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The Power of Purpose

I have Parkinson’s. I call it “accelerated aging” because it is a progressive neurologic disorder that simulates aging. On my bad days, I feel ten to twenty years older than I am.

For your information, a bad day, for me, has me struggle to get out of bed specifically having to focus all my energy on one arm and then the other arm to just move enough to get my bed cover off my body in hopes of coming up with a strategy to get out of bed and to the bathroom in time. I stressfully drive to the gym and at least show up to the one-hour fitness class. I put on boxing gloves to hit the bag and my arms don’t respond to what my mind is commanding that they do. But I show up. I then go home and walk around my house because I cannot find a comfortable place to sit. Medical marijuana allows me to sit, but makes work, household chores (if fact, almost everything) impossible. The term of art for this phenomenon is “off periods.”

What I can say is that, when I am doing something purposeful, I somehow am able to muster the strength and, yes, courage to get up on stage and provide inspiration to my audience. I love standing in front of a group and provide words of wisdom that help others to change their behavior. It is how I “make a difference.”



For example, I just traveled from Sarasota, Florida to Las Vegas, Nevada on Tuesday, attended a reception Tuesday night, attended breakfast with the Medical Science Liaison Society on Wednesday, did a 45 minute inspirational talk, attended much of the conference, enjoyed the Awards banquet, went out late with a group of attendees, went to be late, got up early on Thursday and travelled back to Florida. The thing is that I was on the whole time. I had my slower moments, but was able to summon the energy to stay engaged the whole time. I call it the “power of purpose.” It happens to me every time that I have an engagement. I also call it “staying engaged.”

By way of a second real-life example, last Tuesday, I flew to New York City, On Wednesday, I attended my father’s induction into the High School Athletics Hall of Fame. On Thursday, I was in the audience of the Wendy Williams Show, talk about the power of positivity waiting in line with some pumped up people at 7:00 am. On Friday, I took a train 2 hours each way to inspire about 100 individuals at the Mid-Hudson Parkinson’s Association. Finally, on Sunday, my wife and I threw her mother an 80th surprise birthday party. We flew back Tuesday and I was useless for several days. My point is that you can summon the energy to overcome anything for a finite period of time if it is in line with your purpose.

Stay Engaged. Fulfill your Purpose. Make a Difference. Have Faith.


John Baumann is a 17 year veteran of Parkinson’s who has demonstrated the desire and discipline to continue to have an amazing life. He exemplifies the word “resilience” starting out as an attorney, then, after getting the news that he has Parkinson’s, continuing to practice for ten more years while getting prepared to fulfill his lifelong dreams of teaching at a University, writing a book on success, and finding his life’s purpose as an inspirational speaker. John graduated from the University of Massachusetts and Cornell Law School. He worked for Exxon for 10 years before accepting the position of General Counsel of Steel Technologies. John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2002 when he was 41 years old. Since being diagnosed, he has taught law at the University of Louisville, College of Business, written a book entitled, Decide Success: You Ain’t Dead Yet, and delivered over 100 keynote presentations.

golden hour silouette

Can Gratitude Help You Live Longer?

The numbers are in and the facts are clear: gratitude helps you live longer. That’s because the more grateful you are for what you have, the happier you are.  And the happier you are, the healthier you’ll be. Gratitude doesn’t just improve your physical, psychological and emotional health — it also makes you into a nicer person. Here’s how it happens.

Gratitude Improves Physical Health

People who display gratitude have:

  • 16% fewer physical symptoms
  • 10% less physical pain
  • 25% increased sleep quality

Cancer survivors like Barbara Tako believe that “actively choosing to regularly practice gratitude is a powerful tool to manage the worries and fears of being a patient or a survivor.” This may be because the regions of the brain that are involved in happiness are also involved in blood-vessel function and inflammation. Studies have shown that levels of the stress hormone cortisol tend to rise and fall with emotion. People who practice gratitude experience less stress, because they don’t tend to dwell on negatives and feel more empowered to overcome hurdles.

Gratitude Improves Psychological Health

Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. According to Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, Davis, a leading gratitude researcher, gratitude increases happiness and reduces depression.

Gratitude Improves Self-Esteem

A grateful person is more likely to accept that someone else is being nice to him.  He’s able to take the kindness that someone else shows him at face value, because he believes that he’s a person worth of receiving kindness. On the other hand, someone with low self-esteem leans towards seeing an act of kindness with a skeptical eye. He’s more likely to think that his benefactor had ulterior motives and is simply trying to get something from them.

Gratitude Increases Mental Resilience

Research shows that gratitude not only reduces stress, but also plays a major role in overcoming trauma. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that gratitude was a major contributor to resilience following the terrorist attacks on September 11. When you can recognize, even in the worst of times, that you have things you can thankful for, you’re more likely to have the resilience to bounce back.

Gratitude Makes you More Likely to Exercise

If you have less pain and are feeling rested, you’re more likely to exercise. Grateful people exercise more often and are more likely to attend regular check-ups. Both these facts contribute to longevity.

Gratitude Makes you into a Nicer Person

Saying thank you and showing appreciation for favors makes you into a nicer person. But the benefits don’t end with the nice words. Showing appreciation actually helps you win new friends, according to a 2014 study published in Emotion. The study found that thanking a new acquaintance makes them more likely to seek an ongoing relationship. Sending a thank-you note to the therapist who called you to check how you where doing after a challenging OT session can lead to a new friendship. By becoming more trusting, social, and appreciative, you can deepen your existing relationships and make new friends.

So how do we go about cultivating this captivating trait of gratitude?

The Easy Key to Cultivating Gratitude

More and more people have started keeping a five-minute daily gratitude journal. By spending just five minutes jotting down a few grateful thoughts before falling asleep, you learn to flex your gratitude muscles. And there are additional benefits. People who keep a gratitude journal sleep better and longer.  And there’s more. In one 11-week study of 96 Americans, those who were instructed to keep a weekly gratitude journal exercised 40 minutes more per week than the control group.

Gratitude reduces feelings of envy, makes our memories happier, lets us experience good feelings, and helps us bounce back from stressful situations. So throw out the negativity and bring in the gratitude. Because it looks like gratitude can help you live longer.


Rhona Lewis is a healthcare freelance writer with over 11 years of writing experience that she uses to help healthcare companies grow their authority and create brand awareness. Her background as a journalist means she’s curious enough to ask the right questions and committed to thorough research. She has a knack for breaking down complex medical concepts into content that a lay audience will read till the end.

 

References:

https://www.everydayhealth.com

http://www.happinessandwellbeing.org

https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/tips_for_keeping_a_gratitude_journal

senior fit

Hormone Balancing Fitness for Women in Midlife

Before hormone balance can be a goal you need a clear definition of what it or hormone imbalance looks like! It’s never just hormones though is it? For the majority of women in midlife and beyond, there’s also a special condition, a joint issue, or a crazy schedule that also needs to be addressed.

If any of these describe you:

  • You’re putting on weight lately no matter what you do
  • You have belly fat even though you’re weight is OK
  • You have cellulite on your thighs, belly, bum, or on your upper arms
  • You can’t seem to develop any muscle tone in your legs
  • You’ve got a saggy bum in spite of so many lunges and squats you can’t sit down
  • You’ve turned up the exercise and eat carefully but still no results
  • You’ve got saggy chest and neck skin

Plus:

  • You have touchy joints from prior or current injuries
  • You have had breast cancer surgeries
  • You’ve had other invasive surgery or joint replacement
  • You have a chronic condition

And potentially:

  • You can’t sleep well
  • Even if you do sleep you don’t wake up refreshed
  • You have high levels of stress right now
  • You’ve tested your hormones and you’re “normal” but don’t feel it
  • You still don’t have any idea how to exercise “normal” or not
  • You have depression or anxiety
  • You’re taking medications for the above or other things with side effects
  • Your digestion is off (even if you thought that was “just me”): You don’t poo every day at least once (more is better); You have rabbits or pudding instead of snakes, You have gas or bloating you just tolerate

And finally:

What you used to do doesn’t work any more.

Then this is definitely for you… if you want to change. Changing is the obstacle for a significant percent of women that express interest in change. If you aren’t willing to change habits, change beliefs, change what you eat and when, change how you exercise and when, then this will just be another blog. No set of exercises, videos, menu plans will ever help until you decide you are 100% in.

Throw Away the Textbook

Exercise for hormone balance is not your textbook exercise. “I’ve never heard that before,” is not a good excuse to dismiss something as true. How many research studies did you read last week about menopause, hormones, and exercise? They’re at anyone’s fingertips in today’s world. So holding onto old ideas without researching for yourself or finding a voice you trust instead of going by an outdated text is irresponsible. A published textbook is outdated by the time it goes to print. Research in this area is accelerating. Get help and get up to speed on research on hormone balance.

Approximately 6000 women a day go into menopause right now. That’s 2 million a year. Yet, 39% of all sports medicine and exercise research features females at all. It’s safe to say a small slice of that focuses on women in perimenopause, menopause, and post menopause and the hormones that influence and are influenced by her exercise.

It’s time to change the way we prescribe exercise during the change. If a woman begins perimenopause in her mid 40s and lives to her mid 80s she spends 40 years in menopause. Shouldn’t we be optimizing exercise for this large population of currently 38 baby boomer women, 25 million Gen X women and coming soon, an even larger number of millennial women? Fitness is either going to open a new level of health for women, who ultimately influence 80% of household decisions including health, or fail miserably. Conventional exercise prescriptions contribute to hormone imbalance.

Your hormone balance exercise

Start lifting weights focused on major muscle groups. Even if you swear by functional movement patterns, insulin, cortisol, and the half dozen more hormones that influence her fat and health are key for reducing risk of disease. Even if you want to tone those arms, you want to start with major muscle groups. Even if you want a flat belly, start with major muscle groups. Stop long slow exercise sessions and long endurance activity.

Increase your protein at every meal and eat regularly. Get to bed early and make sure you control your environment. If you love your wine or nightcap, you’ll want to stop that. All of these things kill testosterone, a key hormone for building lean tissue and libido. Testosterone gives you a kick of confidence too also important for libido.

These are but a few scenarios of exercise changes you can make for more hormone balance. Each woman has a unique set of health history, physical status, signs and symptoms that make her unique.

Want to learn more on this topic? Register for this FREE WEBINAR, presented by Debra Atkinson,  Dr. Michelle Maddux and Danielle Spangler.

Excerpt from the original blog post by Debra Atkinson for Flipping 50


Debra Atkinson is the #youstillgotitgirl who is flipping 50 and changing the way thousands of women think about their second half. She’s the host of the Flipping 50 TV Show and the Flipping 50 podcast. As a master personal trainer, strength and wellness coach with over 30 years fitness industry experience, she works with women who are pro-aging with vitality and energy. She is an international fitness presenter, author of hundreds of articles and multiple books. Visit her website, flippingfifty.com