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woman-walking-dirt-road

Restoring Health: A Lifestyle Rx

America is in bad shape. According to the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), 60% of adults are living with one chronic disease and 40% have two or more.(1)  Astoundingly, 12% of adults are living with 5 or more chronic conditions(2) including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, coronary obstructive pulmonary disease and hypertension. A concept people need to understand is that these diseases can be prevented, managed and even reversed with lifestyle choices.

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a bright light on how our level of health can literally be a matter of life or death. A study of thousands of patients hospitalized with the novel coronavirus in the New York City area found that 94% had one chronic disease and 88% had two or more. The most common conditions included hypertension, obesity and diabetes.(3) In May of this year, the CDC reported that people with an underlying chronic illness had six times the risk of being hospitalized and twelve times the risk for dying.(4)

Boost Health & Immunity

Now is the right time to take small steps to improve health and build immune resilience with daily lifestyle choices. While there isn’t one diet, exercise regimen, or stress-relieving technique that is good for everyone, there are principles to follow that can boost health and vitality at any age.

There is a huge misconception that our genes determine our health destiny. This simply isn’t true. The study of epigenetics shows that we have the ability to change the expression of our genes by the way we think, feel, move and eat.(5) Each of our daily decisions and choices can increase or decrease inflammation in the body, moving us towards disease or back to health.

Acute & Chronic Inflammation

Our immune system uses the ancient, biological pathway of inflammation to protect us against injury and infections.(6) When you cut your finger, immune cells are sent to kill invading bacteria and begin the process of wound healing. This is acute inflammation that goes away in days or weeks when the body is healed.

One the other hand, chronic inflammation lasts a long time, from months to years.(2) It’s basically an abnormal immune response that causes damage to cells, tissues and organs. Oxidative stress plays a big role; it occurs when more free radicals are produced within cells than the body can neutralize.(2)  As you can imagine, when more damage occurs than can be repaired, health problems crop up.

It is now widely accepted that chronic inflammation is at the root of most, if not all, chronic conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, cancer, arthritis and joint disease.(2)

Lifestyle Matters

The good news is that deliberate and healthier lifestyle choices can prevent, manage and even reverse chronic inflammatory disease, the most important cause of morbidity and mortality facing people today.(7) It’s empowering to know that if you have, or want to prevent a chronic disease, you can regain your health and vitality by choosing real whole foods, optimizing sleep, reducing stress, being social, and moving more.

You may be thinking, “How the heck can simple lifestyle decisions address the complexities of chronic conditions?”  The body has an innate ability and intelligence to heal itself. You experience it each time you cut your hand; you wash the wound, put a bandage on and don’t have to think about it.

The research also supports it and I have lived it; by utilizing the power of lifestyle medicine I was able to restore my health from the ravages of chronic Lyme disease. You just need to provide the right environment for healing. This is not an easy task, but it can be done with time, effort and a plan.

Taking Action

Changing your lifestyle habits can feel overwhelming. To help you embrace this challenge, think about this analogy, “How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time!”   Any healing journey begins with awareness, learning and exploration; then gradually taking action, one small step at a time.

Start today by exploring lifestyle behaviors that decrease inflammation and can put your health back on track so you can live with less pain, more energy, and greater vitality. A lifestyle prescription to restore health includes:

  • Reducing stress with deep breathing.
  • Getting good quality sleep by going to bed and rising at the same time.
  • Eating a plant-based diet rich in a rainbow of vegetables.
  • Hydrating with filtered water in the morning and during the day.
  • Nurturing relationships and engaging with positive people.
  • Moving well with good posture when performing daily activities and exercise.

Be proactive, make one hour a week to learn more by reading books, researching on PubMed.gov, listening to podcasts, attending lectures and webinars so you can find the strategies and practices that work best for you. As you begin to feel better, you will naturally be motivated to continue learning and making better lifestyle choices because healthy feels so good!

Find a Fitness or Allied Health Pro Near You

Search the free MedFit Network directory to locate a professional near you! MedFit Network maintains a free directory of fitness and allied healthcare professionals who can work with individuals with chronic disease, medical conditions or the senior population.


Cate Reade, MS, RD is a Registered Dietitian, Exercise Physiologist and Functional Medicine Practitioner candidate on a mission to improve functional mobility and health span utilizing the power of lifestyle medicine. She has been teaching, writing and prescribing healthy eating and exercise programs for over 25 years. Today, as CEO of Resistance Dynamics and inventor of the MoveMor™ Mobility Trainer, she develops exercise products and programs that target joint flexibility, strength and balance deficits to help older adults fall less and live more.

 

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/index.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK493173/
  3. https://www.the-scientist.com/news-opinion/nearly-all-nyc-area-covid-19-hospitalizations-had-comorbidities-67476
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/Novel_Coronavirus_Reports.html June 19, 2020
  5. https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/epigenetic-influences-and-disease-895/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6345337/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23974765/
Trainer-with-senior-client-using-machine

The Roles of a Medical Fitness Specialist: Scope of practice, prevention and interprofessional collaboration

Physical activity has been demonstrated to positively affect over 30 chronic conditions and is considered the best deterrent of chronic disease in primary and secondary prevention. The main goal of a Medical Fitness Specialist (MFS) in the healthcare continuum is to prevent the onset of chronic disease and bridge the gap between clinical intervention and conventional fitness programs. This is achieved by developing exercise programs for those who have or are at risk for chronic disease or dysfunction, have health conditions that may be mitigated or managed by exercise and activity, are newly diagnosed with a disease and need exercise guidance, or have completed a medically supervised rehabilitation program and need to continue to progress. A fitness professional versed in medical fitness protocols, such as an MFS, can work with those who are at risk for chronic disease.

Scope of Practice

Scope of practice refers to boundaries set by knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs), as well as education, experience, and demonstrated competency, such as a program of study, or an exam to measure proficiency. A basic personal training certification suggests the holder can develop exercise programs for apparently healthy clients. Unfortunately, considering the overweight and obesity rate is near 70%, and 50%-60% of the adult U.S. population has at least one chronic disease, adhering to scope of practice becomes increasingly important, yet at the same time many fitness professionals may be providing services outside their scope of practice, and beyond their level of certification. By accepting a client, the trainer is proposing a safe workout will be developed and implemented, and the client will not be at risk of injury. If advice is given that is not within the trainer’s scope of practice, the trainer and the facility may be subjected to a lawsuit.

An MFS who integrates medical fitness into practice has the KSAs, based on education, experience, and demonstrated competency to conduct pre-participation interviews, perform fitness assessments, and design and implement health and fitness programs for disease management to avoid future injury and to improve activities of daily living. Unlike an MFS, unless otherwise educated, a fitness trainer who promotes medical fitness is not a licensed healthcare provider and does not possess the KSAs to diagnose an unknown condition, suggest supplements, design meal plans, physically touch a client or provide behavioral counseling.

Prevention

In the United States, medical care tends to focus on treatment rather than prevention. Whereas treatment is given for a diagnosed disease or injury, the goal of prevention is to avoid, improve or slow down the progression of a probable or possible disease or injury. Prevention can be categorized as primary, secondary, or tertiary. The goal of primary prevention is to foster a life of wellness and therefore avoid or reduce the chance of disease or dysfunction. Primary prevention includes immunizations, targeted types of exercise, balanced nutrition and wellness, and education programs. Secondary prevention is managing a symptomatic disease in the hopes of slowing down or reversing the progression. Examples include treatment for hypertension, asthma, and some cancer treatments. Tertiary prevention involves the management and treatment of symptomatic disease with the goal of slowing progression and severity, as well as reducing disease-related complications. Tertiary prevention includes treatment for late-stage cancer, coronary heart disease, and some types of rehabilitation to include orthopedic, cardiac, and pulmonary. Physical activity has been demonstrated to effectively treat over 30 chronic conditions, mostly in primary prevention but also in secondary and tertiary, making it the number one intervention against chronic disease.


WEBINAR WITH DR. DAN MIKESKA


Interprofessional Collaboration

Due to the growing incidence of obesity and chronic disease, leveraging the skills of various providers who can collaborate to deliver the best possible care, based on clinical needs, is necessary to manage the complex health care demands of a population with an increasing incidence of comorbidities. Due to a worldwide shortage of health workers, in 2010, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized interprofessional collaboration as means to mitigate the global clinician shortage, strengthen health systems and improve outcomes. Interprofessional collaboration refers to health care teams, made up of trained professionals with various backgrounds, who work alongside patients and their families to provide high-quality care, based on the needs of the patient. Consequently, as medical providers begin to recognize the need to prescribe evidence-based exercise as an intervention in the management of chronic disease, MFSs, who are on the front line of health care, are trained and educated to be part of a clinical team that complements and leverages the strengths of each team member to improve population health. As health science and technology advance, it is imperative for fitness professionals who work with clients who have one or more chronic diseases to remain up-to-date on emerging fitness protocols. An MFS is required to participate in continuing education in areas including cardiopulmonary disease, metabolic disorders, and orthopedic dysfunction.

Although the scope of practice of many allied healthcare fields overlaps, the role of the MFS is to work with the client’s team of other healthcare providers, while staying within the scope of practice, based on KSAs. Regardless of the collaborative health team, the client’s physician is always the center, and as such should be provided regular updates as to the client’s progress.

An MFS is uniquely qualified to work with individuals within the healthcare continuum. Some KSAs associated with MFSs are:

  • Knowledge of basic chronic disease pathophysiology
  • The use and side effects of common medications taken by someone suffering from a chronic disease
  • The knowledge to perform and analyze basic assessments related to movement and anthropometry
  • The knowledge to design a safe and effective workout based on information received via assessment results, and the clinical recommendations from other healthcare providers
  • FITT protocols, exercise progressions, and regressions
  • The implications of exercise and activity for individuals with chronic disease
  • Contraindications of chronic disease, and signs and symptoms of distress related to chronic disease
  • Knowledge of signs and symptoms that require expertise outside of the scope of practice for medical exercise
  • The ability to recognize a medical emergency
  • Current CPR and adult AED are required

Personal Trainers & Fitness Professionals: Prevent & Manage Chronic Disease and Collaborate with Clinicians

Check out MedFit Classroom’s 20-hour online course, Medical Fitness Specialist. This course is designed for fitness and health professionals who want to learn more about using exercise as medicine with clients who suffer from one or more chronic diseases. As a Medical Fitness Specialist, you will be able to prevent and/or manage numerous chronic diseases and collaborate with clinicians.

For a limited time, save 40% on this course by entering coupon code MFNBLOG40 at checkout.


This article was featured in MedFit Professional Magazine. Access past issues or subscribe to read more great content like this!

Dan Mikeska has a doctorate degree in Health Science and a master’s degree in Human Movement, as well as certifications from NASM, ACE, the Cancer Exercise Training Institute and the Exercise Is Medicine credential from ACSM. He currently owns NOVA Medical Exercise and Medical Exercise Academy and is adjunct faculty for A.T. Still University’s Master of Kinesiology program. 

wellness

The New PPE: Post Pandemic Era | Wellness Reimagined

In an age where the words PPE, boosters, and “the new normal” seem to be a part of everyday vernacular, it is time to ask some essential questions:

  • Where do we go from here?
  • How do we best move from a Pandemic state of stress and inflammation to a new state of calm and boosted immunity?
  • How do we step into the New PPE, the New Post Pandemic Era in a way that brings about lasting change?

The answer to those questions lies within a Reimagined approach to “Wellness.”

Wellness, as defined in Dictionary.com[1], is “the quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort.” While this definition is suggestive of a more holistic approach to wellness, it is still does not adequately address the challenges now faced by the world community due to the devastating impact the pandemic has wrought.

As a result of COVID-19 and its resulting policies, there has been a profound impact on the mental and physical health of the world population resulting in higher instances of stress, depression, insomnia, PTSD, and anxiety.[2] Stress can activate inflammation in the brain and the body which is a common risk factor of 75%–90% diseases linked to morbidity and mortality (CVD, i.e., hypertension and atherosclerosis, metabolic diseases, i.e., diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and neurodegenerative disorders (i.e., depression, Alzheimer’s disease, AD and Parkinson’s disease, PD), cancer. [3]

The Wellness industry is booming, with people investing in their health more than ever before. But for some, this means they buy the latest fads and trends in hopes that it will lead to a healthier lifestyle. The truth is that unless you make a commitment to changing your life and taking control of your wellness goals, you’ll never see the results you want.

To move into the New Post Pandemic Era with a focus on long-term change, an integrated health approach is required. Understanding, not only how we move and fuel our bodies, but also how we relate and interact with the people, places and situations that make up our world is a key towards advancing beyond this pandemic. This New PPE approach will represent Wellness Reimaged, better positioning us to experience long-term health benefits.

There are countless programs – too many to name -that teach the what, when, and how’s of eating and moving. There are also an equal number of programs where mind set is in focus. While many of those programs provide essential information as to how to advance health, it is time to explore what may be missing to experience a state of “true wellness”. The road to attaining “true wellness” lies within the following 3-Step Process.

COMMIT:

  • The Yes! Mindset – a positive, purposeful Mindset focused on achieving goals and discovering the authentic you.

DO:

  • The Brain/Body Connection in how you Breath, Move and Eat, and
  • The A.G.E. Life Framework where you Age with Grace and Excellence.

LIVE:

  • The Yes! Life of Constant Challenge of the Brain, Body and limiting Beliefs where personal goals are reached and your Life Vision realized.

Are you ready to create a Wellness Revolution?

Free Webinar with Lisa Charles

Join Yes! Coach Lisa Charles for a free webinar from MedFit Classroom, The New PPE: Post Pandemic Era


Lisa Charles is a federal prosecutor turned singer/actress, wellness expert, certified health coach/consultant, and an acclaimed speaker. She served as the Fitness/Wellness Research Coordinator for the Rutgers University Aging & Brain Health Alliance, and is the CEO of Embrace Your Fitness, LLC, and the Author of YES! COMMIT. DO. LIVE.

 

References

  1. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/wellness
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689353/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7689353/ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5476783/#B15
Mirabai New Year Article

Health Coaching: A New Way To Keep Those New Year’s Resolutions

So you go to your annual check-up and your doc says “whoops your blood pressure is up and you’re 15 pounds heavier than last year. I’ll give you some meds, but you’ll have to lose weight and get into shape, OK?

You say OK, you walk out and then what?

Join a gym, hire a personal trainer, go on a diet, take a walk? You might do one or several of these because, after all, it’s a new year and a new you.

Right? Right, and you try something. But how long is it till you throw up your hands and say, “ugh, I got started and now I’m off the track just like last year.”

What went wrong? Maybe nothing, except you might not have been psychologically ready to take those steps.

For any change there is a process. One of the models that are used is the transtheoretical model of behavior change (TTM) developed by James O. Prochaska , Ph.D

There are 5 stages:

Precontemplation – going along not aware of a need for, or not wanting a change.

Contemplation – recognizing a need to do something to improve your situation and considering making some sort of change.

Preparation – doing some research, making small changes, or at least thinking about what you’re going to do to help yourself.

Action – Actively making lifestyle changes,

Maintenance – Having made changes, keeping the healthy lifestyle going.

All too often we jump from contemplation to action without being ready for the change. It can feel like getting off a plane in Antarctica wearing shorts and a T-shirt. You wanted to be there but you weren’t ready for what that change would be like, and what you’d need to do to stay there comfortably.

But there is help, a new kind of help.

The health and fitness industry is rising to the challenge of our increased involvement with our own health care.

Many of us still think of fitness professionals as muscle heads with great bodies and not much else. Those types will always exist, but more educational opportunities including degrees and certifications are spawning a new breed of health & fitness professional, one that’s part of the health as well as the fitness industry.

Enter the Health & Wellness Coach

Not to be confused with a personal trainer, the Health & Wellness Coach is a consultant who helps you go, through, preparation, to action and on to maintenance. The coach helps you determine your health and wellness goals and needs. Once you have a path to your goals the coach continues to work with you to help you find the behavior modifications, activities, facilities and allied health professionals (MDs, Ph.Ds, Nurse Practitioners RDs, PTs, Personal Trainers, Exercise Instructors, etc.) to support your healthy lifestyle. You can do this on your own, but having someone with health industry knowledge who has your back, who is nonjudgmental, who just wants to help you focus and succeed can make all the difference.


Mirabai Holland MFA, EP-C, CHC is one of the foremost authorities is the health and fitness industry. Her customer top rated exercise videos for Age-Onset health issues like Osteoporosis, Arthritis, Heart Disease, Diabetes & more are available at www.mirabaiholland.com. Mirabai also offers one-on-on Health Coaching on Skype or Phone. Contact her at askmirabai@movingfree.com.

Healthy-Lifestyle-Nutrition-Exercise-Medicine

Using a Lifestyle Medicine Approach to Support Health

The American College of Lifestyle Medicine (ACLM) defines lifestyle medicine as an approach to prevent, treat, and sometimes reverse chronic diseases to promote optimal health. Individuals are encouraged to follow a healthy eating pattern that is predominantly plant-based, engage in regular physical activity, experience restorative sleep, manage stress with success, avoid risky substances, and engage in positive social connections. There are a variety of tools and strategies that medical, health, and fitness professionals can utilize to have a collaborative conversation with clients and/or patients that can evoke change. It is useful to have a structured framework to facilitate the conversation.

Using the 5 A’s Framework to Structure the Conversation

Many medical providers and personal trainers have not been trained to facilitate a conversation surrounding an individual’s desire and readiness to change. This is a useful tool for structuring the conversation and ultimately setting SMART goals if the client or patient is indeed ready to commit to making a change.1

Assess
To begin the conversation, ask if the patient is currently engaging in the healthy behavior that is being contemplated as well as exploring their feelings about this specific health behavior. This dialogue will give you some insight about current beliefs and behaviors as well as identifying any gaps in their knowledge.

Advise
Here you can put on your expert hat and provide the individual with evidence-based information that highlights the benefits of making a health behavior change. If your client or patient is receptive, now is the time to provide them with specific strategies or a prescription.  For example, if they are looking to lose weight, you could prescribe a combination of cardiovascular and muscle strengthening exercises to support that goal.

Agree
As the conversation continues, collaboratively work to identify goals based on where they are showing interest and energy as well as where they have confidence in their ability to successfully make a sustainable change.  In this part of the conversation, you can help your client and/or patient create a SMART goal that is relevant and aligns with their values to promote self-efficacy.  

Assist
It is now time to discuss potential barriers and explore strategies that could be helpful in overcoming these challenges. This is also an opportunity to discuss social and environmental support structures that have the capacity to promote accountability and ultimately lead to self-monitoring.  

Arrange
As the conversation draws to a close, arrange a follow-up visit to monitor progress and convey that you are there to provide motivation, accountability, and support.  This is also an opportunity to refer your client and/or patient to community resources or to other health, fitness, or nutrition professionals that can support the behavior change process.

Redefine Health with Lifestyle Medicine

Using a lifestyle medicine approach highlights the need to promote optimal health by addressing health behaviors across the dimensions of wellness. This approach has the capacity to prioritize mental health as it is integrally related to our physical health and impacts our relationships with others. Lifestyle medicine is an emerging field that prioritizes our conversations with clients and patients creating rapport and trust that ultimately enables them to experiment with behavior change.  Health coaching and lifestyle medicine are a powerful combination used in delivering evidence-based interventions that have the capacity to help others redefine their health.


Suzanne Stringer, Master of Health Science, CHES, CHC, CPT is a health coach and personal trainer. She collaborates with clients to co-create goals that enable them to experience success as they work through the behavior change process. Additionally, Suzanne is an adjunct faculty member in the Health Sciences Department at AACC.


References

  1. American College of Lifestyle Medicine.  (2021).  Foundations of Lifestyle Medicine Board Review Manual.  American College of Lifestyle Medicine.  

 

Success

Coming Soon! Foundations of Wellness and Lifestyle Coaching

Having a foundation in coaching skills equips fitness professionals and wellness professionals to help their clients succeed at lifestyle improvement. 

MedFit Classroom’s upcoming course will provide you with a thorough overview that enables you to be much more coach-like in your work with clients.  

In this new course, authored by Dr. Michael Arloski, you’ll…

  • Learn how to help your clients go well beyond just goal setting and make use of behavioral change methodologies that create real progress.  
  • Gain the skills needed to help clients mobilize their motivation to make positive lifestyle changes and accomplish goals they never thought possible.  
  • Become proficient in having The Wellness Coaching Conversation, a conversation that demonstrates understanding while eliciting and empowering the client to choose an active role in their own health. 
  • Through the use of select coaching skills training videos and demonstrations you’ll learn about the use of Active Listening Skills and Powerful Questions to help your clients assess their own wellness and develop a Wellness Plan for growth and change.
  • Gain accountability and support skills that ensure progress towards lasting lifestyle improvement. 
  • Explore the use wellness and health coaching models and how they can be implemented in your setting.  

This course is ideal for the fitness or wellness professional looking to either integrate the skills and methods of coaching into their own professional work, or to serve as an introduction to the path of learning how to become a health and wellness coach.

Dr. Arloski is a pioneering architect of the field of health and wellness coaching.  He and his company, Real Balance Global Wellness, have trained thousands of health and wellness coaches worldwide.  His book, Wellness Coaching for Lasing Lifestyle Change is a foundational book of the field, and his new book Masterful Health and Wellness Coaching: Deepening Your Craft takes the field to a new depth.  

Join MedFit Classroom’s course waitlist to receive a notification when this new course goes live, and receive a special discount!

health-wellness-coach-with-client

The Health And Wellness Coach’s Value Proposition

Every potential coaching client is looking to have the question ‘What’s in it for me?’ answered. Every coach needs to be able to succinctly answer that question by conveying what they will provide for their client.

Potential coaching clients are rarely familiar with what a coach, especially a health & wellness coach, can do for them. They are used to dealing with educators and consultants, medical and otherwise, not coaches. Usually clients expect to be directed, educated, and led in the best direction for them. All too often they hear a wellness coach tell them something like:

“I’m not going to tell you what to do. I’m not going to tell you what to eat or how to exercise. You’re the one in charge. You’re the one behind the steering wheel. You’ll be making your own wellness plan, and I’ll help you follow it.”

Why should this person become your client when it appears that they, themselves, are going to be doing all the work? Our client-centered approach to coaching does not mean we are not providing value, however we have to communicate the value of what we offer, and do it very clearly. What will the client gain from coaching?

This is true for the self-employed coach as well as the coach working for a wellness program, a disease management company, an insurance carrier, or any other organization that provides wellness and health coaching. It is about engagement. When coaches are confronted with the “incentivized” client, who is reluctantly complying with coaching in order to get their prize (or much-needed insurance discount), conveying the Health And Wellness Coach’s Value Proposition is more vital than ever.

Here is my way of presenting The Health And Wellness Coach’s Value Proposition. Please adapt to your own words and use it!

The Health And Wellness Coach’s Value Proposition*

“Thank you for your interest in improving your lifestyle and your life. You may be new to coaching, and especially wellness coaching, so let me share with you the value that it brings.

Wellness/health coaching is all about you living the best life possible for you. To do that most people find there needs to be some improvements in their way of living, their lifestyle. Making those improvements, those changes is challenging when you have to do it all by yourself. Perhaps you’ve already had some experience with that.

When I work with someone in coaching I’m here to serve you. You are the one in charge of your life and our work together. It’s your hands on the steering wheel. I’m not going to tell you what to do and give you a pre-maid wellness plan. But, together we can co-create a plan to help you succeed at making the lifestyle improvements that you want to make.

As your coach I will be working with you to get very clear about where you are at with your health and well being right now. We’ll help you take stock of that by exploring together, using some coaching tools that will help give you a more complete picture, and by going over the lifestyle improvement recommendations you’ve gotten from treatment professionals. Then we’ll work together to help you form a clear picture of the kind of life you want to live, your healthiest life possible for you. We’ll compare where you’re at and where you want to be and together form a solid plan to help you get there.

Once we have that plan we’ll work together as allies to help you be accountable to yourself and follow through on the steps you need to be taking on a regular basis to help you achieve the goals you have in your plan. I’ll be with you throughout the journey. I’ll be there to help you strategize over, under, around and through the barriers that come up. I’ll help you with challenges that make it tough for you to live the healthy life you want and together we’ll help you keep on track. Together we’ll help you find and develop the sources of support that will make your changes last. We’ll evaluate our progress and adjust the course along the way as we need to. My goal is to assist you in becoming self-sufficient in your wellness, to be able to live a healthy life in a completely sustainable way.

I bring the value of a professional that knows about succeeding at lifestyle improvement. I bring the value of an ally.”

*Created by Michael Arloski, Ph.D., PCC, CWP. Please adapt to your own words and use it! If used intact you must include authorship credit and contact information (Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc, https://www.realbalance.com). 


Originally published on Real Balance blog. Reprinted with permission.

Dr. Michael Arloski is the CEO and Founder of Real Balance Global Wellness Services, Inc. (www.realbalance.com). Real Balance has trained thousands of wellness coaches worldwide. Dr. Arloski is a board member of The National Wellness Institute, and a founding member of the executive team of The National Consortium For Credentialing Health and Wellness Coaches. He is author of the leading book in the field of wellness coaching: Wellness Coaching For Lasting Lifestyle Change, 2nd Ed.

Senior-Woman-Deep-Breath

Weight Loss Happens On The Exhale… The Nasal Exhale

Every person longing to be slim has heard the same advice forever: Eat less and exercise more. So simple, so logical, so what happened? America is the land of the overweight and the frustrated. For millions of people, every road has led to the same locked door. Until now. I’m going to give you the secret to helping you help your clients reach their weight loss goals in a healthy, lasting and fulfilling way.


For reasons ranging from stress to the influence of advertising, the majority of Americans find it difficult to lose the weight and keep it off. In addition, they are famously sedentary. According to the Centers For Disease Control & Prevention, 70% of adults are overweight or obese, contributing to health risks including heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and more (1). Either for health or vanity reasons, many of these overweight men and women try to slim down and usually gain back at least as many pounds as they lost. The secret to effectively losing weight and transforming patterns of behavior happens with breath. 

How Breath Influences Fat Burning

The way we breathe, fast or slow, mouth open or closed, shallow or deep affects our biochemical, physiological, biomechanical and psychological states of being. Nasal diaphragmatic breathing signals our parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system while mouth breathing signals our sympathetic branch.  The difference determines whether you’re fat-burning or sugar-burning. Can you guess which turns you into a fat-burning machine? You guessed, nasal breathing.

Most of our clients are living in a stressed state (or the sympathetic branch of our nervous system). Not only is this the sugar-burning system, it also leads to abnormally high levels of cortisol. High cortisol levels promote weight gain (2).

In addition, nasal breathing increases oxygenation while mouth breathing decreases oxygenation. The speed at which your body burns oxygen or fuel for fat-burning benefits depends on how well your body utilizes oxygen. As we diaphragmatically nasal breathe, we stimulate the vagus nerve. “The vagus nerve regulates metabolic homeostasis by controlling heart rate, gastrointestinal motility and secretion, pancreatic endocrine and exocrine secretion, hepatic glucose production, and other visceral functions.” (4)

How The Fat Leaves On The Exhale

Fats are large molecules made up of oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen. When the oxygen we breathe reaches these fat molecules, it breaks them down into carbon dioxide and water.  The blood then picks up the carbon dioxide – a waste product of our bodies – and returns it to the lungs to be exhaled.  Therefore, the more oxygen our bodies use, the more fat we will burn.  

Nasal breathing is more efficient than mouth breathing in terms of supplying oxygen to the body as well as the transfer of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the lungs and red blood cells. When performing cardiovascular exercise, it is therefore preferable to inhale and exhale through the nose. (3)

Have you ever wondered where the fat goes? If you’re like most of us, you probably think the majority of fat is excreted through bodily fluids. Surprisingly, it’s not. Based on the research from the British Medical Journal, the majority of fat turns into carbon dioxide which is exhaled when we breathe. (5)

See My Interview With Ruben Meerman

Transforming Patterns of Behavior

The person who’s been sedentary for years won’t suddenly be persuaded to run a marathon. Core changes must come first in order to make everything else possible.  Using “breath as medicine” to improve health and the training experience, we cultivate the “choosing mind,” where we can alter lifelong patterns. 

People become sedentary and develop poor lifestyle patterns based on habit, boredom or emotional triggers.  So, there’s more involved than just losing the physical weight. Our issues are in our tissues. We’ve got to transform the emotional and physiological weight which is embedded in our unconscious and subconscious minds.  

Mindful breathing while exercising is being “neurofit” meaning we’re influencing physiological changes in the brain related to behavior. Life is a sensory experience and the body keeps score. Focusing on the breath allows a person to slow down, unwind and look inward. This is crucial for people whose lives are chronically hectic and stressful, who eat without thought, regardless of hunger. With deep, powerful breathing, they can break old patterns while cleansing internal systems. How does this happen?  By stimulating the vagus nerve (which only happens through nasal diaphragmatic breathing), we strengthen the areas of the brain responsible for emotional self-regulation. (6)

The body always lives in the present. It will never crave a Twinkie because of unrequited love, an upcoming review with a cranky boss, or an unhappy childhood. It cares only about what it needs from moment to moment to maintain homeostasis. The typical brain calls for millions of automatic acts in a day – from adjusting endocrine levels to blinking to deploying white cells for battle. As the connection between body and mind is fortified with breath, the choosing mind emerges reconnecting with our body to hear its’ objective voice which discriminates between emotional reactivity and true desire.

All that from a simple breath. 

Continuing Education: Breath as Medicine

Ed Harrold’s Breath AS Medicine breath coach training focuses on breath regulation concepts & strategies by applying the principles and philosophy of yoga breathing (or pranayama) to improve breathing rates and patterns. Breath AS Medicine is a highly effective modality for both the prevention of illness as well as therapy for managing and/or reversing existing chronic illness.

Click here to learn more about Ed Harrold’s Breath AS Medicine e-learning courses. Use coupon MedFit20 for 20% off either the 15 or 25-hour trainings.

A shorter 6-hour course is also available on MedFit Classroom. Click here for details.


Ed Harrold is an author, inspirational leader, public speaker, coach and educator. Ed’s mastery in the science of mindful breathing has guided him to apply conscious breathing practices in corporate performance coaching, fitness & athletic training, healthcare trainings, stress reduction and overall health and well-being.

Today, Ed blends the fields of neuroscience and the wisdom of contemplative traditions into effective strategies to improve well-being in Corporate America, Healthcare, athletic performance and individual health. Ed’s fluency in mindfulness-based strategies combined with the belief in the human potential gives him the depth and understanding to meet individuals and group needs across industries and platforms.

 Ed is the author of  “Life With Breath” and “BodyMindBusiness”; he is a contributing health & wellness editor for Huffingtpost, Thrive Global, MindBodyGreen & PTOnTheNet. Ed’s Breath AS Medicine Training offers CE in the healthcare, wellness coaching, fitness & athletic training sectors. Ed is a Faculty Member of the Medical Wellness Association. Learn more about Ed at www.edharrold.com

 

References

  1. National Center For Health Statistics, Health, United States, 2015.  Table 53.  https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm 
  2. Sominsky, L. & Spencer, S. (May 2014). Eating behavior and stress: a pathway to obesity, School of Health Sciences and Health Innovations Research Institute, Retrieved from http://journal.frontiersin.org 
  3. Novotny, S. (2007, February 1). The science of breathing. Ideafit.com. Retrieved from http://www.ideafit.com/ 
  4. Harada, S., Yamazaki, Y., Koda, S., Tokuyama, S. (April 23, 2014). Hepatic Branch Vagus Nerve Plays a Critical Role in the Recovery of Post-Ischemic Glucose Intolerance and Mediates a Neuroprotective Effect by Hypothalamic Orexin-A, Retrieved from http://journals.plos.org/ 
  5. Meerman, A. Brown (December 19, 2014).  When Somebody Loses Weight, Where Does The Fat Go? The BMJ. Retrieved from http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g7257
  6. Porges SW, Doussard-Roosevelt JA, Maiti AK (1994).  Vagal Tone And The Physiological Regulation of Emotion.  PubMed.  Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7984159 
trainer-resistance-band-senior-woman-client

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.


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

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.