Tag Archives: muscle

A NEW HEALTHY LIFE-STYLE – EXERCISE

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.

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CHAMOMILE

There are mainly 2 different chamomiles used in aromatherapy: German or “blue” chamomile and Roman chamomile.

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita): An annual aromatic plant, up to 60 cm high. It has a branching stem, feathery leaves and simple white flowers with a yellow center. It is native to Europe, but is now naturalized in North America and Australia. It is mainly cultivated in Hungary and eastern Europe where most of the oil is produced. All over Europe it can be found growing along fields and road-sides. The name “German” comes from earlier days when Germany was its main producer. It is often called Blue chamomile thanks to its deep blue-green color due to the chemical chamazulen. Chamazulen is not present in the fresh flower, it is only produced during the distillation process. The oil comes from steam-distillation of the flower heads.

It has a long tradition as a medicinal herb for all kinds of tension and for its anti-inflammatory properties. Usually it has been used in the form of tea or infusion. The scent is herbaceous with a fruity tinge.

USES:

  • SKIN: All kinds of inflammation; Acne, boils, dermatitis, eczema, inflammations, insect bites.
  • MUSCLE: Anti-inflammatory; rheumatism, inflamed joints, aches and pains, neuralgia, fibromyalgia.
  • EMOTION: Calming and relaxing to the nervous system; Headaches, insomnia, nervous tension, stress.
  • STOMACH: Anti-inflammatory and calming; Colic, indigestion and nausea. (Massage, tea & infusion)

This is a safe oil to use for children, elderly and weak individuals. Remember to keep the dosage down. The oil will stain both skin and materials.

Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile): A small perennial plant, up to 25 cm high with a branched hairy stem, feathery leaves and white flowers with yellow centers, the flowers are larger than those of German chamomile. The whole plant spreads in a creeping manner and has an apple-like scent. It is native to southern and western Europe, now naturalized in North America. It is cultivated in England, Belgium, Hungary, USA, Italy and France. The oil comes from steam-distillation of the flower heads, the scent is warm, sweet and herbaceous.

It has been used as a medicinal plant for at least 2000 years, especially in the Mediterranean area. The ancient Egyptians made note of it, as did the Romans. The ancient Greeks called it earth-apple (kamai – earth +melon – apple) which later turned into chamameleum.

USES:

It is used much in the same way as German chamomile, being calming, anti-inflammatory, hypnotic and a nerve sedative. The roman chamomile has a different, more profound calming action than the German C. According to Dr’s Franchomme & Penoel, Roman chamomile is useful as a calming agent before operations.

This oil is safe to use for children, elderly and weak individuals. Remember; lower dosage. Excellent oil for babies suffering from colic.

Experience: I have had great use of Roman chamomile for my children when they have suffered from stomach-ache or anxiety. Colic: Blend 1 drop in 5ml vegetable oil, rub on tummy (clockwise) cover with a warming pad, lay against shoulder and rock baby gently. The oil, soothing motion and the massage that is given by the rubbing against the shoulder usually helps baby to calm down.

German chamomile is brilliant as an anti-inflammatory for most skin-problems, even eczema. Just pay attention to dosage. I find the scent reviving though calming. I have used it with great success for horses; both emotionally and as a healing agent for wounds.

CARE: health-professionals and aromatherapy

Over the years I have held training courses and workshops on aromatherapy for health-professionals. Mind you, this is not “true” aromatherapy which is individual-based, but the essential oils can be useful in many different areas such as stress-management, care for the elderly, hospice, handicap, physiotherapy and much more. I create safe blends to be used in different areas and I train existing health-care professionals in how, when and why to use them. Very often this small addition to already existing practices gives huge results.

Care of the elderly (usually in old people’s homes); EO-blends help with a wide array of problems; fear, insecurity, stress, circulatory problems and appetite.

Handicapped (also intellectual): Stress, fear, confusion, mood-swings and comfort. If the individual is in a wheel-chair EO-blends help with different physical problems such as head-aches, muscle-tension and circulation.

Massage-therapists: Gives an added touch to the massage.

Physiotherapists: Blends help with respiratory problems, circulation, muscles, emotion and rehabilitation.

Hospice: Smoothing the transition to accept the end of life and giving comfort to the individual.  This work also includes those near and dear to the sufferer.

Another area where I work with EO-blends is for health-professionals themselves. People who are constantly working with others, especially in demanding situations such as with elderly, handicapped or the dying, are very often taxed both physically and emotionally. To be able to do this work they need to stay balanced and healthy and the best way is to make sure that they pay attention to their personal needs and learn to recognize signals of stress or exhaustion. We all need to learn to pay attention to ourselves and review our personal status every now and then, especially if we work with others or with people who are suffering in some way. The only way we can be truly “useful” to our fellow beings is by staying whole ourselves.

CYPRESS

For the past week or so this oil has been popping up so now you will have its profile:

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is a tall evergreen tree with slender branches and a conical shape. It carries small flowers and round cones or nuts. It has a long history of medicinal use and is native to the eastern mediterranean area where it grows wild. Most cultivation is done in France, Spain and Morocco. It has given its name to the island of Cyprus.

The name sempervirens means ever green – eternal life – and the tree is often planted in cemeteries. The Egyptians and Romans dedicated the tree to the gods of death and afterlife as it was believed to help the transition of the soul, and coffins were manufactured from the wood. Legend has it that the cross of Christ was made of cypress.

Medicinally it was used by ancient civilizations as a purifying incense, and still is in Tibet. It was known to benefit the urinary system, being warming and drying in nature. The Chinese use the nuts as a nutritious food to help the liver.

The essential oil comes from distilling the needles and twigs. The scent is smoky, green, woody and balsamic.

Uses:

  • Skin: Oily skin and hair. Bleeding gums. Excessive perspiration.
  • Circulation: It is decongestant and astringent and can help with cellulite, varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Use it for oedema (water-retention) and poor circulation.
  • Muscles: Cramps, rheumatism, arthritis. Can help bring down swelling.
  • Respiratory: Coughs and bronchitis.
  • Helpful for menopausal problems. (Transition)
  • Nervous system: Weakness, irritation, stress, anxiety and nervous tension.
  • Emotional: As a help in transitions; It gives us stability to handle death, loss, change and separation. The deeply stabilizing emotional properties of cypress can be of help when there is insecurity and fear.

Experience: When I have gone through big changes in life I have had much use of this oil to keep me “on track”. Changes always involve fear and/or insecurities which can become debilitating unless addressed. It has helped me to stay focused and calm when I feel that I am in the middle of turbulence. The warming nature of the oil gives a feeling of safety and the stimulating properties help me to go forward.

“MELTDOWN” training/diet

Now I will tell you about this training/diet program I am following. I chose to do it for my health; I want to stay strong, lean and fit so I can better enjoy my life. I know it’s only up to me, so when I was offered this chance, I grabbed it to “kick-start” myself. Many people found it strange that I would start such a hard-core program on the first of January, others think it’s crazy to invest so much energy, but this is something I do for myself, a measure of how much I value myself. I am prepared to take 30 days and totally concentrate them on me. It is also about motivation and self-control, I need to know that I am creating my life, that it is not “just happening to me”.

The program is called “Meltdown” and is put together by London-based personal trainer/coach Dax Moy. You can find him and his work on this link:

http://www.londonpersonaltrainingstudio.com

The program runs for 30 days, every day, and consists of 2 parts:

  • The Elimination Diet (ED) which can be downloaded free from above link.
  • The training program: Every day without fail you train 4 times/day for an average of 15-20 min./session. Every 5 days the program is changed to maximize the results. The exercises are all different, targeting every muscle in your body.

While I am on this program I receive all the information I need via internet. Also what nutritional aids I need to take, when to tweak my diet and why and some pep-talks. The information on new exercises are done both in writing and with pictures/movies. Very detailed and very clear.

I am now doing the 12th day of this program and I am feeling fantastic, energized but also tired. I can feel a dip. What is amazing about this is the awareness it creates about body and mind. I feel more balanced than since….I can’t even remember (and I am quite a balanced person).

In the last post I talked about soreness and stiffness. Well, that has all passed some time back, but training every day has left my muscles slightly tired and sensitive, so I have made a new oil that I now use before training:

  • Rosemary (rosmarinus officinalis) 15 dr
  • Lemongrass (cymbopogon citratus)  15 dr
  • Ginger (zingiber officinalis) 15 dr

Blended in 30 ml vegetable oil. Again, this is a strong dosage, and it is good to do the sensitivity-test before using. This blend helps with circulation and warmth (ginger) since I tend to easily feel cold (especially now – what is with this arctic winter!!!) I also take magnesium to help with the energy metabolism and muscle function as it eliminates acids from muscles.

Other nutrients during this 30 day “ordeal” 🙂 are: Multivitamin, omega-3, zinc, barley-grass and chlorella. I also make sure that when I buy my food, I look for the best, most nutritious I can find.