Tell me if this sounds familiar: You’re driving down the road, radio blaring, sending a text message with one hand (don’t lie!), cup of coffee in the other, when you’re suddenly distracted by yet another sight: a person, or people, hurriedly propelling themselves on the sidewalk, utilizing nothing but their own two feet. Their pace is too quick to be walking, yet too smooth and even to be skipping. On top of that, many seem to be wincing in pain, sweat pouring down their faces, yet they remain undeterred from continuing their forward progression. The audacity of these folks to shun the use of motorized, or even pedaled, means of transportation! Are they crazy!? Who are these rebels?
These people are called “runners.”
And, yes, they’re (we’re) a little nutty.
Running is an ancient sport, probably one of the oldest known to our primate species. Once upon a time, homo sapiens (that’s us) used running as a means of obtaining sustenance, tracking hard-to-catch prey across the plains or through wooded forests. These days, it seems runners are only on the trail of catching their next PR (personal record), or swag goodie bag at the end of a race.
But running remains one of the most effective and gratifying forms of exercise or leisure. Running aids in weight loss and weight management, relieves stress, can be a great social activity, is a form of meditation (on those long runs, one’s mind becomes quite clear), offers a great challenge to oneself, and induces a great natural high (really, the only kind of high we endorse). And, believe it or not, even in the coldest of climates, running can be a four season outdoor sport, though treadmills and indoor tracks do make for tempting alternatives in times of inclement weather.
From time to time our Everspring team will be presenting blog entries on the subject of running, covering everything you need to know: from selecting gear and body mechanics, to staying injury free and preparing for races. We’ll even delve into the running lexicon, demystifying such terms as gradual pickups, aerobic intervals, splits, yassos and Fartleks, and how to not snicker when speaking them aloud.
So, whether you are a running novice or a gifted marathoner, there will be a little something for everyone. Feel free to contact us with any questions or comments you may have, and we can try to incorporate those into upcoming blogs.
Gyrotonic® offers an alternative or complement to the linear and often more compressive work traditionally performed in the gym. It is a holistic movement system that gently guides you to greater flexibility, strength, stamina, range of motion and fluidity. Incorporating principals from yoga, tai chi and swimming, Gyrotonic can be ideal for those who do not think of themselves as athletic. Yet, it is also perfect for athletes, looking to improve their performance.
A series of rhythmic exercises performed on equipment and guided by a trainer, help clients find a deep sense of mind-body connection that brings a meditative present-moment experience. The result? While you’re ‘working’, you are absolutely focused. Time flies. This is the very definition of joy.
It is three-dimensional, working the joints in their full range. A weighted pulley system offers resistance and assistance to help clients more deeply connect to supporting muscles and fascia system. Improving the fitness of the connective tissue helps heal and prevent injury, while improving posture. Good posture not only looks better; it has been linked to better overall health and a positive outlook on life.
Gyrotonic is non-judgmental. Working one-on-one, clients are able to get a diagnostic of their own bodies; where the body seems stagnant and unresponsive to the mind’s most insistent commands and where the body is connected -- fluid, graceful and strong. It’s appropriate for all ages and fitness levels. Heed your body’s yearning to move. To be embodied is a gift in itself.
Dietary Recommendations to Help Prevent Cardiovascular Disease
The first step in preventing heart disease is to eat a healthy diet. Increase your consumption of whole foods rich in phytonutrients, plant molecules that give your body the nutrients it needs. Here are some practical tips:
1. To avoid the blood sugar imbalances that increase your risk for heart disease, eat protein with every meal, even at breakfast. This will help you to avoid sudden increases in your blood sugar.
2. Use lean animal protein like fish, turkey, chicken, lean cuts of lamb, and even vegetable protein such as nuts, beans, and tofu.
3. Combine protein, fat, and carbohydrates in every meal. Never eat carbohydrates alone.
4. For the same reasons, avoid white flour and sugar.
5. Eat high-fiber foods, ideally at least 50 grams per day. Beans, whole grains, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruit all contain beneficial fiber.
6. Avoid all processed junk food, including sodas, juices, and diet drinks, which impact sugar and lipid metabolism. Liquid sugar calories are the biggest contributors to obesity and diabetes and heart disease.
7. Increase omega-3 fatty acids by eating cold-water wild salmon, sardines, herring, flaxseeds, and even seaweed.
8. Reduce saturated fat and use more grass-fed or organic beef or animal products, which contain less saturated fat.
9. Eliminate all hydrogenated fat, which is found in margarine, shortening, and processed oils, as well as many baked goods and processed foods.
10. Instead use healthy oils, such as olive (especially extra virgin olive oil), cold pressed sesame, and other nut oils.
11. Avoid or reduce alcohol, which can increase triglycerides and fat in the liver and create blood sugar imbalances.
12. Don't allow yourself to get hungry. Graze -- don't gorge -- by eating every three to four hours to keep your insulin and blood sugar normal.
13. Try not to eat three hours before bed.
14. Have a good protein breakfast every day. You can start with a protein shake or may use eggs. Some suppliers offer omega-3 eggs, which are ideal.
15. Include flaxseeds by using two to four tablespoons of ground flaxseeds every day in your food. This can lower cholesterol by 18 percent. Flax is tasty in shakes or sprinkled on salads or whole grain cereal.
16. Drink green tea, which can help lower cholesterol.
17. Use soy foods such as soymilk, edamame, soy nuts, tempeh, and tofu, which can help lower cholesterol by 10 percent.
18. Eat at least eight to ten servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day, which contain disease fighting vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory molecules. (vi)
Lifestyle and Exercise Changes for Heart Health
I encourage 30 to 45 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least six times a week. You may try interval training (also known as wind sprints) if you are feeling stronger. I also encourage strength training to build muscle and reduce body fat composition.
Exercise is a necessity, not a luxury, in preventing almost all chronic disease, from heart disease to cancer, from dementia to diabetes, from osteoporosis to osteoarthritis. You cannot age successfully without it. It is how we are designed.
Stop Stressing Out Your Heart
Stress alone can cause a heart attack. It is often the trigger that leads to the cascade of events that causes that final, fatal heart attack. But all along the way, it contributes to heart disease by creating inflammation, raising your cholesterol and blood sugar, causing high blood pressure and even making your blood more likely to clot.
Therefore, finding ways to manage stress, to relax, and to find the pause button is essential for dealing with nearly all chronic health conditions, including high cholesterol.
Learn to reduce stress by doing regular relaxation exercises such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, breathing, guided imagery, or whatever it takes to engage the relaxation nervous system, which can lower cholesterol, reduce your overall level of inflammation, balance your blood sugar, increase metabolism, and help with your overall health.
Try classes, buy tapes, try therapy, or just go out and have fun. But you must do something to switch daily out of the alarm response to maintain your health.
Read More: Huffington Post