tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:/posts Fitness for Life 2016-12-19T14:00:05Z tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1116528 2016-12-19T14:00:05Z 2016-12-19T14:00:05Z Hydration and the Heart Attack Connection

December 19, 2016

Dr. Virend Somers is a Cardiologist from the Mayo Clinic and the lead

author of a report in the July 29, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. His research found that heart attacks can be triggered by dehydration. He has determined that there are certain times to hydrate during the day that maximize the effectiveness in our bodies. 

2 glasses of water after waking up - helps activate internal organs.

1 glass of water 30 minutes before a meal - helps digestion.

1 glass of water before taking a bath - helps lower blood pressure.

1 glass of water before going to bed - avoids stroke or heart attack.

Did you know ….water at bed time helps prevent night time leg cramps? These cramps are caused by our leg muscles seeking hydration. Drinking too much water late in the evening can cause some inconveniences. This happens because lying down brings your lower body 

(legs ect…)  level with your kidneys. Your kidneys then begin the process of removing the excess water in your system helping to flush toxins out of your body.  Inconvenient? Maybe not so much after all!

tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1111262 2016-11-28T14:00:05Z 2016-11-28T14:00:05Z Website Grand Opening

November 28, 2016

    I love to be active and believe this is what makes life worth living. My goal is to provide the vitality and physical well being that energizes and inspires others. The studio is built around what my clients need and want. As a visitor I want you to know what we offer while you are in Cambria. Drop in classes you can attend while spending time in our small community.  Our website offers ongoing events, cost and descriptions of events and classes, activities exercise related one can explore while visiting Cambria and who i am and what I believe in. This is just the beginning... we will be adding other things to do exercise related while visiting the Central Coast. We are a small studio offering an intimate experience. It’s one of those few businesses where you can be on the front line of changing peoples’ lives. I believe that the best gym is the one you want to keep going back to. 

 My website http://fitnessforlifecambria.com

tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1107870 2016-11-14T14:00:04Z 2016-11-14T14:00:04Z Good Posture Begins with Your Feet
November 14, 2016

    With strong posture the body aligns itself over the feet to  provide incredible stability. This is how healthy movement begins. Just like the foundation of a building must be stable to support walls and a roof, the feet must be stable to support the legs, torso, spine and head. If your feet are weak, they are unstable. When the feet become misaligned  the ankles, knees, hips, back, and shoulders follow. Misalignment creates dysfunctional movement which causes pain and injury. 
    By performing these exercises you will help strengthen the essential muscles of your foot and leg, you will challenge postural muscles, and train your foot and lower leg to stabilize. By doing these exercises 3 times a week for 8 weeks and adding them to your weekly exercise regime you can  help to maintain healthy movement for your entire body.

 Single Leg Stand

    Stand on each foot for one minute. Try to keep the inside ball, outside ball, and heel of the foot in contact with the ground for the entire minute. Do not use your opposite leg to stabilize.

Single Leg Stand on Unstable Surface
    Stand on a stability disc with each foot for one minute. Again remember not to use your opposite leg to stabilize.

Heal Raise

    Standing with your forefoot on a platform, press through the ball of your foot lifting your heel as high as you can. Then drop our heel making sure as you press, you don’t roll to the outside of the foot. Do 2-3 sets of 12-15

Foot Circles 
     From a seated or standing position, clench your toes and do 30 circles in each direction 10 times.
tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1103506 2016-10-31T13:00:03Z 2016-10-31T20:46:54Z Celebrating Thanksgiving in a Healthy Way

October 31, 2016

      Those daily chores aren't so hard anymore. You're seeing the benefits of additional walking and workouts. You've been working hard at watching what you eat with all those fruits, vegetables whole grains and healthy carbs. You have more energy, you've lost some weight and you just feel better over all. Now it's time to think about Thanksgiving!!!

     I love this time of year especially because it's an opportunity to get together with family and friends. But there's also the risk that all the food and sitting around, starting at Thanksgiving and culminating after New Year's, can send us back to where we started in terms of fitness and diet. Can the holidays also include the blessing of health and wellness? Of course! So how do you get through it without sabotaging all the hard work you've already done?

Affirmations and Goals

      Let's say you're walking 10,000 steps everyday. How many are you going to take on Thanksgiving Day? Christmas Day? New Year's Day? First and foremost take time for yourself. Your workout is well deserved. It replenishes your reserve and helps give you the energy to do those additional things that are needed for the holidays. Go for a long walk and invite your company to come along or go alone. Reflect on how far you've come:

- You have set a goal and are working toward achieving that goal every day. 
- You have found personal weaknesses and overcome them. 
- You have found personal strengths and admired them. 
- You have  been making your health, fitness and mind the priority! Part of celebrating life is giving yourself the best things possible.

   Here are 4 dietary goals that are very doable for Thanksgiving that would benefit anyone.

- Eat at least one vegetable a day
- Eat at least one fruit a day 
- Eat breakfast every day 
- You get to splurge on Thursday but stay within your calorie range all other days
   Appreciate the Time Together

    Yes, Thanksgiving can throw a curve ball when it comes to exercise and fitness. But it can also be a challenge emotionally too. Gratitude is all about appreciating the things you have, everyday. Thanksgiving is one of a few special days when we get together over a special meal. Sharing conversation, stories and connections about family with the next generation. It's about spending time with loved ones appreciating and accepting them completely, no matter what their quirks are. We so often take people for granted only to miss them as soon as they have left. Many times loved ones leave and we wish we’d told them how much they mean to us. These connections to friends and family make us feel loved and connected.

Be Grateful

      I am grateful that I have a healthy body, an active mind and an understanding that this is truly a temporary state. As we age these things we take for granted change dramatically. Our bodies don't work like they use to. We have aches and pains in places we never used to and our digestive system gets cranky when we eat out of it's usual routine.

 Be Thankful

    The wonderful smell of the ocean air as I walk on Fiscalini Ranch or the blowing wind as I ride my bike along the coastline are to be enjoyed for this moment. There will come a time when I can no longer walk the two miles across the ranch or lift my leg to hop on my bicycle for a Sunday morning ride. It's about being grateful for what I have. Being mindful that there are many who have less. It's about appreciating those who hold a special place in my life and making sure that they know it. 

    By taking care of yourself emotionally and physically you are giving your family a real gift. These changes you've made are now a lifestyle, so share that lifestyle with those you love.



tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1099258 2016-10-17T13:00:00Z 2016-10-17T13:00:06Z Do You Know How to Do a Proper Body Weight Squat?
October 17, 2016
     Can you do a body weight squat? If so is it a PROPER bodyweight squat? So now are you wondering what the difference is? Let me educate you... Don’t worry, it won't hurt your legs. These helpful suggestions will make your body feel good, and you’ll truly understand what a squat is.
Is Your Stance too Wide or too Narrow

    Genetically we are all different sizes and shapes with longer or shorter legs and torsos. But..there are some key points we can all follow.
When you stand too wide or too narrow your squat suffers because you cannot get low enough and your balance is then compromised. A big part of this is individual hip mobility – sometimes our bodies can’t get as low as we should be able to. So if you set your feet shoulder width apart and turn them slightly out you can get the best depth for your personal best. 

Are Your knees Tracking Over Your Feet

     If you drew a line from your heel to your toe, and extended that line in both directions your knees should bend and flex over that line. If the knees collapse inwards you will be putting a lot of stress on your knees. Your knee is supposed to be a hinge. Putting sideways stress on your knee is a bit like hanging off of a swinging door. Sure, you could do it, but it wasn't built to handle that kind of pressure. Start by turning your kneecaps out so that they are tracking right over your feet. Think "knees out." Think about your knees like a headlamp facing straight ahead.
Are You Squatting Deep Enough

     Squating is used in daily life when we get into a sit to stand position, lift up a small child or put our shoes on. A body squat position means getting your upper thighs parallel to the ground while sticking your bottom out like your getting ready to sit in a chair. 
Getting beyond parallel with your squat is better for your body because you get more muscle building activation with your flexed knees. In the long run this provides stronger more stable knees. The ability to squat deep is an indicator of the quality of overall movement in your lower body.

Is Your Back Straight and Core Tight

    When I say straight I mean that the natural curvature of your spine is held tightly throughout the squat. By keeping your chest up and tummy tight (think belly button to spine)  your back will be in the correct position as well as your core. 

Are You on Your Toes

    By keeping your feet firmly planted on the ground you are insuring you will maintain your balance while squatting. Stay back on your heels and push through them as if you are pushing the floor away from you when you squat.

    Strong legs are important for staying mobile as you get older, and squats are great for increasing leg strength. In addition your core and stabilizing muscles get stronger too. These stronger muscles help to maintain balance which help to prevent falls. Full body squats load the spine and have been found to significantly increase bone mineral density providing protection against fractures and osteoporosis. 

tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1095225 2016-10-03T23:01:00Z 2016-10-03T13:00:04Z Body Composition and Your Health
October, 3, 2016

     What does the number on the weight scale really mean? In regard to overall health, weight is not nearly as important as the composition of that weight. More important, rather than tracking weight, we should be aware of our body composition. Stepping on a weight scale tells us the combined weight of all our body’s tissues.

    How can you determine your body composition? Body composition can be estimated through various techniques. Common methods of exploring the levels of adiposity include body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI). The results from your body composition assessment can be used to identify risks, personalize your exercise program or evaluate how well your current exercise and nutrition program is working for you.

Body Fat Percentage

    Body Fat Percentage is how much of your body is composed of fat (adipose tissue) and how much of your body is composed of muscle, bone, internal organs, skin, tissue, hair, etc.There are various methods such as Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA), Infrared Analysis on the Bicep and Skin Fold Calipers.  One variable that you need to take into consideration is that all of these tests do have a standard of error.

Body Mass Index

   Body mass index or  BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women. BMI is used as a screening tool to identify possible weight problems for adults. If your BMI is high, you may have an increased risk of developing certain diseases including: high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and blood lipids (LDL) -Type 2 Diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, female infertility, gastroesophageal reflux (GERD)  and urinary stress incontinence. The reason BMI is used for screening the health of the general population is due to the strong correlation between being overweight or obese and having health problems, chronic disease and premature death. 

Types of Fat

    There are two types: subcutaneous and visceral. Visceral fat is more quickly stored and more easily burned. This is because being deeper in the body it has a greater blood supply and is more sensitive to the fat burning catecholamines than in subcutaneous fat. It is located in the abdomen and surrounds your vital organs. It can infiltrate the liver and other organs, streak through your muscles and even strangle your heart; you can have it even if your thin. Visceral fat is linked to everything from bad cholesterol and hypertension to diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
    Subcutaneous fat is the type found just underneath the skin, which may cause dimpling and cellulite. The belly fat is stored when the combination of excess calories meets the hormonal influence of cortisol and insulin. This is important to understand because those losing weight and counting calories may find that the fat around their belly seems to burn off at a much slower rate. This is because belly fat is as much a hormonal phenomenon as it is a caloric one.
    Eating a well-balanced diet.... a diet high in whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein in measured portions sets anyone up to be successful for gradual weight loss. The safe recommended amount is  1-2 pounds per week. Include plenty of sleep, minimal stress and plenty of exercise and you can become healthier person !


tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1088087 2016-09-12T13:00:04Z 2016-09-12T14:44:37Z Vitamins for Anti-Aging
 September 12, 2016

     As we age we all know our tissues breakdown this is something we cannot escape. But, we can slow down the process of brittle bones, creaky joints, weak nails and saggy skin by following a health active lifestyle. Taking certain supplements can also be a good way to hold off the effects of aging and help reduce those fine lines, wrinkles, thinning hair and encourage health bones and joints. These ingredients can help...


    Biotin is water soluable and one of the B complex vitamins required for the formation of glucose and fatty acids, and for the metabolising of amino acids and carbohydrates. Biotin is needed to maintain healthy hair, nails, skin, sweat glands, nerves, bone marrow, and normal bone growth.  It is recommended that it is taken with a B complex. No RDA has been established in the US but daily dosages of 30 to 100 micrograms (mcg) are recommended.

Calcium with Vitamin D

    Wrinkles and sagging may be contributed to the bones in your face deteriorating. Doctors believe that these bones are like the foundation of a house and your skin is like the house itself; when the foundation starts to shift and crumble, the house will begin to do the same. In addition, calcium works with your skin to generate sebum and those who don’t have enough calcium in their skin end up with dry skin due to lack of sebum.  
     The body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium.They work as a team so that the calcium can be absorbed in the gut. Without enough vitamin D our bodies can’t form enough of the hormone calcitriol (known as the “active vitamin D”). Without Calcitron our bodies don't sufficiently absorb the calcium needed from our diets. When this happens  the body takes calcium from its stores in the skeleton, which weakens existing bone and prevents the formation of strong, new bone. Safe recommended daily amounts are 1,000mg of calcium and 2,000IU of D.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin

     Glucosamine is a substance that is extracted from the shells of crabs, lobsters and shrimps. It is also found in many plants. Your body uses glucosamine as a nutrient that strengthens the connective tissues in your joints, hair, skin and nails. These two supplements also support the structure of elasticity of joints and have been show to reduce pain and increase joint mobility in people with osteoarthritis. When applied to the skin, glucosamine helps stimulate the cellular renewal process helping to remove and replace old, dead and wrinkled skin with fresh and healthy skin. 

tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1081212 2016-08-29T13:00:00Z 2016-08-29T19:00:03Z Cold or Heat for Muscle Soreness

August 29, 2016

    After a three day hike and thirty mile backpacking trip I had sore muscles everywhere. I started thinking about hot and cold treatments to help alleviate some of my discomfort and wondered which would be the best choice and why. My research gave me several options and choices. Let's start from the beginning.... creating the soreness. When we push ourselves much harder than usual we often cause  delayed-onset-muscle soreness or DOMS. DOMS typically starts the day after exertion and usually peaks on the second or third day after exercise. Two of the simplest ways to relieve this soreness is by applying heat and cold.  I wondered which one would be the best for my situation and here is what I found.

Cold Therapy

    When an injury or inflammation occurs tissues are damaged. Cold temperatures reduce nerve-cell activity while constricting blood vessels easing the swelling which can reduce pain, inflammation, bleeding and tenderness. For muscle soreness cold therapy works better than heat if applied within 24 hours after exercise has stopped. There are two types of cold packs that are very effective for this purpose.  Dampen a towel with cold water fold it and place it in a sealed plastic bag. Place the bag in the freezer for 15 minutes and then place it on the affected area. Do this 15-20 minutes 3 times a day for 48 hours. Another option is to fill a plastic bag with ice cubes or a package of frozen corn or peas wrap them in a cold towel and apply to the affected area. Placing ice directly on the skin is not recommended.  RICE which is an abbreviation for Rest-Ice-Compress-Elevate is usually recommended immediately after an injury.

Heat Therapy

    Use heat to soothe chronic pain that comes and goes over time (like lower back, neck or hamstrings) to relax tight muscles. It brings more blood to the area where it's applied and increases circulation as well as loosens the muscles which reduces joint stiffness and muscle spasms. Heat should not be used for the first 48 hours following an injury and it is recommended that one applies heat after the acute pain has passed. A specific type of heat therapy may feel better for one person than for another, requiring some experimentation when figuring out which one works best for you. There are a few ways one can apply heat. Hot water bottles, heating pads, gel packs and heat wraps are just a few. Hot water bottles tend to stay warm for 20 to 30 minutes.  Electric Heating pads maintain a constant level of heat as long as they are plugged in, a heated gel pack will stay warm for about 30 minutes and heat wraps around the the lower back and waist can be worn against the skin and under clothing for a low level of heat for several hours. Placing the heating element on the designated area for 15-20 minutes 3 times a day for as many days as needed as long as you feel pain or discomfort is what is recommended. Before treating with heat, consult a health professional if you have a skin condition, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, poor circulation or a vascular disease.

    Muscle aches are not always harmless, and in some instances home treatment isn’t enough to address the underlying cause. If that is the case then an appointment with your physician may be your next step. 

    Well, I've figured out what I need to do and I hope this helps you figure out what the best treatment for your muscle soreness is too.

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1081186 2016-08-15T13:00:08Z 2016-08-15T13:00:08Z Is Hydration Necessary to our Overall Health?

    August 15, 2016

       Your body depends on water for survival. Every cell, tissue and organ needs water to function correctly. Your body uses water to maintain its temperature, remove waste and lubricate joints. It makes up a large percentage of blood, the life giving red liquid that brings oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. Vital processes, like your immune system, depend on it. Every day we lose water when we sweat, urinate and even breathe. When the weather is hot we lose water even faster. 

      We are made up of about 60 percent water. The lungs are 90 percent water, the brain is 70 percent and our blood is more than 80 percent. Thirst begins after we are mildly dehydrated. That means we shouldn't wait until we're thirsty to begin hydrating. Studies on dehydration and the  body indicate that deficits in coordination, work capacity and mental sharpness begin when we are at least 1 percent dehydrated. 

    Dehydration and Its Effects

       July, August and September are the hottest months of the year in California. If you’re not properly hydrated you may experience fatigue, muscle cramps, dizziness or more serious symptoms. Many of us remember to drink water only after our bodies are already dehydrated. A simple way to detect this is through the color of our urine. Dark yellow or amber color is a sign of dehydration.

       Our kidneys function more efficiently when there is plenty of water in our bodies. If the kidneys have to economize on water, more energy is needed for the kidneys to function and that results in wear and tear on their tissues. This occurs when the kidneys are under stress or when the diet contains excessive amounts of salt or toxic substances that need to be eliminated. Dehydration also inhibits the effectiveness of our lymphatic system and allows cellular waste products to linger and create inflammation issues. It reduces the overall volume of blood and lymphatic fluids that are integral in a healthy immune system response. 

       Over time dehydration can cause central nervous system diseases such as vascular disorders, Parkinson's, muscular sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Huntington's disease, periphrial neuropathy, Alzheimer's and urinary tract infection. In extreme cases this can create confusion that is sometimes misinterpreted as dementia.The good news is eating lots of fruits and vegetables can help with those hydration issues. Iceberg and romaine lettuce, kale, mustard greens, cabbage, spinach, carrots and red tomatoes; melons, coconut, grapefruit, cucumbers, pears, strawberries, apples, blueberries and mangoes are loaded with water.

    How Much Should You Drink?

       The Institute of Medicine determined that an adequate intake for men is roughly 13 cups of total beverages a day. For women it is about 9 cups. This includes fruit juices and herbal teas.

       When thinking about exercising and water intake there are no set guidelines. Heat, humidity, intensity and duration are all factors to consider. The American Council on Fitness recommends these basic water intake guidelines for people doing moderate-to-high intensity exercise:

    17 to 20 ounces of water 2 to 3 hours before you start exercising

    8 ounces of water 20 to 30 minutes before you start exercising or during your warm-up

    7 to 10 ounces of water every 10 to 20 minutes during exercise

    8 ounces of water no more than 30 minutes after you exercise


    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1075931 2016-08-01T13:00:00Z 2016-08-01T13:00:02Z 15 Minute Mini Workout

    August 1, 2016

        It's summertime and most of us are spending the long days enjoying BBQ's with family and friends and vacations. These usually include camping, airplane flights and long car trips. Needless to say we are out of a routine and skipping workouts more frequently. Here is a short routine anyone can do anywhere to help you continue to stay active. 

       Complete each of these 3 exercises for one minute each with a 30 second rest at the end of each of the exercises. Repeat each exercise 3 more times for a total of 15 minutes. Don't forget  to take a few minutes to warm-up and cool-down.

    Fast Feet with a Side to Side Lunge

       Start by running your feet quickly in one spot 5x, step or hop to the side bending that knee in a side lunge and reach towards or touch your foot with the opposite hand. Return back to the center and complete another 5 fast feet and then jump or step to the other side and reach towards or touch your opposite foot. Continue for 1 minute.

    Squat Elbows to Knees

        Keep your knee caps pointing in the same direction of your toes and your feet shoulder or hip width apart. Squat down to a comfortable position reaching your elbows towards your knees and touch them. Return to the start and reach to the sky lifting your heels off the ground up on your toes. Maintaining an elongated spine keeping your core active and strong. Continue for 1 minute.

    Push-Ups With Rotation

        Lie on your stomach. Position your hands on the floor a few inches beside your shoulder. Make sure that your elbows are directly over top or to the inside of your wrists. Keep your abdominals contracted and your back in its neutral position. Now slowly push up from knees or toes. Once at the upper extended position, come down on both elbows and slowly lift one arm and rotate and reach that elbow to the ceiling.  If you need to drop the bottom knee for support. Return the hand back to the ground and repeat the reach rotating to the other side. Come back to  plank by raising your body up on elbows or hands for another push up. Continue for 1 minute. By placing your hands on an incline like a bench or step you will have an easier option.

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1073392 2016-07-19T13:00:00Z 2016-07-19T13:00:07Z Bone Health As We Age

    July 19, 2016

        I recently had a dexa or bone density scan. To my surprise I had gained 1% more density in my spine than last year making this a total of 3% in the past 3 years. In the next 10 years the chance of a major fracture dropped from 15% to 7% and my risk for a hip fracture dropped from 2% to 1%. I do lift weights, walk and cycle regularly and I wondered if my new regime of lifting heavier and eating more calcium rich foods as well as taking Vitamin D contributed to this increase.

        I shared this with one of my clients and friend Laurie Mileur.  Laurie is a registered dietician(RD) and retired research professor from the University of Utah Hospitals and Clinics she is well equipped to help me understand the specifics about this increase. I asked Laurie to share some of this information with my readers and she was kind enough to give us all a great explanation!

       Bone health is essential for maintaining an active lifestyle as we age. It is a living organ that adapts throughout our lives depending on our age, gender, diet, and level of physical activity. There is little we can do about our age or gender, but with diet and physical activity we can help maintain or even improve our bone health even as we age. 

        As a Registered Dietitian (RD) she is well-versed in the US Dietary Guidelines. She understands how to optimize a person's diet to meet their needs for the bone nutrients calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium from the foods while calcium and phosphorus are the major minerals that form and maintain our bone structure. A healthy, strong bone structure, however, does require more than just eating a diet rich in bone nutrients. 

        Weight-bearing physical activity is key to maintaining or improving bone health at any age. Even as we get older bone adapts to the force exerted on it by muscles and gravity during weight-bearing movement. This means we can maintain strong, healthy bones if we also maintain our muscle strength and function through weight-bearing activities. These include walking, running, hiking, dancing, and strength-training. These activities improve balance and increase both muscle and bone strength. Studies have shown that muscle and bone strength are much lower in people who regularly engage in activities that don't require weight-bearing activities such as swimming and cycling. Therefore weight-bearing activities should be incorporated into your fitness program at least 2-3 times per week.

    How do you know if your bones are healthy?

       Bone health and strength is determined by measuring bone density. Bone density is a measure of the amount of calcium and other nutrients In a segment of bone. The spine, hip, and wrist are the most frequent sites of fracture these are the bone segments routinely measured for bone density.  A bone segment with a higher density is stronger and less prone to fracture than a bone segment with a lower density. Lower bone density may be classified as osteopenia or osteoporosis and osteoporosis is associated with a higher risk for fracture. A  bone density test is recommended at age 65 for women and age 70 for men. Your healthcare provider usually determines when this is needed.


       Bone health is essential for an active lifestyle as we get older. Weight-bearing exercise and strength-training in combination with a balanced diet are key to helping us maintain or improve our bone health and prevent fractures. Don't hesitate to meet with a registered dietitian if you have questions about your diet or schedule an appointment with a personal trainer to develop the right fitness plan for bone health.

       For more information Laurie can be contacted on Facebook at DrLaurieM or www.drlauriem.com or by mail: drlalaur@me.com

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1069397 2016-07-04T12:45:41Z 2016-07-04T16:36:02Z Similarities of Challenges On The Trail and Real Life

    July 4, 2016

        A couple of years ago my boyfriend and I backpacked 25 miles in 3 days in Yosemite. Although I consider it a relatively comfortable hike, the days revealed some interesting insights on how I deal with uncomfortable situations. This year we will be taking another hike up to the Yosemite area it will be interesting to see how I've grown and changed this time around!

       Hiking is a mindful, focused, present activity - to be taken one step at a time, especially when descending a steep trail or ascending a big hill.

       Life itself is a series of challenges whether large or small. How do we respond to daily life? Do we panic easily and become frantic or stay positive and energetic? Do we make small problems big or make big problems small and dissolve them into nothing? How we face the normal events of each day is generally how we will face the bigger challenges. 

       On the first day we started on the west end of Yosemite Valley and headed up the Pohono trail which was straight up for about 7 miles. It was hot and my backpack seemed heavier than last year. The excitement I had before our adventure now turned into me wondering about my endurance. The heavy pack seemed to make me a bit unstable and I found myself compensating for my equilibrium. Life sometimes gives us these same challenges. The excitement of a new job, relationship or move can all be planned to perfection but once it happens unexpected issues or things begin to occur. How we handle  these unforseen obstacles reveals alot about ourselves. 

       Do I try to repack my backback to make it more comfortable? Do I get rid of some of the weight? Do I find another route? Small persistant steps are what made the difference. It was all about finding what worked. For me, knowing that I have to keep trying until I find something that works is how I resolve the situation. And it worked out that I needed to lighten, repack and tighten some straps. Thankfully, someone was willing and able to take on more weight.

       The wonderful thing about backpacking, even a short trip like this one, is access to places that not many people attempt on a day hike. Each lookout we encountered on the south rim of Yosemite Valley was more breathtaking than the last until we reached Dewey Point, which is just astonishing. The location and views will leave you speechless. Dewey Point marked the end of our climb out of Yosemite Valley to the rim. From there it flattened out.

       We camped near the foot bridge that crosses Bridalveil Creek on the Pohono Trail. The quiet at night was wonderful. After a surprisingly good breakfast of freeze dried scramble eggs reconstituted with boiling water and some Slo Roasted coffee that Jason had put into filter paper sewed shut, we headed up the Bridalveil watershed. While the day before was strenuous with spectacular views that reminded me of my fear of heights, the second day of hiking was a little easier as we made our way through lush meadows with beautiful landscapes of wildflowers, brooks and trees. 

       We gathered water from Bridalveil Creek using a hand pump water purifier, making us truly appreciative every time we took a sip of water. Some raindrops and sandy rock facings were the challenge of the day as my hips were beginning to ache. Jason's heel was forming a nice blister and fatigue set in sooner than later. We decided to stop at Bridalveil campground for a freeze dried pea soup lunch and a picnic table to rest our tiring feet. When you get fatigued, sometimes simple problems can feel bigger than they are - a loose rock or an unsturdy bridge could have set us up for a new challenge. The unpredictability of life is often like this. Instead of just marching onward to get to our next destination as fast as possible, we both realized that more rest stops, even if brief, were what we needed. Our ability to be flexible got us to our destination injury free. We arrived at the top of Chilnualna Falls about an hour before sunset. The bonus was a light rain to lull us to sleep in our tent that night.

       The last day was all downhill for almost 5 miles, challenging our legs in a different way. The terrain included more waterfalls from Chilnualna Creek and steep rocky steps with switchback trails. The fear of heights became my companion. Trying to see the beautiful views without feeling ill was my goal. The rain from the night before brought clear blue skies and gnats galore. I swear, no matter how much repellent you use, they can detect a straight shot into your eyes. Those little annoying things that life throws at you shouldn't cloud the beauty of what the day brings. Learn to bounce back and not let these inconveniences ruin your experience. Being surrounded by the majestic mountains and beautiful waterfalls reminded me that there is so much to see and experience in my lifetime.

       We walked out of the wilderness at about noon, just in time for a lunch of a convenience store cold sandwich, chips, and a beer - it tasted as good as anything I've had at a five star restaurant!

       Getting to know myself a little better is an adventure in itself. I continue to approach issues as challenges and with some experience now under my belt it will be interesting to see how this next adventure transpires.


    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1064812 2016-06-20T12:49:15Z 2016-06-20T14:59:56Z 3 Ways You Can Stay Fit for Summer

    June 20, 2016

        Summer is here the kids are out of school we have longer days and warmer weather. This time of year can motivate us to start taking better care of our health. With the good weather people are spending more time outdoors and that extra layer of fat we all put on for the winter no longer seems to be needed. Short sleeves and bare legs make us more aware of what is needed for us to tone up. Small changes in your daily habits can help you to take better care of yourself as well as lose those extra pounds.


        Of course this would be on my list of have to's. It doesn't matter what you do just go out and do something. Walk, run, shop, hike, cycle, skate or whatever you love to do best as long as you move. Get your fitbit out of the drawer and log 10,000 steps every day. Hitting an aerobic goal of 30 minutes five times a week will help you maintain overall fitness and help speed up your metabolism contributing to maintaining your healthy weight. Add a couple of days of lifting weights and you will condition your muscles making them stronger too. 

    Eat Healthier... 
        Most of us eat more food at one sitting than our bodies need. Larger portions, to many carbohydrates not enough fruits and vegetables all help to add pounds and zap our energy. This time of year farmers markets have plenty of summer fruits and vegetables. Pick up your favorite fruits to satisfy that sugar craving or make it your evening desert. Drink an 8 oz glass of water before eating your meals this will fill you up a bit and keep you from eating more than your body really needs. Use a smaller plate and serve your fruits and vegetables first. A 4 oz portion of meat, chicken or fish is really all your body needs.


        Or go horseback riding, skiing, belly-dancing, rowing, trampolining, or hiking. Try something new or take up a hobby something you might have always wanted to try.  Hobbies have been know to lower stress levels, recharge your battery, improve your mood and your immune system. Trying something new stimulates your brain giving it a workout too. Whatever it is make sure your having fun..

    Enjoy your Summer!!

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1057512 2016-05-30T15:25:13Z 2016-05-30T15:37:05Z 6 Ways You Can Begin to Cut Sugar out of your Diet

    May 30, 2016 

       A report in The Journal of the American Medical Association just a few days ago showed that over consumption of sugar is bad for the heart. The good news is reducing your intake of sugar doesn't have to be painful.

       I'm a big believer that fitness and health changes almost always result in the feeling of getting some years back. And cutting down on a high sugar intake is one of the biggies in terms of impact. I'm also a believer that it's best to make small permanent changes than attempting something radical. Here are my top 6 ways a person can wean themselves off of sugary foods.

    [1] Take it Slowly

       Don't delete everything on the first day. Eat half a dessert, put half the amount of jelly you'd normally have on toast, cut the sugar in your coffee in half. 

       Mix sweetened and unsweetened foods together like soy milk (which is sweetened) with unsweetened soy milk. Mixing like that is a great way to cut down on your intake. Start half and half, and over time decrease the amount of the sugared food and increase the unsugared. 

       Give yourself time, like a month or two, to let these changes become how you simply do things. Your taste buds will acclimate to less and less sweetness. Choosing fresh fruit over a piece of cake will be a no-brainer.

    [2] Drink Water

       Drinking water, especially in the morning, is a healthy thing to do. And when it comes to warding off sugar cravings, water is one of your best friends. The body can confuse thirst with a sugar craving so it's easy to down a candy bar when, in fact, your body actually wanted water. Stay hydrated throughout the day and fire a preemptive strike at sugar cravings.

    [3] Make Your Own

       You may feel you don't have the time to make food but if heart health is important enough to you, you'll find you are able to make lifestyle changes and wonder why you never did it earlier. If you have a sweet tooth, learning to cook could be one of the best lifestyle changes you could make. Recipes for low and no sugar pies, cakes and desserts like these are all over the Internet. 

       One great way to wean yourself off sodas is to switch to ice tea which you make yourself. Don't feel guilty about sugaring it in the beginning but cut back on the amount you add over time. Your taste buds will adjust.

       Making your own also enables you to stay away from processed foods which often have a surprisingly high amount of sugar added. Avoid all that and, for example, make your own spaghetti sauce or your own salad dressing from olive and balsamic vinegar. Incorporate these heart healthy foods into your diet to replace those processed foods.

    [4] Eradicate One Big Source of Sugar

       Okay, I wrote "take it slowly" earlier but in this case targeting one big villain, like candy, ice cream or soda can give you a sense of a great head start. Let's say ice cream is the target. Make it off limits. Have a bad breakup, before suffering a literal heart break, and never go back. The next time you're in the grocery store and you pass by the ice cream, instead of looking at it wishing you could take some home, see it as something you used to know but it just didn't work - been there done that, you've moved on.

    [5] Eat Breakfast

       Often times the desire for sugar throughout the day is a result of not having enough fuel in the morning. Eat a healthy breakfast full of whole grains (especially oatmeal) and fruits, and it will help you turn down candy and sugary energy bars later in the day.

    [6] Exercise

       An exercise program can help you feel more invested in making healthy food changes like reducing sugar. And if you're putting in the miles walking, running, hiking, swimming or cycling you'll get the benefits of a chemical that rivals sugar (and a lot better for you) in terms of how it makes you feel: endorphins. When your body releases endorphins it gives you a good mood lift to help quell the withdrawal symptoms of sugar reduction.

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1048238 2016-05-16T13:36:34Z 2016-05-16T13:36:34Z You Are What You Eat- Easy Diet Changes that Can Effect Your Genes

    May 16, 2016

        When we think about our health and and family history we usually include the idea that our genes will ultimately determine what diseases we have or how long we live. I have always been a firm believer that a healthy diet and exercise can help to minimize diseases that certain people are bound to get just because of their genetic makeup. Epigenetic's or "control above genetics" is a recent study that is now proving this. What is Epigenetics?  It's the idea that environmental factors can change the health not only of the people who are exposed to them, but also the health of their descedents ... This theory indicates that DNA doesn't after all determine our fate. Diet and daily activity can influence how are genes are used to synthesize products in our bodies. Genes encode proteins and proteins dictate cell function. Therefore, the thousands of genes expressed in a particular cell determine what that cell can do.

        In the early 1800 and 1900's  fellow scientists Darwin, Watson and Cricket determined that our genes predicted the fate of living things. We now know that environmental signals can also trigger how genes perform. In the 1980's  the human "genome project" was created to identify and map out every gene. The idea was to create a blueprint expanding our understanding of what makes us human beings and hopefully with this information develop a genetic method to cure disease. What was discovered was that the human genome consists of under 25,000 genes. The same amount as rodents and only 1,000 more than worms. This proves that there is more to us than just our genes. Lifestyle choices, stress, emotions, thoughts and nutrition all determine whether genes become active or live dormant. By incorporating lifestyle choices like diet and exercise we can change how our genes react.

    Genes and Nutrition 

        Phytonutrient are chemicals that help protect plants from germs, fungi, bugs, and other threats. Fruits and vegetables contain phytonutrients. These phytonutrients have protective healing qualities and are found in the plants pigment. The different colors of plants contain anti-inflamitories and antioxidants that promote your genes to assist your body with oxidative stress and immunity. This oxidative stress and uncontrolled free radical production can harm our bodies immunity and self healing abilities that's why the "Rainbow Diet" is so important.

    Oxidative Stress

        Oxidative Stress occurs when our bodies use oxygen for our metabolism necessary for energy, physical activity, and breathing. This stress also results from exposure to external factors like pollution, radiation, chemicals in food and pesticide residue in foods. Photo nutrients can be an important defense for keeping stress in check. 

        Your diet is one of the easiest, fastest, and most effective ways to improve and optimize your microbiome. So the good news is that you have a great degree of control over your health destiny. Even your bone health appears to be intricately linked to your gut microbiome. Did you know that every cell regenerates itself making you physically a new person every 7-10 years. Every food choice you make is impacting that state of newness.

    "Let food be thy medicine and medicine  be thy food" Hypocrites 

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1044636 2016-05-02T13:00:00Z 2016-05-03T13:29:35Z The SLO Life Half Marathon Style

    May 3, 2016

          Another year older and another challenge. For those of you who know me well I am a goal setter and I LOVE to be outdoors. Exercise is yet one more way I can be outdoors and have fun. When a client of mine came to me last year and said she wanted to lose weight, get fit and run a 5k (3.1 miles) like she had a few years before I knew she was someone who was motivated. This  is when that goal setting is put into practice. Together we set some goals and some timelines then got to work. Three months later she was ready for her 5k the City to Sea Race in Pismo. I and a good friend of hers agreed to run with her. She beat her training time by 6 minutes. Her next goal, run the Castle to Coast  8 mile run in San Simeon in January. Again piece of cake!! What would be her next goal? Well....I of course recommended the San Luis Obispo 1/2 marathon in May. Why not said I it's only 5 more miles!  Her real challenge was just beginning. She already had a good training schedule going but continuing that with a sick husband  and our El Niño giving us plenty of rainy days she had some doubts. She bought a treadmill for home but even that wasn't getting her the miles she needed as her husband was requiring more care. As race day approached she accepted the fact that she probably wouldn't run the whole 13 miles she would however, finish the race.

      The Expectation

          When we set goal for ourselves we also set up expectations. They can drive us forward or they can hold us back. Think of this as an experience. The prize at the end is personal satisfaction and the fact that you did complete it. The runners at the start and throughout the race generally are very friendly. We made small talk while waiting to start after getting up at 4:00am to catch the bus to the High School. She began to realize she was amongst an inclusive, not exclusive, group and yes the race day had finally come. 


         All went well for her first eight miles. She learned to breath deep on the uphills and take advantage of those downhills by taking longer strides. As she continued her journey she reminded herself to enjoy the route...the  beautiful farms and views along the way. Her support friend was having knee trouble and she had to resort to walking but assured her she would be sending positive vibes the rest of the way....

         Shorty after she passed the eigth mile she "hit the wall". During training she had not been able to go further than eight miles.  Could she really do this she thought. Her legs were doing fine but she was running out of energy. Fueling her body properly now became very important if she was to finish. Her main concern, how much more could her body take? And... would it hold up for the next 5 miles?  At mile 10 it became a struggle to just put one foot in front of the other and she still had three miles to go. Her right calf started cramping adding another strain. I decided to run ahead for the last two miles understanding that the finish was her time to put everything she had practiced to the test. It took her a total of 3 hours and 45 minutes to completed her first 1/2 marathon. 

          She now saw why it was all worth it.  Something happens when you cross that finish line. The nerves are replaced with confidence. Empowerment and self satisfaction are two of the many benefits this experience gave her. The pain will be forgotten and replaced with the pride of the accomplishment. In that moment, she felt strong and invincible knowing she accomplished something she never dreamed she could have!  

        "We all have dreams, in order to make your dreams become a reality it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self discipline and effort."
    Jesse Owens-Olympic Gold Medalist Runner

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1035651 2016-04-18T14:10:17Z 2016-04-18T14:10:17Z Cycling Cambria Style
    April 17, 2016

       With Spring in full swing and warm balmy weekends ahead why not enjoy the outdoors with exercise and wine tasting appreciating our beautiful community at a slower pace.  These three popular rides around Cambria could create an amazing wine country cycling trail. Whether you ride north to Piedras Blancas Light Station, south to Cayucos, or east on Santa Rosa Creek Road you will encounter vineyards and wineries in spectacular settings. You couldn't ask for a better place to get on your bike. So, if you have never ridden these roads before here are some helpful insights. And although I love wine, on my bike I prefer to enjoy the scenery of vineyards and come back later to taste.

    Piedras Blancas Light Station

    Distance: 31 miles out & back, north on U.S. 1

       The best time to go is in the morning when U.S. 1 is relatively empty of cars. If you head out after 11:00 am, traffic and headwinds can make this beautiful trip a nightmare. Headwinds are strongest in March and April, and some times in early summer there is early morning fog. The road is in great condition because it has been recently repaved. With the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Santa Lucia Mountains on the other, it's easy to understand why some European cyclists consider the California coast to be the best place in the world for bike touring. 

       In the pastures below Hearst Castle you might see Zebras grazing, especially in February and March. They are descendents of the animals that William Randolph Hearst imported to stock his private zoo in the 1930s. In San Simeon, historic Sebastian's Cafe serves up great sandwiches using fresh local ingredients. Sometimes I like to stop here on my way back from the lighthouse station to take a relaxing lunch break. The Hearst Ranch Winery tasting room is also in Sebastian's.

       Further up the road is the Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery. The newborn seals are on the beach this time of year and are a lot of fun to watch. They can be viewed every day (even without having to get off your bike) and there is no admission fee. The Piedras Blancas Light Station is still a working lighthouse, a historical park and wildlife sanctuary offering tours and sight seeing. 


    Distance: 29 miles out & back, south on U.S. 1

       There's a big hill about 6 miles into the ride but aside from that it's fairly flat until you get back to Cambria for a final uphill approach. Like the ride north, the ride south on U.S. 1 is best done in the morning before too many motorists are out on the roads. When Cambria and Morro Bay are fogged in, this stretch of road is often clear because of the headlands. And temperatures are usually a bit warmer on this ride compared to the north.

       I love the scenery of small farms dotting the headlands and the artsy community of Harmony, population 18 (according to the sign). 
    Harmony Cellars is here, too. 

       When the road opens up to a sudden view of the ocean you're approaching Cayucos. In town you have a number of choices to enjoy an excellent dinner after your exhilarating ride. I like Windows on the Water an upscale restaurant overlooking the Bay, Boat Basin and the Morro Bay "Rock." It's on the embarcadero and dinner at sunset can be an amazing experience. You might also enjoy seeing the murals which the Cayucos Mural Society has sponsored for the past 20 years as you ride through during the day.

    Santa Rosa Creek Road

    Distance: 20 miles out & back for a relaxing ride; 32 miles out & back or in a loop for experienced cyclists.

       James Taylor could have been thinking of Santa Rosa Creek Road when he sang "I could feel it on a country road." Rolling hills, grazing cattle, chickens, produce farms, and ranches await you without much traffic. But keep your eyes open for deer, coyotes and even a mountain lion if you're lucky. The lovely Santa Rosa Creek accompanies you most of the way. Stolo Family Winery is just outside of Cambria and Linn's Original Farmstore, 5 miles out, is a perfect place for coffee and pie, and pleasant conversation. I like to stop in on the return trip. 

       When the coastal highway is foggy or chilly, Santa Rosa Creek Road is often sunny and warm. This is a ride I take easy so I usually only go about 10 miles out. But that doesn't mean it's not challenging. If you ride all the way to Highway 46 you'll have some serious elevation to contend with. Some expert cyclists favor leaving Cambria south on U.S. 1, then east on 46, and then riding down Santa Rosa Creek Road. I would strongly suggest driving the road first before attempting it on a bicycle. The road is narrow and steep with a stomach turning steep switchback -- probably not what James Taylor had in mind.

        It’s been said before the Central Coast will likely leave you breathless in more than one way.
    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1024497 2016-04-04T13:00:00Z 2016-04-06T13:00:02Z Getaways are Good for your Health...

    April 4, 2016

         I've just returned from a needed getaway with my sister and close friends. I was feeling tired, stressed, worn out and on constant overload. Symptoms that often come with the challenges of daily life. How about you? Have you been keeping your nose to the grind and feeling exhausted at the end of your day? Well.... have you thought about a getaway? Getting away from home and the daily responsibilities is not simply a luxury. There is increasing evidence that they really are necessary for good health.  A Framingham Heart Study compiled at Boston University studied a group of  men and women for a period of 20 years.This study was compiled in 1948 I would think a less stressful time then as compared to today. The question was how often do you take a vacation?  Even then those participants who took a vacation once every six years or less were almost eight times more likely to develop coronary heart disease or have a heart attack than those who took at least two vacations a year. Forget about cutting down on cholesterol and exercise —  Getting away both mentally and physically will help us unwind, relax and sleep better. Physically removing ourselves from our normal routines , iPhones and computers are a must. 

      Vacations Relieve Stress in Lasting Ways-Studies show that after a short getaway people begin averaging an hour or more of good quality sleep as well as better reaction time in their daily activities. When vacationers arrive home, they generally continue sleeping close to an hour more, and their reaction time was 30 to 40 percent higher than it had been before their trip. Consider that a bonus in addition to your trip.

    Vacations Promote Creativity- They can help us to reconnect with ourselves, operating as a vehicle for creative thinking and helping us get back to feeling our best. 

    Vacations Can Help With Your Job Performance- The psychological benefits that come with more frequent vacations lead to increased quality of life, and that can lead to increased quality of work on the job.

        Vacations Create Lasting Memories- As a child I remember annual family camping vacations. Yosemite, Canada and Arizona to mention a few all with other family members in tow ready for the next adventure and sharing all the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning and directing our daily activities. I do remember my mom, dad, aunts and uncles being more relaxed and I really enjoyed spending the time together during our family bonding, not to mention many great memories that were created on those excursions.  

         Perhaps the best evidence of the benefits of vacations is that Framingham Heart Study that revealed the long-term effects of time away  on cardiovascular health. When the study looked at the effects of vacations after only nine years they found a positive correlation between more frequent vacations and longer healthier lives. The study reported that men who skipped vacation for several years were 30 percent more likely to suffer heart attacks than those who took a vacation at least one week a year. It also revealed a risk associated with skipping just one year of vacation time. Vacations are not only enjoyable but also health promoting.

        The bottom line is that taking a good amount of time away from the stresses of daily life can give us the break we need so that we can return to our lives refreshed and better equipped to handle whatever comes.

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1016549 2016-03-21T13:00:03Z 2016-03-21T14:35:18Z March Madness and the Exercise Connection

    March 21, 2016

    March Madness refers to that time of year (usually mid-March through the beginning of April) when the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) men's and women's college basketball tournaments are held.
    Why is it madness? That term  somehow captures the excitement that swirls around the sports world as tournament time approaches. In the weeks leading up to the "Big Dance,"  hundreds of college basketball teams from all over the United States fight to earn a spot in the tournament.
      There is an interesting connection for me regarding basketball and it's relationship to exercise. The connection is that basketball programs beginning  officially in 1898 were initially introduced by a coach, James Naismith. He was a physical education teacher and he created the game to help athletes maintain their fitness during the winter months in Massachusetts. Even though basketball exploded in popularity and became a highly competitive sport, his passion was always to teach exercise and fitness.

    Playing Sports Burns Calories

       Remember the sports you played as a kid? You weren't counting calories then. It was just plain fun. No matter what it was -- basketball, tennis, volleyball, softball, etc. -- there was a fundamental joy in playing a game. For many who aren't active, the thought of lifting weights or doing the Stairmaster for an hour doesn't sound very inviting. Maybe it's time to pick up a racket, glove or ball again.

       If an organized sport like softball or basketball is your thing, Morro Bay has adult softball and soccer leagues. San Luis Obispo offers 3-on-3 basketball as well as softball, soccer and ultimate frisbee. If you'd rather not drive so far to play organized games, there's no reason you can't lace 'em up and shoot baskets on the court at the Vet's Hall parking lot. According to calorielab.com just shooting baskets for an hour burns 238 calories.

      I find it has been fun to discover a renewed interest in cycling. I ride with a Sunday morning women's group that goes informally by the name Bella Rollers. I've also ridden with the Slabtown Rollers of Cambria. They're a great group of people. Some other cycling groups are Team Medicare and The Old Farts Club. I don't have a website or Facebook page for you but if you want to find out more just drop by the Cambria Coffee Roasting Company after 10 am and start chatting with someone in a bike outfit. Hey, that's how it works in Cambria!

       Another growing sport in Cambria is pickleball. Great name -- it got me to look it up when I first heard of it. I can see it's appeal. Pickleball is like playing ping pong on a tennis court. It's gentler on the knees and body yet gets you moving. Check out the group on Facebook at: Cambria Pickleball By The Sea. They play on the home courts behind the old Cambria Grammar School. They say once you start playing it becomes addictive. 

       Speaking of tennis, the Cambria Tennis Club is a private group that accepts new members. They maintain and use the courts at the high school. The great thing about tennis is how the racket technology has made the game easier and more fun. And the Joslyn Recreation Center has sports groups, too, like the Table Tennis and Lawn Bowls clubs. 

       Oh, and there's golf. It's a game I have envisioned taking up when I have spare time. With lessons most people can play well enough to want to come back again and again to improve their game. I love the idea of walking the course, burning calories, enjoying being outside and engaging in friendly competition. We're blessed with some beautiful courses in Morro Bay and SLO that aren't too expensive and perfect for beginners.

       Go out and have fun while you exercise whether it be cycling, golfing, baseball  or pickle ball I'm sure James Naismith would approve!
    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/1002167 2016-03-07T14:00:05Z 2016-03-07T14:00:05Z Strong Hips can help prevent Knee Problems

    March 7, 2016

    If your hips aren’t stable and effectively able to stabilize your pelvis while walking, running or playing sports, your knees will suffer. 

        The knee is one of the easiest parts of the body to injure because it is used for many motions the body performs. Pain usually occurs after you exercise but sometimes sitting too long can cause knee pain as well. Pain may also occur after exercise feeling a constant ache or sharp pain that can limit your daily activities. If you've suffered from this kind of pain and are looking for ways to strengthen your knees, one effective way is to strengthen your hips through exercise. 

    By performing these exercises 2-3 days a week you can help condition your hips.

    Step Ups

       Holding a set of hand weights, stand  in front of a bench. The bench should be at a height that puts your knee at a 90 degree angle. Keep your kneecap facing forward and your weight distributed on all four corners of your foot. Place  the foot of your first leg on the bench. Stand on bench by extending hip and knee of the first leg and bring the second leg up on the bench too.  Step down with second leg by flexing hip and knee of the first leg. Return to original standing position by placing foot of first leg to floor. Perform 1-2 sets with 10-12 reps.

    Resisted Lateral Steps

       Wrap a resistance tube around your ankles. Standing with your feet hip-width apart take a step to the side with your right leg. With your left leg bring it sideways to meet the right leg. Do this one way then the other for 1-2 minutes.

    Leg Bridging

       Lie on your back with 1 leg bent (knee to ceiling) foot on the floor and the other leg lifted straight up or bent knee to the ceiling.  With your arms at your side, slowly lift your hips and buttocks up towards the ceiling while contracting your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of thigh) until your body weight is resting on your shoulder blades. Make sure your hips are square to the ceiling and your abdominals held in tightly.  Lift slowly up and down Perform  1-2 sets for 10-12 reps.

    Stability Ball Hamstring Curls

        Lie on your back with your feet positioned on an exercise ball. With your arms at your side, slowly lift your hips and buttocks up towards the ceiling while contracting your glutes  and hamstrings (back of thigh) until your body weight is resting comfortably on your shoulder blades. Throughout the entire exercise, be sure to keep your hips square to the ceiling and your abdominals contracted.  Now slowly curl the ball in towards your body while maintaining control and stability through your core area. Slowly curl out and in 8-20 times. Do one or two sets.

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/998095 2016-02-22T14:00:00Z 2016-02-22T14:39:05Z Hiking the Central Coast

    February 22, 2016

        Yesterday I went for a glorious hike up the Coast. I found myself thinking about how our environment can be an outdoor playground for all of us. The beautiful scenery, the sounds of waterfalls or the quiet forest, the smell of nature and pleasant people all contribute to enjoying the outdoors. This is just another way we can continue to maintain our healthy lifestyles. Hiking is also a great way to maintain aerobic fitness by burning calories which helps prevent weight gain. I believe that any time spent on the trail can contribute to an overall sense of well being and satisfaction. 

    Muscle Conditioning for these  hikes

       So now your wondering how can you prepare your muscles for these hikes especially if your not working out at a gym. Simple Lunges, step ups, wall squats and tricep dips are really effective. These exercises target all your lower body muscles as well as help you with balance. If you want to incorporate some abdominal exercises try planks, v-sits or crunches. They will contribute to a strong core needed for maintaining your balance on those uneven surfaces along the trails. Here are a few of my favorite hikes....

    Salmon Creek Trail

        As we hiked up the hill we heard the flowing of the waterfall. I felt like we were in a tropical rainforest. The trail was moist but well packed do to last weeks brief rain so the slippage was minimal. A good four hour hike left our thighs reminding us of our days adventure.

         Salmon Creek Trail is located in a large horseshoe bend on Highway One, 3.7 miles north of Ragged Point Inn (or 26 miles north of Cambria). If your coming from Monterey drive 33.6 miles south from Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park  or 41.6 miles from the Nepenthe Restaurant turnoff in Big Sur. The trail to Salmon Creek Falls is located right on the bend in the road, south of the out-of-service Salmon Creek Ranger Station and Buckeye Trail. Dogs are welcome on all the trails.

    Harmony Headlands Trail

        This an easy hike where you can enjoy seeing lots of our natural habitat in action. The swallows, whales, and crashing waves make this a fun place to come to. The  green valleys (after a good rain) and bluffs are covered in grasses and sagebrush. At the end of the bluff you can appreciate the beautiful views of our coastline taking in the smells of the salty air. 

        To find Harmony Headlands from San Luis Obispo, drive 25 miles north up Highway One to Harmony Headlands State Park. Turn left into a small trailhead parking area.There is room for maybe 10 vehicles and you will be at the start of the trail. From highway 46 west and highway 1, head south 4.5 miles.The parking area is on the right hand side.

    Fiscalini Ranch Bluff Trail

        My all time favorite and one I'm on at least three time a week is this bluff trail. Walking along the the 20-40 foot cliffs where the ocean meets the forest one can see a variety of wildlife. Egrets, red tailed hawks, dolphins, seal lions, butterfly colonies, whales and even coyotes. It's very dog friendly and the smiles on their faces tell just how much they too enjoy the walks. The upper trails wind around the forested area while the lower ones give great views of the bright blue ocean. I pinch myself every day appreciating that i have this in my own backyard. 

        To get to the trail from San Luis Obispo, drive 34.2 miles north up Highway One to Cambria. Turn left at the traffic light onto Windsor Boulevard. Pass Moonstone Beach Drive and make a sharp left passing  Shamel  Park.  Go 1.1 miles to the end of Windsor Boulevard. You can park along the street or in one of the few spots at the end of the road by the entrance to Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

    Whatever you choose to do get out and enjoy the outdoors.... your head, heart and body will thank you!


    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/988683 2016-02-08T15:10:32Z 2016-02-08T15:13:06Z Fix That Flat

    February 8, 2016

    Once again my fellow studio owner and blogger Sherry McMillan has great insights as to how we all can get back on track!!!

      We all get off track at various times of the year, when we are celebrating at social get-togethers.The key to long-term success is how quickly we get back on track!

      One of the best things we can do after we indulge is immediately workout and sweat out all those toxins!

        It will reset your body and your mind and keep you focused on your goals. Many people attempt goals but it seems like the ones who actually achieve them are those that keep going no matter how many times they fail or fall off track.  Perseverance is one of the keys to success at any initiative.

        A short term effort is not going to get you where you ultimately want to be. In order to achieve any goal, you must stick to your game plan on an ongoing, long-term, consistent basis. Getting off track for a day or even a week is no big deal if you are consistent in your efforts. But if you are regularly tempted away from your plan, you will not succeed. Consistency and persistency are the keys to manifesting any goal.  Remember that if you want to be 10 pounds thinner 10 years from now, it is not what you do over the next eight weeks that matters, it is what you do over the next 10 years. Researchers have found only one characteristic common to those who succeed with goals including exercise.  All such people move towards their goal one step at a time. They are committed to constant, never-ending improvement. In practical terms, it means that regardless of anything else – busy work schedules, lack of energy, lack of time, feeling old, feeling lazy, hating exercise – they made no excuses!  They kept moving forward, taking their long-term goals and splitting them up into smaller goals. They took it one day at a time.

        Have you ever found yourself in one of these situations? You are scheduled for a 90 minute workout but something comes up and you cannot get to the gym for the allocated time. You scrap the workout and decide you will try to fit it in tomorrow. Or you have decided to eat healthier but one day you slip a bit at lunch and have a chocolate bar. You decide that since you have already failed for the day, you might as well throw in the towel and indulge in a few cookies, a bowl of ice cream and a bag of chips. Tomorrow is another day. Can you see how this “all or nothing” approach works against you?  Wouldn’t a 30 minute workout have been better than no exercise as all?  Wouldn’t a single chocolate bar have been better than an all-out binge?

    Sometimes, striving for perfection is what leads to failure. 

        Or imagine this scenario.  You have scheduled a two-week vacation and have decided to drive to your favorite holiday destination. You get half way there, get a flat tire and turn around and go back home. Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?  But this is exactly what happens when most people start an exercise or nutrition program. They are on their way to their goals and they slip up. Instead of “fixing the flat” and continuing on toward their goal, they give up and return to old habits and patterns.  We know that 70 percent of people who start an exercise program drop out within a matter of months.  And most people who lose 10 pounds gain them back. So how do you avoid being one of the failures? It is important to accept that there are going to be obstacles, challenges or perceived failures along the way to any goal.  Those who succeed learn from the challenge and get right back on the track.

       It’s also important to note that often before someone experiences a big success, they will experience some difficulty. The key is to maintain your focus, believe in yourself and keep going. You don’t want to quit when you may have been just inches away from experiencing an incredible break through.

    So no matter what obstacle your experience, don’t let it set you back. Fix the flat and get back on the road to your dream life.

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/923624 2016-02-01T14:00:03Z 2016-02-10T15:14:40Z What are the causes of Muscle Atrophy

    February 1, 2016

        I have a home bound client whom I see two times a week. Mary is a 75 year old retired school teacher who was vibrant and active in her day. Over the years Mary has become more sedentary frequently spending a lot of time in bed or sitting at her computer playing games. This sedentary lifestyle has caused her legs to be less functional than they used to be. This lack of function restricts not only her movement but, it also effects her social life and the ability for her to go into her living area downstairs to relax and watch t.v. So now your probably wondering how this could happen after all 75 isn't really old... and why is this information important for me? 

     Muscle Atrophy

         Muscle atrophy is the wasting away or loss of muscle tissue. When muscles are no longer in use, they slowly become weak and eventually begin to shrink. In some cases, disuse atrophy can be reversed if the muscles become active again.There are other causes too which cause this syndrome. They include injury, aging, alcohol associated myopathy (which would be pain or weakness in muscles due to excessive drinking over a time period), burns, malnutrition, stroke or spinal cord injury. Having one limb shorter than the other can also cause some atrophy. Muscle atrophy also occurs when a limb is immobilized like having your arm or leg in a cast for extended periods of time. Major diseases affecting the nerves that control muscles are: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), Guillain-Barre syndrome, Neuropathy and Polio (poliomyelitis). People can adapt to muscle atrophy, but even minor muscle atrophy usually causes some loss of movement or strength. 

    When should I be concerned?

       If your having unexplained or long-term muscle loss or unusual clumsiness such as dropping things or tripping while walking. When your getting up and out of a chair and you find that your legs can no longer support you. Also if you noticing one arm or leg becomes shorter than the other. 

    Is there a cure?

       The mode of treatment may vary widely depending on the symptoms and intensity of the disease. The most common cure for disuse is using those muscles more often. Begin with normal physical activity like  getting up, moving around, lifting and carrying. Dedicating yourself to regular exercise can reverse this disorder and stimulate the muscles to regrow as long as the nerves are intact and connected to the muscles as well as a well-nourished body. Body builders like Arnold Schwarzenegger go through extremes to build muscle then as soon as they stop working out, their muscles shrink back to normal size.  Anti-inflammatory drugs like corticosteroids are prescribed for decreasing inflammation and pain when one is  suffering from nerve compression. Chiropractor therapy and stretching exercises may be recommended for curing muscle atrophy due to nerve issues to reduce nerve compression. Medical professionals are concerned that many people are not remaining active and mobile on a regular basis due to long periods of time sitting in a car or at home which are  major contributors to this syndrome.

    Loss of Muscle with Arthritis

        Another way that muscle atrophy can develop is from lack of physical activity due to joint pain and limited range of motion.  Arthritis pain leads to decreased physical activity, which can lead to muscle atrophy. Over time this vicious cycle can hamper movement.

    Your Action Plan

        Make sure you eat right. While results are inconclusive as to whether eating more protein can prevent muscle loss, a balanced diet does help to ensure that muscles get the amino acids, vitamins, and minerals they need to build and stay strong. Start early because we can’t control aging. A recent study found that recreational athletes who consistently worked out four to five times each week were able to "freeze" levels of muscle mass as they aged. Try to work out hard when your at the gym building those muscles as strong as possible. Loss occurs gradually, the fitter the muscle, the longer it will take to hit ground zero.

       To stay healthy, active and vibrant we must be vigilant in our quest for regular exercise. So start exercising today to maintain what muscle mass you have now and in your future... 

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/923439 2016-01-18T14:00:06Z 2016-01-18T14:00:06Z Is a Fasting Diet Right for You?

    January 18, 2016

       The obvious benefit of fasting is weight loss. These days, many people are attracted to a number of diets, some of them fads, to lose weight quickly. And if you just stop eating the weight will roll off. But that's a yo-yo. When the fast ends and you resume eating as before, the weight comes back.

       So, should you fast or not?

       Fasting (or more accurately, calorie restriction) isn't something you should just jump into willy nilly. So I'll emphasize this from the beginning, if you want to try a fasting diet go consult with your doctor first and get advice or a referral to an expert who can give you advice. My purpose in this article is to lay out what's been happening lately in the research and practice of fasting diets.


       Fasting probably was practiced, and not on purpose, during our very early hunting and gathering stage. All wild animals experience major interruptions in their food supply and early man did, too. Our bodies, over millions of years of adaption and evolution, were made to sustain periods of limited or no food intake. In fact, some nutritionists theorize it's unhealthy to eat full meals, 3 times a day, day after day, throughout a lifetime. And some paleobiologists who study the evolution of cells think that caloric restriction triggers a repair cycle in the cell that can't be triggered any other way. So, the benefits of fasting are more than just about weight loss. More on this further down.

       Once ancient peoples started getting 3-squares a day, more or less, they realized those periods of food scarcity gave them special abilities to concentrate. Feelings of hunger tend to become a priority and cancel out other concerns, like worrying about the leaky roof of the hut or paying taxes to the Pharaoh. What if you could take that feeling of hunger and redefine it in your mind as "focus?" It turns out that fasting is a powerful tool to help clear the mind.

    Christianity - One of the most famous fasts in history is the 40 days Jesus abstained from food while in the desert, tempted by Satan to give up his mission. Fasting is the basis of the Lenten season for Christians of most denominations, and it's practiced in numerous forms as an aid in prayer and inner thought. 

    Judaism - Jews have several fasting rituals but the 25-hour fast during Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is perhaps the most important. The withholding of food and water puts the body and soul in a state of vulnerability, and helps one to be closer to God.

    Hinduism - Fasting is woven into one's comprehension of life. Hindus have many kinds of fasting rules depending on local customs and even personal beliefs. Some Hindu fasts last from sunrise to sunset while other practices call for not eating for a month.

    Islam - Fasting is a way to draw closer to God and to disconnect oneself from negativity as well as the pleasures of the body. Fasting during the month of Ramadan (in which no food or water is consumed from sunrise to sunset) is one of the Four Pillars of Islam. 

    Buddhism - The Buddha prescribed the Middle Way as a life practice and so Buddhists generally fast by reducing food intake or eliminating a meal to help in meditation. Complete deprivation is as unsatisfactory as over-indulgence.

    What Science Says

       It's interesting that of all the things we know about physics, information technologies, and even medicine, science is woefully short on certainty about how we digest food and how the body uses nutrients... or in the case of fasting, what the body does without them. But science does know something and that's cause for considering how to eat and live a healthy life. What I'm saying is, don't read an article on a new health finding and then dive in whole hog. And likewise, don't ignore the warnings when there's consensus.

       First, scientists have established that caloric restriction slows aging in primates. And research into human health has shown that fasting has an effect on reducing factors associated with heart disease and cancer. Still, there remains a debate on how much fasting is a good thing. And there are many diets on the market that purport a variety of techniques. I'll hit on some of them below.

       These are theories but some scientists think that as food is reduced or eliminated, the old mitochondria in the cells generate fewer free radicals, which are tied to diseases like cancer. Reduction of food also results in less sugar in the blood stream. For bodies at risk of type-2 diabetes that means taking a significant break from exposure to high blood sugar which can improve or maintain sensitivity to insulin. It's when the body becomes insensitive to insulin that type-2 diabetes emerges. Less blood sugar also means a reduction in glycation, a bonding of sugars (especially fructose) with proteins or lipids that are associated with heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's and DNA damage.

    Types of Fasts

        Lets take a look at the 24 hr fasting diet. It requires one to fast for 24 hours once or twice a week. During this 24 hour fasting period no food is consumed, but you can drink calorie-free beverages. After the fast is over, you then go back to eating normally.  For some they need to finish the fast at a normal mealtime with a big meal, while others are OK ending the fast with an afternoon snack. The main rationale here is that eating this way will reduce overall calorie intake without really limiting what you’re able to eat.

       Lean Gains another way of changing up the system is based on intermittent fasting and lifting heavy weights. It is meant to be a way of changing the way you look by losing fat and gaining muscle/strength at the same time. It uses power body building and carbohydrate cycling.

        A study done at the University of Southern California revealed that the Fast Metabolism Diet (FMD) is yet another way to reduce calories and reap some healthy benefits. It's about reprogramming the body so it enters a slower aging mode rejuvenating it through stem cell-based regeneration. It has been shown that these benefits include reducing the incidence of cancer, boosting the immune system, reducing inflammatory diseases, slowing bone mineral density loss and improving cognitive abilities. This plan has you rotate what your eating throughout each week. 

        Fasting for the purpose of detoxifying is not without its risks — and should never be undertaken without medical supervision. This recommendation becomes even more important as health challenges become more complex.  

        I do believe that fasting can be a healthy way for all of us to get rid of those toxins we put into our bodies with mindless eating, emotional eating or just to fill the hunger void. It can be a way to practice a mindful way of  paying attention to our bodies and souls which can help us to feel more vital, creative and open to emotional and spiritual energies.

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/636274 2016-01-04T14:00:00Z 2016-01-04T03:12:26Z Exercise and Your Heart: Find Your Target Heart Rate
    February 10, 2014

       As a fitness trainer helping people to maintain a healthy heart is truly close to my own heart. In the interest of your own heart health, before jumping into an exercise regimen you should clear it with your doctor.

       Regular exercise that gets your heart beating is the key. But how much? Here are some basics about understanding how to gauge the right amount.

    Resting Heart Rate

       First, know your resting heart rate, which is the number of times your heart beats per minute while doing no activity. It’s best to check it in the morning after you’ve had a good night’s sleep and before you get out of bed.

       The average resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute. There are some factors to consider. The better fit you are, the lower your resting heart rate will be. And as you get older it will test higher. But in general, too low or too high of a pulse could be a sign of something that needs a doctor's attention.

       Take your pulse on the inside of the wrist on the thumb side. Use the tips of your first two fingers (not your thumb) to press lightly over the blood vessels on your wrist. Count your pulse for 10 seconds and multiply by 6 to find your beats per minute.

    Maximum Heart Rate

       Maximum heart rate is the highest rate your heart should be allowed to go during a workout. Exercising at this level is awesome if you're training for the Tour de France or the New York Marathon. But for the rest of us maximum heart rate is important because it's the data point that helps map out a program.

       To find your maximum heart rate, take 220 and minus your age. If you're 53, for example, your maximum heart rate is 167.

    Target Heart Rate

       Your target heart rate is the key to exercising for heart health whether it's on a stationary bike or in a sea kayak. A range between 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate is your target heart rate.

       So, for the 53 year-old with a maximum heart rate of 167, you multiply .50 x 167 for the low end and .85 x 167 for the high end. Rounded it's a range of 84 to 142 beats per minute. Exercise you do that gets your heart beating in the range of the target rate is what you want.

       That's a pretty wide margin. For my clients who are just starting out, I train them at their lowest end of the range and develop a program to help them to higher levels over time. A heart rate monitor is the piece of equipment that will help you keep tabs on how fast your heart is beating.

    Rules of Thumb

       If you're straining at, say, 75 percent of your maximum heart rate, you're probably taking on too much and you should back it down. You don't have to exercise that hard to get a heart benefit and to stay in shape. Some people can actually achieve 50 percent of maximum heart rate with a brisk walk. Everyone is different.

       If your workout feels light at 50 percent of maximum heart rate - if you can have a conversation without having to stop talking to take breaths - the intensity is probably too low. Push yourself to exercise at a higher target heart rate.

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/957255 2015-12-28T14:00:00Z 2015-12-28T15:06:01Z 2016: New Year, New Breath, New Chances

    December 28, 2015

       Can anyone have 365 days of greatness? Probably not. Life itself has ups and downs and the curve balls you're thrown teach you about your own strengths and weaknesses. What you do with that knowledge is what truly makes you a better stronger person. 

       The beginning of 2015 started out with a wonderful BANG for me! A new studio, a live-in partner... and a new life began. As the year progressed the stresses of life and starting anew weren't exactly what I had envisioned. The year ends with another big BANG and not in a good way. So now I'm preparing for the new year like everyone else deciding what I want to change and how I want to go about it.

    Begin with affirmations 
    Write down your intentions for the year.  What do you want to happen? Make those statements positive ones. Re-visit them often reminding you what your intent is... 

    Trust that whatever comes up you will be able to handle it, growing and learning from the process. Drop the fears when they arise, since it only blocks the good from coming into your life. Fear constricts your energy and ability to receive. Think of these blocks and fears as ongoing experiments rather than a successful or failed attempt at change. And don't be too hard on yourself - it's really about the progress you've made not the perfection of it.  

    In order to receive you will need to remain open and let go of the judgments of how you think things should go. This one is most difficult when challenges arise. Feel your feelings and truthfully express them in a way that takes personal responsibility. Accept and acknowledge the good things that have happened to you and then look to see where you can change and grow. This one is the hardest for me.

    Trust in yourself and your journey as the months unfold in 2016. Your spirit always leads you to what is best for your soul. When you have those triumphs, which you will, celebrate! It's wonderful when you manifest your desires, survive a tough situation, or overcome an obstacle.

    Make 2016 a great year no matter what!

    Motivate Yourself
    Make that change with actions. Set a goal and move towards it. Try something new if your previous ways haven't worked out for you. Find something that will make your life more enjoyable and, who knows, down the road it might happen. Changing one thing in your life now can create that domino effect of things happening for you in the way you hope for. Change leads to new beginnings. 

    Here's to new beginnings for everyone in 2016 !!!
    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/954224 2015-12-21T14:52:05Z 2015-12-28T15:11:15Z Morning Stretches

    December 21, 2015

       Do you ever wake up stiff and creaky after a good nights sleep? Most of us wake up with some stiffness which can be caused by a number of things. 

       Body position during sleep, tight muscles from activities the day before and arthritis are just a few. Morning stretches help the spine stay supple and agile. It relieves back pain by reducing tensions in your spine and muscles. Stretching lengthens and relaxes your muscles improving flexibility. This helps to raise the body's core temperature, preparing your muscles for daily activity. Here are a few great exercises to start your day with.
    Pelvic Tilt
    Lie on your back with your knees pointed to the ceiling and your feet on floor. Force your back down to the floor and hold for 15 seconds. Do this three times.

    Lumbar Flexion Stretch
    Lie on your back and bring both your knees to your chest. Hold them with both hands pulling them tightly into your chest for 10-15 seconds. Then rock your knees side to side rotating the hips from right to left for another 15 seconds. Next, with both feet on the floor rotate your knees to the right side holding your arms out to your side on the floor with your palms up. Hold this for 15 seconds. Repeat on your left side.

    Hamstring Stretch

    Lying on your back lift your right leg straight up to the ceiling flexing your foot. Extend your left leg out keeping it on the floor. Hold your right leg up and flexed for 15 seconds. Repeat this on the left side.

       By incorporating regular stretching into your daily routine along with other moderate physical exercise you can change the way you feel as well as your mood throughout the day. Just 10 minutes of stretching every day will help you feel more relaxed and can improve the quality of every day.

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/949384 2015-12-14T14:00:00Z 2015-12-15T00:46:55Z Holiday Mini Home Workout

    December 14, 2015

        Presents to buy, trees to decorate, cards to send and parties to attend all these additional activities can derail your fitness routine. I too find that during the Christmas holidays I am pulled in so many different directions that I have to make a real effort to make exercise a priority. This year, rather than waiting for holiday stress and goodie overload to pile up, make an effort to get in a little bit of exercise at least 3 times a week. Here are 3 exercises I think are really effective with minimal time.

        Stand in a staggered stance with one leg positioned in front of the other leg. Keep the back knee underneath or slightly behind your hips.  Slowly lower the back knee towards the ground keeping the front knee over the top of the ankle/foot the entire time. Only go as low as you feel comfortable. Keep your body weight positioned over the front leg. Hold your body upright maintaining good posture. 
    8-15 reps each leg. Repeat - 2 times.

    or Squats

         Stand with your feet hip width apart.  Press your chest out and up with shoulders back holding in those abdominals. Squat as if your sitting in a chair keeping your knees pointing forward but not coming beyond your toes. Remember don't let your knees fall inward. Keep your weight equally distributed on all 4 corners of your feet. Lower your butt to a comfortable position. Pay attention to the fact that your upper body will come forward slightly as your buttocks travels backwards. Now... slowly extend back up.  When getting started, you may want to start with mini-squats until you master the technique and then start dropping lower as your muscles get stronger.

    10-15 reps     Repeat- 2 times. Add a weight in each hand if you need more resistance.


    Push- Ups

         Place your hands on the floor so they’re slightly outside shoulder width. Spread your fingers slightly out and have them pointed forward. Raise up onto your toes so that all of your body weight is on your hands and your feet. Hold in your abdominals keeping your torso in a straight line. It will prevent arching your back or pointing your bottom in the air. Bend your elbows and lower your chest down toward the floor. Once your elbows bend slightly beyond 90 degrees, push off the floor and extend them so that you return to starting position. Push ups can also be done on your knees with your feet lifted or by placing your hands on an incline like a bench, step or wall providing a more gentle beginner level option. 8-15 reps repeat- 2 times.


        Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor place your fingertips behind your ears. Pull your shoulder blades back with elbows out to the side.Then hold your abdominals in and raise your body up toward your knees lifting shoulders off the floor. Keep your head straight not straining your neck or your chin. Slowly roll back to start position. 

                                                                                                              10-15 reps. Repeat - 2 times.

    or Abdominal Crunches

        Lie on your back knees bent and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Place your fingertips behind your ears holding your elbows out to the side as in the sit up position description.  Tilt your chin down and gently pull your abdominals inward. Curl up and forward using your abdominals lifting your shoulder blades off the floor. Hold for a count of two and slowly lower your torso back down.     

    10-15 reps. Repeat - 2 times.                                                      


        Make sure you get in a walk or run too. Try the Fiscalini Ranch in Cambria offering plenty of hills to get that heart rate up.There are plenty of trails to try if you need variety. Remember that the minimum recommended time is 30 minutes for each walk/run. It will help clear your head and hopefully help with that holiday stress!

    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/940865 2015-11-30T14:00:01Z 2015-11-30T19:46:35Z 5 Habits that Damage your Health and Contribute to Early Aging
    November 30, 2015

       "The longer I live the more beautiful life becomes." 
                                                         Frank Lloyd Wright 

       Aging is something we all go through if we live long enough. We know that with aging comes wrinkles and gray hair. Our heart rates slow down and the organ itself might even become larger. Blood vessels and arteries become stiffer, causing our hearts to work harder to pump blood through them which can lead to high blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. Bones shrink in size and density, and this weakens them making them more susceptible to fracture. Muscles lose strength and flexibility, and we become less coordinated or have trouble balancing. Memory become less efficient with age, too, and it takes longer to learn new things, or remember familiar words or names.

       The good news is that our lifestyle choices are some of the main contributors to premature aging. By becoming aware of some of them you can hold off the inevitable for a little while longer.

    Habit #1: Smoking

    If you want to preserve your good looks, i.e., keep your face looking younger... don't smoke! Cigarettes can accelerate the aging process in the smoker and those who live with him or her. Several studies have shown that regular exposure to cigarette smoke causes skin dryness and facial wrinkles. This occurs because cigarette smoke drains vitamin C, which plays a significant role in the growth of healthy looking skin. 

       Smoking also causes physical changes in your eyes that can threaten eyesight. Nicotine from cigarettes restricts the production of a chemical necessary for you to be able to see at night and smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration which can lead to blindness. And it can cause mild to moderate hearing loss by reducing the oxygen supply to the cochlea causing irreversible damage.
     Habit #2: Not Exercising Daily

       Being sedentary may be twice as deadly as being obese says Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale Prevention Research Center. He pointed to a study published earlier this year of over 300,000 people and their daily activity, noting that being lean without being fit was a predictor of premature death.

       So, walk, swim, run, cycle or do any other activity you enjoy. Regular moderate physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and lessen the extent of arterial stiffening. Exercising regularly helps to maintain muscle tone and improve the flow of blood to various organs in your body including your skin. These benefits are reflected on your face giving you that youthful glow. Exercising prompts the release of a feel-good hormone (serotonin) which can also improve your mood.

     Habit #3: Not Getting Enough Sleep

       Quality sleep plays an important role in healing and repairing your heart and blood vessels. Weight gain, Type 2 diabetes, reduced immune function, memory loss and mood disorders can also be results of inadequate sleep. Studies have found that a single night of inadequate sleep in people who have existing hypertension can cause elevated blood pressure throughout the following day correlating poor sleep over time with cardiovascular disease and stroke. The recommended amount of sleep is 7 to 8 hours a night. 

    Habit #4: Not Getting Enough Calcium and Vitamin D

       Body weakness, fatigue, reduced ability to perform activities of daily living, poor balance, falls and injuries are all associated with decreased muscle mass and strength of an older body. As we age, the discs between our vertebrates lose fluid and they flatten, our vertebrates then begin to come together actually shrinking our spine a bit. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, tennis, climbing stairs and strength training can help you build strong bones, maintain muscle mass and hopefully help you maintain your height.

       Calcium builds bones and keeps them healthy. It helps our blood clot and aids in helping our nerves to send messages to our muscles when they contract.  Adults ages 19 to 50 and men ages 51 to 70 should take in 1,000 milligrams a day. RDA for women is  1,200 mg a day if you are  age 51 and older and for men age 71 and older. Vitamin D is also important as it plays a role in protecting your bones by helping your body to absorb the calcium. 

       Foods like spinach, kale, okra, collard greens, soybeans and white beans have lots of calcium in them. And you'll get vitamin D, in fatty fish like tuna, mackerel, and salmon, as well, as from beef liver, cheese and egg yolks.

    Habit #5: Too Much Exposure to the Sun and to Cold Environmental Conditions

       Too much sun exposure is another way we can easily accelerate the aging process. Sun damage is the number one cause of wrinkles. Age spots and other forms of discoloration are exacerbated by the sun’s harmful rays and the sun's ultraviolet light also damages the fibers in the skin. When these fibers break down, the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. A face that has spent years working on its tan appears heavily wrinkled. 

       Yes, sunshine is healthy... to a point. It only takes 20 minutes in the sun before it's benefits are reversed.

       Cold winds and low temperatures can also potentially cause premature aging. Spending a life time in a cold environment can create thin skin contributing to more wrinkles. Use a good moisturizer during the winter months and apply moisturizers right after a shower. It will help to lock in hydration. Use of a humidifier in your home or office can also help with keeping your skin hydrated.

        By making small adjustments to change some of these habits you will be taking care of yourself inside and out. Helping to slow down how quickly your body ages and feeling youthful for many years to come.
    tag:fitnessforlife.posthaven.com,2013:Post/933609 2015-11-16T14:00:00Z 2015-11-16T14:00:05Z Glutathione the " Master" of Antioxidants

    November 16, 2015

        If biochemistry were like the stuff in comic books, antioxidants would be the superheroes — with glutathione (gloota-thigh-own) being  a cross between Superman and Underdog. As the most powerful antioxidant in the body, glutathione works around the clock to fend off these despicable characters. And yet, few people recognize its importance.

        Glutathione is a substance found in every cell in the body. It neutralizes free radicals, enhances the immune system and detoxifies the liver.  Glutathione is a simple molecule composed of three protein building blocks or amino acids- cysteine, glutamine and glycine.

         While certain vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals also act as antioxidants, glutathione is different because it is intracellular and  it's produced within a well-nourished healthy body. Proper glutathione levels are actually required so that the other antioxidants such as vitamin C, E, selenium and carotenoids, can be properly utilized within the body. Natural glutathione production is easily disrupted and stores can become quickly depleted by poor diet, stress, medications, infections, radiation and other toxins. Low glutathione levels have been linked with close to 70 diseases associated with aging including cancers, heart diseases, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, arthritis, auto-immune diseases and strokes. Glutathione has an anti-inflammatory effect on the body and immediately gets rid of potentially damaging free radicals as they are produced in the cells. This prevents cellular inflammation, thus slowing down aging as well as the keeping the body healthy and the immune system strong.  Starting at age 20 Glutathione production in your body will start reducing and at about age 45, our glutathione levels start to slip even more dipping as much as 50 percent below optimal as we age.

    What About Supplement Versions?

        It makes sense that we should be able to incorporate a bit extra with a simple supplement and feel instantly revitalized. The problem with this is that oral glutathione supplements have repeatedly performed poorly in studies testing their absorption. Although some practitioners have reported a success with patients receiving glutathione intravenously, this method is invasive, expensive and often inaccessible to most of us. A concern with the supplement is that large quantities upset the body's natural system causing disruption. The body may stop creating it's own production assuming falsely that there is enough stored already.  Over time, this mis-signaling could lead to a dependency on supplements as natural production ceases to exist.

     What foods are high in Glutathione?

        Several spices found in Indian curry including turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and curcumin, and rosemary. Sulfur containing vegetables such as kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, garlic, cauliflower, bok choy, watercress, mustard, horseradish, turnips, rutabagas and kohlrabi. Other foods included are asparagus, green beans, spinach, avocado, red beets, peaches, watermelon, raw eggs and grape seed extract. Aloe vera,whey protein, raw goats milk (should be hormone and antibiotic free), milk thistle, okra, rice bran and brazil nuts are also great sources.

     Disease fighter

          Glutathione has been tried on a wide range of diseases and conditions including cancer and these studies have yielded promising results. A scottish study of one hundred and fifty women with cancer, being treated with standard chemotherapy cisplatin, were supplemented to raise their GSH(Glutathione) levels. In this study the building blocks of glutathione are introduced into the system of a cancer patient, it then raises GHS in normal healthy cells but triggers the opposite reaction in cancer cells, it effectively shuts down their GSH production.This means your healthy cells get stronger, and your cancer cells get weaker. This enhances the effectiveness of the chemotherapy or radiation treatment while reducing or eliminating side effects since your healthy cells are not as vulnerable to damage. The group raised their GSH and had statistically less: depression, vomiting, hair loss, shortness of breath, neurotoxicity and wasting. Their mental concentration and kidney function improved measurably and a healthier outcome was much more promising. 

    What other practices will help with promoting Glutathione?

        It is also important to actively minimize the factors contributing to its depletion in your body. Chronic low-level stress is key in the loss of glutathione. Our bodies simply weren’t designed to handle the prolonged cortisol and adrenaline release experienced as a result of unchecked stress responses. Find a way to reduce stress through practices of mindfulness, yoga, time spent outside, reading and laughing. I know finding a way to manage stress can be difficult.... but it is one of the most healing steps you can take towards having a healthy life.