aging is to simply be?

Let’s consider 5 ways to be:

Be ACTIVE by engaging in physical activity ranging from diaphragmatic breath practices, cardiorespiratory activities, strength, balance, flexibility, meditation or even hand mudras such as Prana Mudra for increasing immune health. Try actively saying a word(s) when you breathe in, such as “I am breathing in.” When you breathe out say something else, “I am breathing out.” Or try: Calm in. Peace out.  Or something else. Study findings suggest physical activity, such as cycling (on a bike or using solely your body mimicking cycling form), negates immunosenescence in subjects ages 55-79.

Be PRESENT by being aware of our body, our mind, thoughts, emotions, and others’ state of being. We are more likely to respond rather than react when we practice present moment awareness. By being present we are tuned into the finiteness of our bodily needs: hydration, nutrition, sleep, comfort. Try a self-hug. Physiologically, when we hug ourselves, our blood pressure lowers, immune system boosts, heart rate decreases, cortisol decreases, decrease inflammation, stimulation of brain memory centers, and release of oxytocin.

Be CURIOUS about the possibilities of what is going on. Adopting a mind that frames the world in a sense of “don’t know” can be powerfully emancipating. We don’t expect infants to know how to balance a checkbook – they are just beginning in the world. We too are just beginning. We have never lived this very moment before now. No one person needs to know everything. We are in this together. Try framing activities as play or exploration.

Be POSITIVE amongst all the uncertainty and unknowns, it is possible to alleviate some pressures by naming at least one positive thing that happens each day and/or smile. Stress creates inflammation and thinking positively reduces the negative effects of stress on the immune system. A study out of the University of Kansas suggests smiling reduces heart rate and blood pressure. Try smiling. Even if it’s a fake smile, physiologically, same effects.

Be KIND to yourself and to others. Many people are afraid, distracted and worried. By being gentle and kind we can create a parachute of peace that can aide us in a soft landing, as we all have been shoved out the aft end of an airplane at 14,000 feet above earth. Dacher Keltner, psychology professor at UC Berkeley, reminds us of the importance of the “survival of the kindest.” Try saying: May you be healthy. May you be comforted. May you feel safe. The you in these statements can be directed toward yourself as well as others.

When we “Be the Five”, we may move toward creating mind-body homeostasis, and this might allow us to age for perhaps one more moment. Even if the effects last for a millimoment, maybe there is liberating power in being.


Adrienne Ione is a cognitive behavioral therapist and personal trainer who integrates these fields in support of people thriving across the lifespan. As a pro-aging advocate, she specializes in the self-compassion of dementia.

Website: yes2aging.com
Guided Meditations: insighttimer.com/adrienneIone
Facebook: silverliningsintegrativehealth

Originally printed on Thrive Global. Reprinted with permission.

Food-question

Sports Nutrition: Fads, Facts and Fallacies

The average American, spends 24 hours a week online. That includes many athletes who spend a lot of time surfing the Web, looking for answers to their nutrition questions. They generally find way too much conflicting information and end up more confused than ever. Hence, the goal of this article is to offer science-based answers to a few popular sports nutrition questions and share some food for thought.

Carbohydrates

We have all heard trendy comments about carbs: They’re a waste of calories, sugar is evil. Fact? No…

Are carbs a waste of calories, with little nutritional value?

The answer depends on your definition of “carbs.” Many athletes define carbs as sugar-filled baked goods and foods made with refined white flour, such as pasta, bagels, bread. In reality, carbohydrates include all types of sugars and starches. Carbs are in fruit, vegetables, beans (pinto, lima, garbanzo, etc.), grains (wheat, rice, barley, corn), and milk. These “quality carbs” add important nutrients to a sports diet.

Should athletes cut out sugar?

Sure, if that means cutting out EXCESS sugar. But if you plan is to cut out all sugar, technically speaking, you would need to stop eating any form of carbohydrate (fruit, veggies, grains), given those foods end up as sugar (glucose) in your body. That sugar fuels your muscles and brain. You’ll also need to cut out performance-enhancing sport drinks and gels.

Please judge a food based on all the nutrients that accompany the sugar, more so than just the sugar content. Some sugary foods are nutrient-rich. The natural and added sugar in chocolate milk, in combination with the milk’s protein, make chocolate milk an excellent recovery food. (The sugar refuels the muscles; the protein builds and repairs the muscles.)

If your goal is to cut out added sugar, you might want to think moderation, rather than all or nothing. US Dietary Guidelines say 10% of calories can come from added sugar. Eating a small sweet a day will not ruin your health forever.

Athletes who report a desire to cut out sugar commonly have a love-hate relationship with (too much) sugar. While they may believe sugar is addictive, a standard reason for overdosing on sugar relates to hunger. The body of a hungry athlete screams for quick energy: sugar. One way to curb sugar-cravings is to eat a satisfying protein-rich breakfast and lunch. By curbing hunger, you’ll enhance your chances of being able to choose quality carbs later in the day. Yes, eating enough breakfast can (and does) impact and improve your evening food choices. Give it a try?

Protein

Many of today’s athletes believe protein should dominate a sports diet. True? Not quite.

What percent of my calories should come from protein?

Dietary guidelines recommend 10% to 15% of daily calories should come from protein. In truth, athletes should base their protein needs on body weight, not percent of calories. The target for most athletes is about 0.5 to 0.75 grams of protein per pound of body weight (1.0-1.5 g pro/kg) per day. Athletes who restrict calories or are new to lifting weights might need a bit more protein—but most hungry athletes consume that much—plus more—within the context of daily food choices.

Can I get enough protein without protein shakes, bars and powders? Yes!

I rarely meet athletes who consume too little protein. Those who might benefit from a supplement include athletes with anorexia (who consume too little of most nutrients), dieting vegetarian athletes who fail to consume adequate plant protein within their restricted calorie budget. That is, for 125 calories, you can consume 25 grams of protein from a can of tuna but less than 4 g protein from the dollop (0.25 cup) of hummus on a salad.

Can vegan athletes perform as well as meat-eaters?

For certain, as long as they consume adequate protein, iron, calcium and B-12, among other nutrients. Not hard to do if the vegan is eating responsibly (i.e., not living on “vegan” Coke & potato chips). They might even perform better when they shift from a meat-based to plant-based diet. Plant proteins (such as beans, lentils, and hummus) offer both protein (to build and repair muscles) and carbohydrate (to fuel muscles).

To optimally fuel muscles, athletes who train about an hour a day need about 2.25 to 3.5 g carb/pound of body weight, depending on the intensity of the workout. For a 150-pound athlete, this comes to about 340 to 525 grams of carb a day (1,360 to 2,100 calories from carb). To hit that goal, starchy beans and grains should be the foundation of each meal and snack. Vegan athletes can easily hit that target, while many meat-focused or carb-avoidant athletes end up needlessly fatigued when meat/fish/chicken and salads displace starches and grains. No wonder many athletes report performing better when they switch to a vegan diet!

Fat

While fat has been shunned for years, it is now popular. Here’s what athletes want to know about dietary fat…

To lose undesired body fat, should I train my body to burn more fat?

Don’t bother! Burning fat differs from losing body fat. You might burn 800 calories doing two hours of fat-burning exercise, and then can easily replace it all by devouring a big meal. No fat loss there!

A wiser plan is to lose fat when you are sleeping (not when exercising), by eating less at dinner to create a calorie deficit for the day. That way, you can surround your workouts with fuel, and optimize your ability to train well. Weight is more of a calorie-game than a fat-burning game.

What about the high-fat keto diet for losing weight?

Keto advocates often rave they can lose weight without feeling hunger. True, a high fat diet is very satiating. But what happens after the diet? I’ve heard stories of keto dieters succumbing to carb-binges and rapid weight regain. My recommendation: Embark only on a food plan you want to maintain for the rest of your life. Meeting with a sports registered dietitian can help you learn effective weight management skills.

What about a keto diet for endurance athletes?

Some ultra-runners and ultra-athletes embrace a keto diet. By burning fat for fuel, they can eat less during long events and experience less intestinal distress. More research is needed on keto-athletes who have fat-adapted for several months (many studies are for less than one month): Can they perform better than carb-eaters? Current research suggests keto athletes might perform as well as carb eaters—but not better than. That’s a lot of dietary restriction for questionable performance benefits. That said, each athlete is an experiment of one and no one diet suits everyone.


Sports Nutritionist Nancy Clark, MS, RD counsels both casual and competitive athletes at her private practice in the Boston-area. Her best-selling Sports Nutrition Guidebook answers most nutrition questions and can help you eat to win. Visit NancyClarkRD.com for more information.

orthopedic-fitness-rehab-trainer-and-female-client

Bridging Rehab with Fitness: Become the Trusted Referral for Rehabilitation Therapists

There are special and unique bonds that are made between clinician and patient in a rehabilitation setting. Many times, rehab patients are at a very difficult time in their lives and through months of daily expert guidance, hard work, education, and often even fun, alongside their rehab team, they make considerable gains back towards independence.

Because of this daily interaction, the rehab team develops a vested interest in the continued progress of their patient. Over the course of many months of the blood, sweat and tears of intensive therapy sessions, a friendship has been formed and considerable progress made together. It’s no wonder that rehab professionals are very selective with the fitness referrals they make once their patients are ready for the post-rehab world.

They are selective because they want the absolute best for their patient; they want someone with an understanding of their patient’s diagnosis; someone who understands medical precautions and contraindications; and someone who can safely continue to progress their patient without putting them at risk for a secondary issue. Though they may be selective with referrals, a trusted source for continuing their patients’ goals is needed.

Here are some ways to bridge the gap and gain the trust of your local rehabilitation professionals:

Require a medical or physical therapy release

Having medical releases before beginning ongoing sessions is an excellent way to open dialog with your client’s doctor or physical therapist and further, ensures that you are programming their fitness plan accordingly. Send your assessment with your client to share in their next appointment along with a simple inquiry form about restrictions or suggestions to use in your program design. This will go a long way in establishing a great level of trust and building a rapport with the clinic.

Volunteer at a rehab clinic

One of the best ways to build a rapport with local rehab professionals and patients is to spend time shadowing/observing or volunteering in a rehab inpatient and/or outpatient clinic. This can be a time-consuming start-up as many rehab clinics will have an orientation process and procedures to allow you to be present in a clinic, but it is definitely worth the time investment. Just being in this environment you can learn a lot about how therapists progress their rehab patients, guard their rehab patients during activity, interact with and educate their patients as they progress them to discharge (the point where you would continue their work). You may also get some valuable opportunities to learn from and build relationships with many therapists in one setting.

Lead warm-ups for local 5K races

There are 3.2-mile run-walk-and-wheels events that take place all over the country. Donating your time to your community Spina Bifida Walk ‘n Roll or Parkinson’s walk is a great way to become visible in your community and demonstrate what you have to offer for all abilities.

Speak at local support groups

Same as with the 5Ks, there are support groups that take place monthly or quarterly for stroke survivors, caregivers, individuals living with Multiple Sclerosis and more. Contacting the organizer of these groups and offering to donate time to speak about the benefits of continued exercise or even providing a no-cost group class during the scheduled talk time is a really good way to connect with both the organizers and their peers and those in attendance who would benefit from a continued exercise program.

Educate yourself on adaptive/medical exercise equipment

Understanding the different options there are for accessories and actual exercise equipment for stroke survivors or those living with spinal cord injury is another great way to demonstrate an understanding of working with a rehab population and continuing to bridge the gap between rehab and fitness. Not all equipment is accessible nor safe, so while thinking outside the box is great, ensuring safety is optimal. Take the time to learn about all the great adaptive equipment that can benefit the population you work with.

Host an open house at your gym

Host regular open house events at your facility and invite any and all rehab professionals, patients, and people from your community. Offer instructional sessions during the open house to demonstrate your adaptive programming/equipment. This is a great way give a sneak peek into what you’re doing to provide a safe environment for patients to continue their progress.

Offer to provide a lunch in-service to rehab staff

Meeting with a clinic full of therapists is an excellent way to educate those therapists that you have done your research, understand your population, and really want to bridge the gap between rehab and fitness. A presentation focused on the population you’re most comfortable working with (Parkinson’s, stroke survivors, etc.), the programs you offer, and pictures or videos of some of the work done in your gym. Bringing food is always a great incentive!

Bridging the gap between rehab and fitness is a process that is long overdue and much needed. By focusing on the points above you will be working towards and moving one step closer to improving the therapist-trainer model, adding a valuable resource to your community and providing a safe environment and safe programming to continue progressing your post-rehab clients.

This article was featured in MedFit Professional Magazine Winter 2020 issue. Subscribe to MedFit Professional Magazine to read more great content like this!


Devon Palermo is a leading authority on Adaptive Fitness for those living with or recovering from a disability. He is the Founder and Principal director of DPI Adaptive Fitness, A company focused on safe and effective adaptive fitness for individuals living with disabilities. With over 15 years of experience in both fitness and rehab, He is the go-to resource for clients, therapists, and doctors in the DC, Maryland and Virginia area looking to maximize the benefits of adaptive exercise to improve strength, balance, function and abilities. dpiadaptivefitness.co

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Managing Your Exercise In a Pandemic: 10 Easy Exercises to Build a Strong Core Without Leaving the House

Just in time for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) social distancing and closures of gyms and fitness centers in many areas, here’s a revisit of many important core exercises you can do at home to keep yourself strong and healthy. Download the free illustrated PDF (Chapter 21 of Diabetes & Keeping Fit For Dummies) for illustrations of the exercise listed below. (You can also find a variety of other at-home exercises on Diabetes Motion Academy Resources for free download.)

Many people are stuck at home for one reason or another think they can’t work on staying fit, but the truth is that you can get a stronger core and stay fitter without leaving home. You’d be amazed at how easy it is to get your fit on.

Remember: Your body core — the muscles around your trunk and pelvis — is particularly important to keep strong so that you can go about your normal daily activities and prevent falls and injuries, particularly as you age. Having a strong body core makes you better able to handle your daily life, even if that’s just doing grocery shopping or playing a round of golf.

Core exercises are an important part of a well-rounded fitness program, and they’re easy to do at home on your own. To get started on your body core workout, you don’t need to purchase anything. (Some of the advanced variations do call for equipment like a gym ball or dumbbells.)

Tip: Include all 10 of these easy core exercises in your workouts, doing at least one set of 15 repetitions of each one to start (where appropriate). Work up to doing two to three sets of each per workout, or even more repetitions if you can. For best results, do these exercises at least two or three nonconsecutive days per week; muscles need a day or two off to fully recover and get stronger. Just don’t do them right before you do another physical activity (because a fatigued core increases your risk of injury).

#1: Abdominal Squeezes

This exercise (Figure 21-1) is great for working your abdominals and getting your body core as strong as possible. If you’re female and have had gone through a pregnancy at some point, getting these muscles in shape doing these squeezes is a must.

  1. Put one of your hands against your upper stomach and the other facing the other direction below your belly button.
  2. Inhale to expand your stomach.
  3. Exhale and try to pull your abdominal muscles halfway toward your spine.

This is your starting position.

  1. Contract your abdominal muscles more deeply in toward your spine while counting to two.
  2. Return to the starting position from Step 3 for another count of two.

Work up to doing 100 repetitions per workout session.

#2: Planks or Modified Planks

Nobody likes doing planks, but they get the job done when it comes to boosting the strength of your core. Both planks and modified planks (Figure 21-2) work multiple areas, including your abdominals, lower back, and shoulders.

  1. Start on the floor on your stomach and bend your elbows 90 degrees, resting your weight on your forearms.
  2. Place your elbows directly beneath your shoulders and form a straight line from your head to your feet.
  3. Hold this position as long as you can.

Repeat this exercise as many times as possible during each workout.

#3: Side Planks

A modification of regular planks, this side plank exercise (Figure 21-3) works some of the same and some slightly different muscles that include your abdominals, oblique abdominal muscles, sides of hips, gluteals, and shoulders. Try doing some of both types for the best results.

  1. Start out on the floor on your side with your feet together and one forearm directly below your shoulder.
  2. Contract your core muscles and raise your hips until your body is in a straight line from head to feet.
  3. Hold this position without letting your hips drop for as long as you can.
  4. Repeat Steps 1 through 3 on the other side.

Switch back and forth between sides as many times as you can.

Tip: Try these plank variations to mix things up a bit:

* Raised side plank: Lifting both your top arm and your leg upward brings other muscles into play and makes your core work harder to maintain balance, but don’t let your hips sag.

* Gym ball side plank: Resting your supporting arm on a gym ball, use your core muscles to control the wobble to further strengthen your side muscles.

* Side plank with lateral raise: While holding the side plank position, slowly raise and lower a light dumbbell or other weight with your top arm to improve your coordination and strength.

* Side plank pulse: From the side plank position, add a vertical hip drive by lowering your hips until they’re just off the floor and then driving them up as far as you can with each repetition of this move.

#4: Bridging

If you work on your abdominal strength, you also need to build the strength in your lower back to keep things balanced. Bridging (Figure 21-4) is a good exercise to do that as it works your buttocks (including gluteals), low back, and hip extensors. Remember to breathe in and out throughout this exercise.

  1. Slowly raise your buttocks from the floor, keeping your stomach tight.
  2. Gently lower your back to the ground.
  3. Repeat Steps 1 and 2.

Tip: Try the bridging with straight leg raise variation: With your legs bent, lift your buttocks up off the floor. Slowly extend your left knee, keeping your stomach tight. Repeat with the other leg. Do as many repetitions as possible.

#5: Pelvic Tilt

An easy exercise to do, the pelvic tilt (Figure 21-5) works your lower back and
lower part of your abdominals.

  1. Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Place your hands either by your sides or supporting your head.
  3. Tighten your bottom, forcing your lower back flat against the floor, and then relax.
  4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 as many times as you can.

#6: Superhero Pose

Whether you want to leap a tall building with a single bound or not, try doing this superhero pose exercise (Figure 21-6) to get a stronger core. It works many areas, including your  lower back, upper back, back of shoulders, and gluteals.

  1. Lie on your stomach with your arms straight over your head.
  2. Rest your chin on the floor between your arms.
  3. Keeping your arms and legs straight, simultaneously lift your feet and your hands as high off the floor as you can.

Aim for at least three inches.

  1. Hold that position (sort of a superhero flying position) for 10 seconds if possible, and then relax your arms and legs back onto the floor.

Tip: If this exercise is too difficult, try lifting just your legs or arms off the floor separately — or even just one limb at a time.

#7: Knee Push-Ups

Push-ups are hard to do if you haven’t built up the strength in your shoulders yet, so this knee version (Figure (21-7) is an easier way to start for most people. This exercise works your chest, front of shoulders, and back of upper arms.

  1. Get on your hands and knees on the floor or a mat.
  2. Place your hands shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  3. Tighten your abdominal muscles to straighten your lower back and lower yourself down toward the floor as far as you can without touching.
  4. Push yourself back up until your arms are extended, but don’t lock your elbows.

Tip: If knee push-ups are too hard for you, try doing wall push-ups to start instead. Stand facing a wall at an arm’s length and place your palms against it at shoulder height and with your feet about a foot apart. Do your push-ups off the wall.

#8: Suitcase Lift

This exercise (Figure 21-8) is the proper way to lift items from the floor. Before you begin, place dumbbells or household items slightly forward and between your feet on the floor. You work the same muscles used in doing squats (lower back and lower body) with this activity.

  1. Stand in an upright position with your back and arms straight, with your hands in front of your abdomen.
  2. Bending only your knees, reach down to pick up the dumbbells.
  3. Grab the dumbbells or items in both hands and then push up with your legs and stand upright, keeping your back straight.

#9: Squats with Knee Squeezes

These squats (Figure 21-9) are not your normal squats. They’re more like a combination of squatting and wall sitting with a twist. You work the front and back of thighs, inner thighs (adductors), hip flexors and extensors all with this one exercise.

  1. Stand with your back against the wall, with your feet aligned with your knees and straight out in front of you.
  2. Place a ball or pillow between your knees and hold it there with your legs.
  3. Inhale to expand your stomach and then exhale and contract your abdominal muscles.
  4. Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squat.

Warning: To avoid injuring your knees, don’t bend them more than 90 degrees.

  1. Squeeze the ball with your thighs, drawing your stomach muscles more deeply toward your spine.
  2. Do as many squeezes as you can up to 20 and then return to the starting position.

#10: Lunges

Lunges (Figure 21-10) are a common activity to work on the front and back of thighs, hip flexors and extensors, abdominals, and lower back all with one exercise. Do them with proper form to avoid aggravating your knees, though.

  1. Keep your upper body straight, with your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up.
  2. Pick a point to stare at in front of you so you don’t keep looking down, and engage your core.
  3. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.

Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and don’t let your back knee touch the floor.

  1. Focus on keeping your weight on your heels as you push back up to the starting position.

Tip: To prevent injuries, if you feel any pain in your knees or hips when you do a lunge, do the following instead:

* Take smaller steps out with your front leg.

* Slowly increase your lunge distance as your pain gets better.

* Try doing a reverse lunge (stepping backward rather than forward) to help reduce knee strain.


Reprinted from Colberg, Sheri R., Chapter 21, “Ten Easy Exercises to Build a Strong Core Without Leaving the House” in Diabetes & Keeping Fit for Dummies. Wiley, 2018.

Sheri R. Colberg, PhD, FACSM, is the author of The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes: Expert Advice for 165 Sports and Activities (the newest edition of Diabetic Athlete’s Handbook). She is also the author of Diabetes & Keeping Fit for Dummies, co-published by Wiley and the ADA. A professor emerita of exercise science from Old Dominion University and an internationally recognized diabetes motion expert, she is the author of 12 books, 30 book chapters, and over 420 articles. She was honored with the 2016 American Diabetes Association Outstanding Educator in Diabetes Award. Contact her via her websites (SheriColberg.com, DiabetesMotion.com, or DMAcademy.com).

Split-Screen-Immunity-Nutrition

How to Eat for a Strong Immune System that Lessens Risk for the Coronavirus

The coronavirus is the #1 headline worldwide, and it is impacting all of us in many ways. For prevention and protection, the key advice is to wash our hands as often as possible, avoid touching our face, and of course, steer clear of those who are ill. All of these are smart steps; however, as smart is to proactively strengthen your immune system by including certain foods in your daily diet—and conversely, avoiding foods that weaken your immune system and make you more susceptible to infection.

Here’s why a strong immune system is a major ally in thwarting illness and keeping us healthy.

The bottom line: Your immune system fights off pathogens such as viruses and bacteria that can cause infection or disease. The “internal warrior” in your immune system is antibodies, which your immune system releases to fight against infection and viruses. And it is the nutrients (vitamins and minerals) in real foods that keep your immune system balanced and poised to ward off unwelcome pathogens.

In other words, we don’t have control over other risk factors such as age and existing conditions that make us more vulnerable to the virus, but we can choose foods that cultivate a healthy gut, and in this way, build our immune system and make ourselves less vulnerable to illness.

Rx: Fresh, Whole, Plant-Based Foods

There’s a simple way to eat to strengthen your immune system. It’s a time- and science-tested guideline that has nourished humankind for millennia. The secret of eating to ward off illness is to eat fresh, whole food in its natural state as often as possible. This means eating organic, plant-based foods—fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds—because they are packed with the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and more, you need for healthy immune function.

Fresh, whole, plant-based foods—especially fruits and veggies—have the whole package of nutrients needed for optimal health and well-being and to boost the immune system. Here’s a sampling of some immune-boosting foods, and an example of the “natural-pharmacy” nutrients they contain that can keep you healthy.

A caveat: Healing is more likely when you consume lots of plant-based foods because they contain a cornucopia of health-filled nutrients. Targeting a single nutrient or taking a supplement isn’t the goal.

Here are some immune-boosting foods and beverages that can truly make a difference to the “inner health” of your immune system. Consider including them along with other fruits, veggies, and spices you consume each day.

  • Blueberries. Recent research reveals that a particular flavonoid in blueberries, called anthocyanin, plays an essential role in boosting the immune defense system in the respiratory tract. The bottom line: Flavonoid-rich foods may reduce the odds of getting an upper respiratory tract infection or the common cold.
  • Dark chocolate. Chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher is rich in an antioxidant called theobromine. And theobromine may boost the immune system by protecting the body against free radicals that can damage cells and weaken the immune system. About an ounce—think, about the size of a credit card—is enough to reap the rewards.
  • Spinach. Some essential nutrients and antioxidants in spinach—such as flavonoids, carotenoids, and vitamins C and E—can help support the immune system. Include spinach and other nutrient-dense greens, such as kale and collards, in salads and smoothies.
  • Green tea. As with blueberries, the high flavonoid content in green tea may strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of a cold.
  • Kefir. A fermented drink filled with many beneficial live cultures of “good” bacteria, regular consumption of kefir may boost the immune system in three ways. It fights bacteria, reduces inflammation, and enhances antioxidants.
  • Specific spices.
    • Garlic. The allicin in garlic reduces odds of getting a cold.
    • Tumeric. A yellow-red spice abundant in antioxidants, the curcumin in turmeric may improve your immune response and be anti-inflammatory.
    • Ginger. Abundant in antioxidants, ginger is an anti-inflammatory that may boost the immune system.

The Takeaway: Lifestyle, Lifestyle, Lifestyle

Consuming an abundance of fresh, whole fruits and veggies and other plant-based foods—and avoiding their opposite: processed, fried, de-natured, sugar-and-chemical laden foods—is critical to boosting your immune system, and lessening your risk for viral infections. In other words, you are fully armed to fight the coronavirus and other infectious agents if you integrate eating well into your everyday lifestyle—along with de-stressing, restorative sleep, regular physical activity, and social support. The bottom line: Your everyday lifestyle is the answer to a strong immune system and staying healthy.


Deborah Kesten, M.P.H., is an award-winning author, specializing in preventing and reversing obesity and heart disease. Her expertise includes the influence of epigenetics and diet on health, Lifestyle Medicine, and research on the Whole Person Integrative Eating dietary lifestyle to treat overeating, overweight, and obesity. She and her husband, behavioral scientist Larry Scherwitz, Ph.D., collaborate on research and writing projects. Her latest book, “Whole Person Integrative Eating” was named the “Winner” in the Health category by the 2020 Book Excellence Awards.

Article originally printed on integrativeeating.com. Reprinted with permission from Deborah Kesten. 

woman-video-chatting

Social Distancing – Not Social Isolation: Coaching for Connectedness

We all still need each other. Even in the age of COVID-19, our health continues to depend upon healthy supportive relationships. Our coach training company, Real Balance 1 has always stressed what we call Coaching for Connectedness.  We‘ve seen lifestyle improvement occur and last more often when people receive support for the changes they are making to live healthier lives.  When a coaching client sets up an action step we ask “Who/what else can help support you in this?”. Research on what makes health behavior last points primarily to two factors: a shift in self-concept and community support. (2)   It’s also a well-established fact that people who are more socially isolated have significantly higher rates of all major chronic illnesses. (3)

Our challenge in the midst of a pandemic situation is how we distance from each other while remaining connected to each other. Yes, follow the CDC guidelines for social distancing. We can still greet each other with elbow bumps, and then go for a walk, a bike ride, a cruise in kayaks, etc., and continue to avoid the proximity that puts us at any risk. We can connect via phone and receive the nourishment of live, interactive conversation that texting and e-mail don’t quite match. We can climb on board a web-based platform such as Zoom and Skype where we are face-to-face for our conversation. We also have all sorts of apps such as Facetime, WeChat, and many more that allow us to have face-to-face interaction for live conversations.

As coaches we can continue to work remotely with our clients, as the majority of coaching is already done. As we do, explore the feelings that the changes brought about by social distancing are bringing out in your clients. Empathize. Explore. When people talk about their fears, the intensity of those fears almost always lessens. As people become less afraid, their thinking improves. They aren’t so quick to jump into dismissive all-or-none thinking. They are then able to engage in strategic thinking with their coach to find unique solutions to staying healthy.

  • The fitness center is shut down. How can you shift to working out at home? Use stretch bands. Modify a spare room into a place to do Yoga, floor exercises, etc. Spring brings better weather allowing more cardio outdoors.
  • Do more outdoor exercise/activity with other people – just keep your proper distance.
  • Encourage clients to find new ways to electronically visit their friends, grandchildren, and others. Play online games together.
  • Check in with your clients to make sure they have CDC information/WHO information about how to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. (5,6)

Take heart at how people are showing concern for each other during this time. Younger people who are at somewhat less risk are engaging in social distancing, handwashing, etc. not only for themselves, but for the older and more vulnerable people who could be affected by the contact they are having. People in neighborhood chatlines are volunteering to go pick up groceries and prescriptions for older or more sickly neighbors. Hopefully what will come out of all of this is a greater sense of how we are all in this together. Distancing does not mean isolating. The truism of wellness pioneer Jack Travis is still valid: Connection is the Currency of Wellness.

Be well and stay well!


Michael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC, NBW-HWC – A psychologist with over twenty-five years of clinical work, and more than 23 years as a professional wellness coach, Dr. Arloski is one of the key developers of the field of health & wellness coaching. He is the author of Wellness Coaching For Lasting Lifestyle Change, 2nd Ed., and Masterful Health & Wellness Coaching: Deepening Your Craft.  His company, Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc., has trained over 9,000 health & wellness coaches worldwide www.realbalance.com.

References

  1. https://realbalance.com
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753403/  
  3. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/05/ce-corner-isolation
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
  5. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

This article was published on Dr. Arloski’s blog. Reprinted with permission.

silhouette-of-man-touching-woman-against-sunset-sky-256807

The Fundamental Principle, Part 2: Consumerism

In the next five minutes prepare to have your life changed forever. First however, a recap from yesterday’s article. It was discussed that when you were born, there was undoubtedly a dream for your life. It was discussed that the dream was for YOU to become the BEST version of yourself. I then discussed how friendships play a vital role. To summarize, if your friends don’t encourage you to become the best version of yourself, it is likely neither of you are truly friends to one another.

I strongly believe another antagonist on your quest to become the “best version” of yourself is consumerism. Society, since the day you were born, has been working tirelessly to deliver you the message that the way to become the best version of yourself is to go out and get what you want. Society wants you to believe that there is scarcity and that your relevance is tied to what you have. It wants you to think you are incomplete without a huge house, fancy car, the latest clothes, and the best technology. Society does it’s best to tell you day in and day out that the path to happiness is through material things. How does that seem to be working? Take a look at society as a whole.

I have studied the results of this mythical thinking and here is what I have come up with. This thinking leads to sleepless nights, jealousy, anxiety, financial ruin, anger, and a mindset among many children that I am better than you because I have more. Just take a look at the news for about five minutes and see if this analysis isn’t spot on. You will find you can never get enough of what you don’t need.

Now that we have that out of the way, I’d like to share with you a path I have found to be wildly more productive. There was a mother and a daughter in my wellness facility earlier; the mother was in a back room working on her midsection. Her 3-year-old daughter went over to the water fountain and began to fill up two cups. I asked her why two cups? With a huge smile and acting completely on her own, she explained to me that her mother must be thirsty and was bringing her a cup of water all the while beaming with this gigantic smile. To put it quite simply, she was truly happy. It was a priceless moment. At 3, she understood what most people age 20 and above are clueless about, as society has fed them a huge lie. as a dream for your life to become the best version of yourself and all of the clues were present from that beginning moment. I will give you a mnemonic device to help you remember the clues and to completely reshape your life: P.I.E.S. Say to yourself I am going to eat “PIES” every day to be the best version, except we aren’t talking about the sugary kind here.

  • P stands for physical needs. For instance, if you aren’t breathing, drinking water, and eating lots of nutritional foods, you probably won’t become the best version of yourself.
  • I stands for intellectual needs. For example, if the books you are reading, television shows you are watching, and music you are listening to don’t inspire (breath life into) you, you probably won’t become the best version of yourself. Isn’t it disgusting that most children know about Harry Potter or Eminem versus the truly great leaders of our history?
  • E stands for emotional needs. It has been proven time and time again that people who focus in on quality relationships are the happiest. Quit loving halfway and quit spending more time stressed about a job that might spit you out versus loving your family and friends. This will be a repeated theme and side note in all my talks. If you have to have a few drinks after work, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG PLACE. If your job requires you to drink and be out late at night to “seal the deal” you are in the wrong place. Lastly on this point, take a moment to remember 9/11. The people who chillingly knew they weren’t going to be spending another day on this Earth reached out to loved ones. In reaching out, it was to share messages of love and caring. They weren’t calls to the stockbroker to check account balances. Don’t wait till it’s too late to get this.
  • S stands for spiritual needs and this ties into my earlier story about the girl and her water. Our meaning here is tied into what we do for others. Our spiritual side is an understanding of anything worth doing are the things we do for others.

Spend the next 30 days hitting one thing from each of the PIES and get back with me and tell me your life hasn’t endured a major positive shift. I would love to hear from you about how you are becoming the best version of yourself.

Register for Jonathan’s free webinar, “Your Essential Purpose


Jonathan Dunn is a Senior Coach at Floyd Consulting where he helps leaders and businesses reach the best-versions-of-themselves. Jonathan coaches individuals and corporate teams to become fully engaged in their lives and work in order to achieve greater success and fulfillment. Floyd’s vision is to make work fun and engaging for as many people as possible, by delivering world-class training and creating dynamic cultures that lead to thriving businesses that are profitable, scalable, and sustainable. Jonathan’s passion and enthusiasm for helping people achieve their dreams is undeniable. His unique ability to connect and engage his clients in the pursuit of their best lives is one of a kind.

orthopedic-fitness-rehab-trainer-and-female-client

Fitness Pros: You Are The Solution

This article is meant to be a wake-up call to the fitness industry. The health of our population and country are at stake. While advancements have extended our country’s overall lifespan, it has occurred primarily through the use of medications and life-saving procedures rather than through lifestyle changes. The stark reality is that the overall health of Americans is declining as evidenced by the $3.5 trillion spent every year on health care expenditures.

Another alarming statistic is that between 1997 and 2016, there were approximately 4.5 billion prescriptions written per year. 70% of Americans take at least one and 20% take five or more prescription medications (Preidt 2017). The majority of these medications were taken to address lifestyle-related diseases and the subsequent impacts of poor nutrition choices and lack of physical activity. Additionally, many prescription and over-the-counter medications are used to treat osteoarthritis, the most common cause of physical disability in the world. While genetics, weight, and age have been considered as underlying factors, the decrease in quantity, as well as quality, of physical activity have been shown to be much greater factors to the onset and prevalence of osteoarthritis in modern society (Wallace 2017, Osar 2018).

While often attributed to causes outside one’s control (i.e. genetics), the fact is that the diseases contributing to the greatest number of deaths (heart disease, cancer, and Type 2 diabetes) and disability (osteoarthritis) are directly related to controllable factors. While each has a genetic component, lifestyle has a much greater impact on the incidence and prevalence of these diseases. One of most important and underappreciated components in the overall decline in one’s physical, physiological, and cognitive health, is the lack of physical activity. Less than 20% of the population meet the daily physical activity guidelines and less than 5% of the adult population participates in 30 minutes of physical activity. Even more disturbing is that more than 78 million U.S. adults and 12 million children are obese.

Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn has been attributed with the quote, “Genetics loads the gun, lifestyle pulls the trigger.” This suggests that lifestyle is as important as genetics in the expression of many chronic diseases. This sentiment is reiterated in a recent study from Bodai et. al (2018). “Epidemiological, ecologic, and interventional studies have repeatedly indicated that most chronic illness, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes, are the results of lifestyles fueled by poor nutrition and physical inactivity.”

The health of our population and country is at stake. This is a call for fitness professionals to step up and recognize that you are the first line of defense against the deleterious impacts of lifestyle diseases. It is your responsibility to educate your communities that lifestyle changes, incorporating proper nutrition as well as increased physical and cognitive exercise, should be the first step in addressing chronic lifestyle diseases. You can continue to change the health of our nation by implementing evidence-based nutrition, exercise, and cognitive training programs. Be the solution your clients, your community, and our country needs by investing in advanced education in nutrition, exercise, movement, and cognitive training. Create relationships with allied health professionals so that we can collectively educate, collaborate, and coordinate the changing of our nation’s health care system.

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Dr. Evan Osar, an internationally recognized speaker, author, and expert on assessment, corrective exercise, and functional movement. Dr. Osar is committed to educating and empowering fitness professionals while helping them develop relationships with allied health professionals. He is author of the Corrective Exercise Solutions to Common Hip and Shoulder Dysfunction and has developed the industry’s most complete training certification, the Integrative Movement Specialist™. With his wife Jenice Mattek, he created the online educational resource. For more info, visit IIHFE.com

References

Bodai, B. I., Nakata, T. E., Wong, W. T., Clark, D. R., Lawenda, S., Tsou, C., … Campbell, T. M. (2018). Lifestyle Medicine: A Brief Review of Its Dramatic Impact on Health and Survival. The Permanente journal22, 17–025. doi:10.7812/TPP/17-025

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Osteoarthritis. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/basics/osteoarthritis.htm

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Leading Causes of Death. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/leading-causes-of-death.htm

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. National Health Expenditure Data. Retrieved from https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.html

Osar, E. (2018). The Fundamentals for Training the Older Client with Osteoarthritis. Retrieved from https://www.ptonthenet.com/remote-learning

Preidt, R. (2017). Americans Taking More Prescription Drugs Than Ever. https://www.webmd.com/drug-medication/news/20170803/americans-taking-more-prescription-drugs-than-ever-survey

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Facts and Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/resource-center/facts-and-statistics/index.html

Wallace, IJ., Worthington, S., Felson, DT., Jurmain, RD., Wren, KT., Maijanen, H. Woods, RJ., Lieberman, DE. (2017). PNAS. 114(35): 9332-9336.