Our bodies are designed to move…a lot. Everything in the body is in constant movement, inside we are like a beautifully designed machine where everything fits together. But the machine needs to work (move) to function. When we move circulation is enhanced; oxygen in, toxins out. There is no other way to do this. When we don’t move the opposite occurs; bad circulation, accumulation of toxins in our system, weak muscles that can’t keep the posture, the skeletal system goes out of whack because there is no muscle support and we end up with a whole array of aches and pains. The way our society is built today does not leave much space for movement. We sit at work, sit in our transportation, sit at home. We take the elevator or the escalator, even if it means waiting. We are constantly stressed and in some kind of pain because the body is not getting what it needs. And when the body doesn’t get what it needs, nor does the mind. When exercising, the brain secretes all kind of yummy, feel-good hormones that make us high and happy.
The benefits of exercise are huge: Less risk for osteoporosis, better circulation, healthy hunger and healthy demands from the body, clarity of mind, improvement of mood, more energy, better sleep-patterns, reduces stress, the list is long. Look at children; they move all the time and their bodies are strong and fit. They don’t have problems with posture, aches and dislocated vertebrae…
If you are not used to exercising, start slow: Take the stairs, take a walk, park your car further away from the mall. Walk those 2 bus-stops (it’ll probably be faster than waiting for the bus), dance. Little by little you add on; walk further, start doing other exercises, run, skip, jump, climb a tree. When you are at the playground with your child, play! Climb, swing and use the playground equipment to exercise. Check out videos on YouTube “playground exercises”.
- Aches and pains: If you have problems with your body, chances are that they will heal or get better with movement. Just be careful not to overdo it. If you have problems with your knees walk the stairs up and take the elevator down. Going downstairs or downhill creates a much bigger impact on your joints. Walk, don’t run or jump. Climbing is good. Push-ups is a brilliant exercise for the whole body and can be done by anybody. If you can’t do full push-ups, start on your knees or against a wall or an elevated surface. Menstrual pain always lessens with movement. Head-aches often clear.
- Time: You can get a really heavy-duty work-out in only 15-20 min. Cardio by running, skipping rope, dancing, step-ups or using the stairs. Strength by using interval-training. This can be fit in any time during the day; lunch break, morning, evening. Instead of sitting through stupid programs on the TV or hanging out with your best buddy – the computer, move! You can even fit in more than one session in a day.
- Expenses: There are none unless you want to. For weights you can use cans, water-bottles, rocks…whatever. You can use an ordinary rope for skipping, your body-weight is already something to work with. You can do everything in your living-room, garden, play-ground, park, forest…use your imagination. If you want to invest, buy some dumb-bells, they are not too costly. I invested in a timer for interval-training, it’s called Gymboss and you can purchase it either in a sports-shop or here. It costs about 20 US dollars. Interval training is hard to do on your own without a timer.
- Body-weight & Balance: When you do body-weight exercises, you use all the muscles in your body because while you are moving, the body constantly has to stabilize and balance itself. I prefer this to working on machines because the machine targets only one area. By using your whole body you get balance, coordination and strength. There is no end to the movements and combinations you can create, so you don’t have to get bored. Besides, you can do it anywhere. I LOVE interval-training (or Tabata); it’s fun, fast, easy and efficient. I do it in my living-room in winter, in my garden in the summer and sometimes in the forest where I can use nature’s equipment.
- Warm-up & Stretching: Always warm up before training and stretch after. This will keep stiffness and soreness to a minimum, keeping you muscles long and supple. Some stiffness is to be expected when you start, or step up, your work-out. The best way to get past this is by exercising. Over time your program will get too easy, then you need to add more movements or weight.
Here is a great video to show how interval training is done:
You will love the look and feel of your new body; toned muscle, good posture, looking radiant and strong. You will find yourself taking every chance to move; walk, take the stairs, turn the house-cleaning into a work-out 🙂 Health is all about loving and respecting yourself.
Posted in Lifestyle, Stress, Wellness
Tagged balance, body, exercise, health, life-style, mind, movement, muscle, self-respect, simplicity, sleep, Stress
Every person has their own rhythm; sleep, energy, hormonal cycles, digestion, that greatly influences performance. Most writers I know write in the wee hours of morning or late at night when all is quiet and there are no interruptions, many athletes prefer to train in the morning. Some people are full of energy in the evenings and some in the mornings. Daily life schedule is usually fixed, no matter how our rhythms look, and this can sometimes become an enormous stressor.
Many people experience sleeping-problems; they can’t fall asleep in the evening, wake up at strange times, are tired upon waking in the morning… Often it is related to their specific sleep-patterns or rhythms. The same goes for our “daily cycles”; our energy moves in waves and at certain times during the day we have “dips” when we feel tired or un-focused. Over time this can lead to tension and stress.
Most people aren’t even aware of their own patterns, they fight a loosing battle trying to fit into a schedule of work, over time getting depleted and stressed. By learning our patterns or rhythms, we can enhance our performance by time-management and scheduling. So how do we learn our patterns?
Keep a diary for 1-4 weeks where you note your findings:
- Sleep: When do you get tired in the evening? When do you feel comfortable getting up? How many hours do you need to sleep?
- “Dips”: Pay attention to when this happens during the day and how often. Note the time.
- Digestion: How do you feel comfortable with eating? What time? How many times? How much? How long does it take you to digest?
- Hormones (more obvious for women): Menstrual cycles; how do they affect your performance?
After a certain amount of time, you will notice a pattern in your diary; this would be your basic energy-rhythm. By knowing your pattern you can also fit it with the life you are living. You need to teach yourself to function optimally.
Balance your sleep:
- Energetic in the evenings, tired in the morning? Do something; take a walk or exercise, prepare for the next day so morning flows easy (get your clothes out, clean the kitchen, pack your bag). Then go to bed. Keep your room dark and cool. Maybe a calming tea or a bath will help.
- Tired in the evenings, energetic in the morning? Get to bed earlier and get up earlier. Do your exercise in the morning, your daily preparation as well.
- Waking up in the night at the same hour? When this is caused by stress it is usually very negative; worry, angst, a sense of doom and extremely black thoughts. Then stress-management is a must. If it is “only” waking up it could be that you have left your deep sleep and moved into dream time. Stay relaxed, breath deeply and stay with your dream. Research shows that to remember a dream, we need to wake up after it and stay awake 1-3 minutes, whis means that we wake up many times during the night without being aware of it, usually we just fall asleep again.
- When you constantly feel exhausted after a nights sleep there is usually stress involved; your brain is not resting and you probably have problems accessing your deep sleep state. Stress-management is needed.
- Heavy or large meals, alcohol, sugars and black/green tea/ coffee in the evening will influence your sleep negatively.
“Dips”: When you have found the rhythm, use the “dip-time” for de-stress by taking a break, a few minutes is usually enough: Drink water (not coffee), move around a bit, do some deep breathing. A friend of mine goes running or walking in the stairs… whatever suits you. Just move!
- When do you need your main meal? Morning, noon, afternoon? This is different for everybody.
- How do you react on what you eat? Maybe you need to change your eating habits? The body needs more time to digest a heavy meal such as steak, pasta, greasy food. If you feel heavy and tired after eating, chances are that you are eating the wrong stuff. Always move after meals; take a walk.
- How often do you need sustenance such as a fruit? (NOT sugary stuff)
Ladies, we are NOT slaves under our hormones!!!
- PMS: irritation, anger? Get fish-oil capsules. Use breathing techniques, balancing essential oils, exercise.
We are made for physical movement; to optimize our performance we need to move many times during the day. This will balance hormones, sleep, digestion, mental clarity and moods. MOVE MOVE MOVE!!!
Posted in Energetics, Lifestyle, Personal development, Stress, Wellness
Tagged breathing, diary, digestion, exercise, flow, hormones, movement, pattern, performance, Rhythm, sleep, Stress, tension, time management
Stress eats us alive and we don’t even notice it. Our warning-systems have been working overtime for so long, we don’t hear them anymore. A stressed animal tends to move continuously and endlessly in the same pattern without too much awareness of its surroundings. People find this horrible to watch; at the zoo for example. Little do we realize that we react much in the same way.
The pattern needs to be broken, and I will present you with some fast, easy and basic ways of doing this:
Do something nice; take a walk in the park or around the block, put on some music and dance. These activities create a positive hormonal reaction in the brain and you will feel that the air around you gets slightly less dense and the cobwebs in your brain lighten up a bit.
Keep it short and easy so it is do-able. You will find that this takes only a small portion of your time while releasing you from some of the stress.
Find a quiet spot where you can relax for a little while. Again; keep it short and easy.
Depending on where you are: Either lie or sit comfortably with your eyes closed. Concentrate on your breathing and feel it slowing down and deepening. You want to breath all the way down in your abdomen. If your thoughts start wandering, allow them, but don’t get caught up. Just watch the thoughts as though they are detached from you, like being at the movies. Or you could create beautiful and relaxing visualizations for yourself.
Set an alarm for 10 min so you can truly relax, knowing that there is a limit and you don’t need to check the time. Remember to also cover yourself with a blanket or put on a sweater since circulation slows in relaxation and you don’t want to feel cold.
3) Thought-patterns and emotion
First question: Is this really important right now? Can I do anything about this right now?
If the answer is no; let it go and concentrate on what is important here & now.
One of the strongest emotions that hits us in times of stress is anguish and fear. Usually these feelings are accompanied by thoughts of what should have been done, what has not been done, what can go wrong and why.
The only way to handle this is by reconstructing the thought-patterns as above. Classify the ifs and hows in order of importance, do some little thing that will make a difference right now and take a walk or relax.
I use the notion of “normalizing activities”: This is an activity that gives a sense of achievement without creating stress = de-stressing. (One of the most important “healers” when stressed is the feeling of achievement; a job well done. This will immediately lower the pressure in our system, creating the positive hormonal reaction in the brain.)
Normalizing activities can be: Cooking, sewing, ironing, gardening, cleaning, sorting…anything that is done with ease and gives a sense of accomplishment. Don’t choose something you hate, but you do not need to love it either.
What I call positive hormonal reaction in the brain is a kind of reward-system; relaxation and peace. Amongst these hormones are: serotonine, endorphine, oxytocine.
On the “action”-side are adrenaline and cortisole amongst others. They are the “kickers” that make things happen. These chemicals need to be “used up” by movement. If not, they create an imbalance that we know as stress. Another way to disperse these chemicals are by massage.
Avicenna (Abu Ali Sina Balkhi 980-1037) was a Persan physician and philosopher. “The book of healing” and “The canon of medicine” were his best known written works. In “The canon of medicine” he writes:
“Massage is used to disperse matter that was not dispersed by movement.
He knew his business and nothing is new under the sun