Soy and Bone Strength for Women

Do you have a woman in your life who has decreased bone strength?

Osteoporosis, decreased physical activity and weight gain are serious health concerns for postmenopausal women.  Researchers from the University of Missouri now have discovered through a new animal study that soy protein found in food might counter the negative effects of menopause on bone and metabolic health. Additionally, the researchers believe that soy protein might also have positive impacts on bone strength for women who have not yet reached menopause.

Pamela Hinton, professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, and Victoria Vieira-Potter, co-author and associate professor of nutrition and exercise physiology, studied “the effects of soy versus corn-based diets on rats selectively bred to have low fitness levels. Rats were again divided between those with and without ovaries to mimic effects of menopause.  Prior research has found that these rats are good models for menopausal women. They compared the impact of the soy diet on bone strength and metabolic function to rats fed a corn-based, soy-free diet.”

“Bottom line, this study showed that women might improve bone strength by adding some soy-based whole foods to their diet,” Hinton said. “Our findings suggest that women don’t even need to eat as much soy as is found in typical Asian diets, but adding some tofu or other soy, for example foods found in vegetarian diets, could help strengthen bones.”

Do you want to improve your bone strength, or know someone who could use assistance?

Fitness for Health provides a revolutionary, 12-week Bone and Joint Health Program for adults and seniors that capitalizes on weight-bearing, fitness activities.  This groundbreaking program helps to improve posture and increase bone density, strength and balance while counteracting the effects of osteoporosis, osteopenia and aging.

The Bone and Joint Health Program elicits results faster and more effectively than traditional exercise (fitness for seniors) or pharmaceuticals through two state-of-the-art fitness technologies:

  • bioDensity™ – Weight-bearing exercises are the key to stimulating bone growth, and the greater the weight applied, the better the results. The osteogenic loading that patients receive is multiples of bodyweight, and beyond what is typically seen in exercise.  Research has shown, bone density gains that averaged 7% in the hip and 7.7% in the spine over one year using bioDensity (Jaquish, 2013). These results are multiples of what the current interventions can do for bone density.
  • Power Plate™ – Power Plate is a whole body vibration platform that allows for reflexive engagement of the neuromuscular system at rapid and repeatable oscillation. This intervention has been clinically shown to increase balance and stability in both healthy and aging-frail populations.

When used once a week, research has shown the bioDensity system alone has significantly increased bone mass density, stability and functional movement with multiple ages, health conditions and for both genders.

To register for a bioDensity orientation, please email us at Info@FitnessForHealth.org.

Can Exercise Ease Addiction?

Drug addiction is a common and disabling illness.   According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 21.5 million American adults (aged 12 and older) battled a substance use disorder in 2014.

If you follow Hollywood gossip, you have undoubtedly heard about Demi Lovato’s recent overdose and her continuous struggle for sobriety.

Can a few laps around the block actually solve your addiction? No, but a regular exercise program might help.

Exercise is increasingly becoming a component of many drug treatment programs and has proven effective, when combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy. Exercise may exert beneficial effects by addressing psychosocial and physiological needs that drug replacement alone does not, by reducing negative feelings and stress, and by helping prevent weight gain following cessation.

Bradford Health Services writes, “Many who abuse drugs or alcohol neglect important components of daily health, wreaking havoc on both emotional and physical well-being.  It is important to repair the psychological and physical damage of chemical dependency as well as the damaged mind-body connection. Exercise in chemical dependency treatment serves many purposes, but there are some primary benefits one can get from exercise during substance abuse treatment and recovery.”

According to Bradford Health Services, exercise can helps addiction by:

  1. Relieving stress. Exercise has been shown to alleviate both physical and psychological stress.  Moving your body alleviates this tension, and allows you to get rid of any negative emotions you have been keeping in. Focused exercise uses both physical and emotional energy, that might otherwise find unhealthy ways of escaping.
  2. Changing your brain chemistry. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which create a natural high. These are the same endorphins your body released while you abused substances.
  3. “Meditation in motion.” The Mayo Clinic has described exercise as “meditation in motion,” meaning by concentrating on the physical we can experience the psychological and emotional benefits of meditation. Through movement, we can refocus our thoughts on our own well-being and forget, at least briefly, all that is going on in our lives. You may leave your work-out with a clearer mind, feeling more rejuvenated and optimistic. Finding this clarity within chaos can make recovery much more manageable.
  4. Improving your outlook. Those who exercise regularly report increased feelings of self-confidence and optimism and reduced feelings of depression and anxiety. This is in part has to do with the body regulating and calibrating itself during exercise, but it also has to do with feelings of accomplishment, pride, and self worth as you see your body transform and your goals reached.

Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects.

Try exercise to elevate your mood and fight your addition today.

To learn how Fitness for Health can help you improve your mind-body connection utilizing state-of-the-art fitness technology, visit www.FitnessForHealth.org or call 301-231-7138.

If you are feeling hopeless, helpless or know someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact a drug addiction counselor.

ATP World Tour Workout

In honor of the Association of Tennis Professionals and Women’s Tennis Association’s Washington Citi Open being held in Washington, DC, this week, here are a few, athletic training tips to help you become ready for the tennis court.

  1. Plyometric Lunges – The plyometric lunge is used here to increase explosive power. This exercise involves taking the lunge exercise to a far higher level of intensity and is very challenging. This exercise will not only help to increase your power, it will also develop muscular endurance through your hips and thighs and help to improve your overall bodily control and coordination.
  2. Forearm Plank – Begin lying on the floor with your forearms flat on the floor, making sure that your elbows are aligned directly under your shoulders. Engage your core and raise your body up off the floor, keeping your forearms on the floor and your body in a straight line from head to feet. Keep your abdominals engaged and try not to let your hips rise or drop.
  3. Reverse Crunch – Lie on your back with your knees together and your legs bent to 90 degrees, feet planted on the floor. Place your palms face down on the floor for support. Tighten your abs to lift your hips off the floor as you crunchyour knees inward to your chest.
  4. Windshield Wiper – Doing windshield wipers lying down will build the rotational core strength you need as a foundation. Lie on your back on the floor and raise your legs 90 degrees. Spread your arms straight out to your sides for support. Rotate your legs to one side, stopping short of touching the floor. Rotate to the other side. As you improve, bring your arms closer in to your body so they offer less stability.
  5. Endurance – Longer runs will help you develop the kind of fitness and endurance required to compete in a competitive tennis match. If you are unable to complete 5-10k runs with relative ease it is unlikely that you have the fitness to keep you going through a tough three-set match.

Are you ready to take your athletic training to the next level and train like a professional athlete while optimizing weight management and helping improve bone and joint health?  Visit Fitness for Health during our Open House for Prospective Clients at 5pm on Sunday, August 5, to learn how our EDGE Training can help you become stronger, faster and more explosive.

Most athletes only train to improve their speed, strength, agility, and conditioning.  That just isn’t enough.  Our one-on-one and group athletic performance development program, EDGE Training, helps athletes at all levels develop the skills that give them an EDGE on—and off—the field, including gross and fine motor skills, mental processing, motor planning/sequencing, and visual motor skills.

You Don’t Need to Have a “Quarterback” Body to Be in Shape

Did you know that you don’t have to run wind sprints and complete athletic training for hours a day like a NFL quarterback in order to be in great shape and continue weight management? It’s true!

NFL Opening Day is right around the corner, and New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady was just photographed on vacation with his family. He is currently being body shamed because he does not currently have the public’s perception of a “typical” NFL quarterback’s ripped body.

If, arguably, one of the greatest athletes of our time does not have the “perfect” body, why do we obsess about having 6-pack abs or biceps the size of softballs?

What if you just want to get healthier? Do you need to have the public’s perception of the “perfect” body of a NFL quarterback to be in shape? Not necessarily.

For some, aspiring to achieve a sculpted body may be a motivating factor in making healthy changes and renewing commitment to athletic training. However, if you do the work and don’t get as toned and muscular as some of the athletes you see on TV, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re unhealthy and out of shape. It is possible to have a “dad bod” (or a “mom bod”) and still be healthy.

As a Certified Athletic Trainer and the founder of Fitness for Health, an exercise facility working with children through senior citizens and professional athletes in the Washington, DC, area that specializes in athletic training using state-of-the-art, exergaming technology, I believe that, ultimately, fitness has less to do with how you look and more about how you feel, and what your body can do. It’s all about working toward being the healthiest you can be. If aspiring toward a “NFL body” helps you get there, that’s fine. But don’t get discouraged if you don’t achieve it; being “ripped” is not the end-all, be-all of health.

About Fitness for Health:

Do you or your child want an athletic edge for fall sports? Want to train like a professional athlete?

Try EDGE Training – Athletic Performance Development to improve hand-eye coordination, visual reaction time, peripheral awareness, agility, balance, proprioception and athletic conditioning utilizing the latest in exergaming technology.  All are areas that will make the difference – and give you the EDGE during game time.

Call (301) 231-7138 or register for a FREE tour or open house to learn more.

Overtraining May Hinder Athletic Performance

Now that summer is in full swing, many children – and adults – are making the most of the beautiful weather and are participating in numerous sports teams.  All that sports conditioning and athletic training are great for your energy levels and weight management, but it could actually hinder your athletic performance.

A University of Guelph study is the first to show that overload training may alter firing in the body’s sympathetic nerve fibers, which could hinder performance.

“The theory behind overload training is that you train to the point of complete exhaustion, so that when you rest and recover, you will be able to perform at a higher level than before,” said Alexandra Coates, a PhD student in human health and nutritional science and lead author of the study. “But that may not be entirely correct.”

The study revealed that “muscle sympathetic nerve activity, which constricts the muscle’s blood vessels and indicates stress in the body, increased in over-trained athletes.” In layman’s terms, this means that an athlete’s nervous system is temporarily altered by overtraining.  So, athletes who follow a consistent fitness and training schedule may have better endurance and long-term performance.

As a Certified Athletic Trainer and the founder of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic, exercise facility working with children through senior citizens – and professional athletes such as Jerome Couplin III, formerly of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams – in the Washington, DC, area, I am routinely asked, “How can I ensure that my child or I am safe while athletic training?”

I think it’s important for kids – and adults – to excel in sports and love the simple pursuit of play while protecting your health.   Here are my suggestions for preparing for athletic training and the demands of playing summer sports:

  • Before playing organized sports, make sure you or your child receives a pre-participation physical exam, or PPE, performed by a doctor or a nurse practitioner or qualified clinician under the supervision of a physician. Whomever performs the exam, the same practices should be followed including the need for a medical history.
  • Ensure you’re warming-up and cooling down.  Stretching before and after practices and games can release muscle tension and help prevent sports-related injuries, such as muscle tears or sprains, and ensure bone and joint health.
  • Encourage your athletes to drinks fluids (water is the best option) 30 minutes before the activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity in order to stay hydrated.  Even if the child isn’t thirsty, insist he/she drink water.
  • Know the signs of dehydration.  Even mild dehydration can affect your child’s athletic performance and make him/her lethargic and irritable. Left untreated, dehydration increases the risk of other heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
  • Don’t over-train.  According to BodyBuilder.com, “Along with persistent fatigue, you may be also experiencing these symptoms of overtraining:”
    • Persistent muscle soreness
    • Elevated resting heart rate
    • Increased susceptibility to infections
    • Increased incidence of injuries
    • Irritability
    • Depression
    • Loss of motivation
    • Insomnia
    • Decreased appetite
    • Weight loss
  • If you – or your child – do over-train, rest.  To see improvement in one’s strength and fitness you must rest. The rest period following hard training is a magical process which takes at least 36 hours to complete. By skimping on rest, complete regeneration cannot occur.  If the amount of training continues to exceed the rest period, however, the individual’s performance will plateau and decline.

About Fitness for Health:

Do you or your child want an athletic edge for fall sports? Want to train like a professional athlete?

Try EDGE Training – Athletic Performance Development to improve hand-eye coordination, visual reaction time, peripheral awareness, agility, balance, proprioception and athletic conditioning utilizing the latest in exergaming technology.  All are areas that will make the difference – and give you the EDGE during game time.

Call 301-231-7138 to register for a FREE tour or attend our Open House on Sunday, August 5, from 5pm – 6pm.

Depression and Obesity

Depression has long been linked to obesity and weight gain.

In a review paper published in Translational Psychiatry, Professor Julio Licinio of the Department of Psychiatry at Flinders University in Australia and his colleagues point to animal studies carried out by his team in recent years that suggest there is a link between obesity, high fat diets and prior exposure to fluoxetine (the ingredient of Prozac) and imipramine.

Mounting evidence suggests the link between popular antidepressants and obesity should be investigated more closely, Australian researchers say.

Professor Licinio and his colleagues argue antidepressants could have a delayed effect on the weight management of people who eat high fat diets. “This is very worrisome because the number of people who have been exposed to antidepressants in the general population is immense,” Professor Licinio said.

If you’ve read my blogs over the last couple of years, you know that I’m a big proponent of using exercise to combat depression.  Scientific research also backs me up.

A study, published in JAMA Psychiatry, relied on a 1958 birth cohort from England, Scotland and Wales to examine the associations between physical activity and symptoms of depression over a span of 50 years for more than 10,000 people.

The study reaffirmed what prior research had suggested: “Routine physical activity appeared to reduce the likelihood of depressive symptoms and depression. Their relatively novel contribution was to note the reciprocal association: Depressive symptoms seemed to reduce the likelihood of current or future physical activity as well.”

Want to preserve your mind’s cognitive abilities? Exercise.

Scientists have found that regular participation in aerobic exercise has been shown to decrease overall levels of tension, elevate and stabilize mood, improve sleep, and improve self-esteem. Even five minutes of aerobic exercise can stimulate anti-anxiety effects and help to ward off cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and help improve memory.

Routine physical activity can help prevent depression and stabilize mood, which in turn contributes to the motivation needed to keep exercising. So, exercising can improve your mental and physical health alike.

So, what are you waiting for?

To learn how Fitness for Health can help you improve your mind-body connection utilizing state-of-the-art fitness technology, visit www.FitnessForHealth.org or call 301-231-7138.

Walking Your Way to Weight Loss

Walking is the simplest, cheapest and most convenient way to exercise, but a new study suggests there’s actually a magic number of steps to aim for if you’re truly looking to shed pounds while walking.

As written in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, data included each participant’s age, BMI, heart rate, and breathing rate so they could learn of any correlation between walking and overall health.

Is there a “magic number of steps”?  According to the study’s co-author, Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke, the answer is yes.  100 steps per minute (about 2.7 miles per hour) is the magic formula for it to be considered moderate exercise, where your heart rate increases by 50 to 70 percent. When you break it down, it’s just under 2 steps per second, which definitely sounds doable for a healthy individual. She states, “This rate applies to anyone under the age of 60.  Currently, federal guidelines say that Americans should exercise at least for 30 minutes each day, so you’ll need to ensure that you get those 3,000 steps in within that time period.”

So, turn up the intensity of a walk and burn more calories quicker with these simple habits:

  • Walk faster. People often wonder how you might burn more calories per mile at slow speeds. This is because you are basically stopping and starting with each step and your momentum isn’t helping to carry you along. Your body walks more efficiently at moderate speeds. Meanwhile, at very high walking speeds you are using more muscle groups with arm motion and with a racewalking stride. Brisk walking, at a pace that makes it tough to talk, which means at least two miles in 30 minutes, is a good way to lose weight and maintain weight management while athletic training. Your goal should be to work out at about 75 percent of your maximum heart rate. (To calculate your target heartbeats per minute, subtract your age from 220, and then multiply that number by 0.705.)
  • Add incline. Walk up a hill or stairs to add cardiovascular conditioning and athletic training to your workout.  This not only increases your calorie expenditure but also tones the muscles in your buttocks and thighs because it demands more from your legs.
  • Walk with a buddy. Activities – especially athletic training – is always more fun with a friend. Research confirms that a support system helps maintain long-term, weight management.
  • Find a fun walking partner. According to 30 Tips When You’re Walking for Weight Loss by Eat This Not That!, “It’s no joke: genuine laughter may cause a 10–20 percent increase in basal energy expenditure and resting heart-rate, according to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity. That means a 10-15 minute giggle fest could burn up 40 to 170 calories.”
  • Stay hydrated. According to a study in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, staying hydrated helped healthy people burn more calories. The research states, “Drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%.” So, remember to drink water while walking and burn calories quicker.

Regular exercise – especially walking – is beneficial for people of all ages.  Exercise helps to improve muscle and joint flexibility and keeps your heart healthy while improving bone and joint health.  It also can improve sleep and helps to maintain weight management.

Fitness for Health creates unique exercise programs based on a person’s individual fitness goals.  Want to lose weight or maintain weight management as an adult or combat childhood obesity?  Interested in toning your body?  Aspiring to improve your athletic edge?  No problem!  Whether you are a child or a senior citizen, Fitness for Health can you help you and your loved ones reach your full potential.

Can Exercise Slow Brain Aging?

From early adulthood, memory and other aspects of cognition slowly decline.  The rate of decline in certain aspects of memory may be explained by a combination of overall physical fitness and the stiffness of the central arteries, researchers from Swinburne’s Centre for Human Psychopharmacology have found.

A study to be published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease considers the mechanisms underlying cognitive performance in older people living independently.  Lead author, PhD candidate Greg Kennedy, says, “Exactly why this occurs is unclear, but research indicates that exercise and physical fitness are protective.  A healthier, more elastic aorta is also theorized to protect cognitive function, by reducing the negative effects of excessive blood pressure on the brain.”

You’re never too old to increase your level of physical activity and exercise!  Any exercise that gets the heart pumping may reduce the risk of dementia and slow the condition’s progression once it starts.  So, fitness for seniors is especially important!

Are you overwhelmed by how to begin a fitness program?  Do you think you need a personal trainer?  Do you feel that exercise may feel like a chore?  Maintaining physical fitness can be easy – and fun!

  • Include your grandchildren in your new active lifestyle. Play catch or walk to the playground and push your grandkids on the swings.
  • Have a pet? Taking your four-legged companion on a brisk walk is a fun way to increase your heart rate and improve circulation.
  • Listen to your favorite song and dance for a few minutes! Be careful that your “dance floor” is clear of objects and that you have adequate room to “boogie.”
  • As the leaves – and branches – continue to fall during the unending rainstorms, increase cardiovascular endurance by raking leaves and picking up sticks. The raking motion will strengthen your arms and lifting the bags of leaves provides weight training.
  • Instead of working out for 30-minutes, try breaking fitness activities into three 10-minute “mini workouts” throughout the day. Begin your new exercise program slowly with moderate exercise and work your way up to more vigorous and challenging activities.

Regular exercise is beneficial for people of all ages.  Exercise helps to improve muscle and joint flexibility and keeps your heart healthy.  It also can improve sleep and helps to maintain a healthy weight.

As you age, staying active mentally is just as important as staying active physically.  At Fitness for Health, we can help you achieve both. Our unique approach to senior wellness focuses on helping you strengthen and maintain the skills that other workouts often overlook – including gross motor skills, mental processing, visual motor skills, personal training, group fitness classes and bone and joint health.  To learn more about our senior wellness programs, visit www.FitnessForHealth.org or call 301-231-7138.

Injuries in Youth Sports During Summer

Is your child following the FIFA World Cup? Have the games inspired him or her to up her soccer skills?

According to Medical News Today’s “Young Athletes: Injuries and Prevention,” James R. Andrews, a former president of the American Society for Sports Medicine (AOSSM), states, “The United States has experienced a tremendous rise in the number of young people taking up sport. Estimates show 3.5 million children aged 14 and under receive medical treatment for sport-related injuries, while high-school athletes account for another 2 million a year.”

“This makes sports the leading cause of adolescent injury. Along with time away from school and work, these injuries can have far-reaching effects,” said Andrews.

I think it’s important for kids to excel in sports and love the simple pursuit of play – while protecting kids health. One of the most important ways to promote this is to reduce the number of kids being sidelined from sports-related injuries. That’s why parents, coaches and young athletes should understand common sports injuries and how to prevent them.

In addition to founding Fitness for Health, a state-of-the-art, therapeutic, fitness facility in the Washington, DC, region, I have been a Certified Athletic Trainer for almost 30 years. Here are my suggestions for preparing kids for athletic training and the demands of playing summer sports:

  • Before playing organized sports, make sure your child receives a pre-participation physical exam, or PPE, performed by a doctor or a nurse practitioner or qualified clinician under the supervision of a physician. Whomever performs the exam, the same practices should be followed including the need for a medical history.
  • Ensure kids warm-up and cool down. Stretching before and after practices and games can release muscle tension and help prevent sports-related injuries, such as muscle tears or sprains, and ensure bone and joint health.
  • Encourage your athletes to drinks fluids (water is the best option) 30 minutes before the activity begins and every 15-20 minutes during activity in order to stay hydrated. Even if the child isn’t thirsty, insist he/she drink water.
  • Know the signs of dehydration. Even mild dehydration can affect your child’s athletic performance and make him/her lethargic and irritable. Left untreated, dehydration increases the risk of other heat-related illnesses, including heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heatstroke. Remind your child that he or she should report signs and symptoms to the coach right away. Don’t let embarrassment keep your child on the field. If dehydration is detected early, fluids and rest might be all that’s needed. If your child seems confused or loses consciousness, seek emergency care.

Would your child like to have an athletic edge on the court or field this summer?  Fitness for Health offers a unique program that is unlike any other athletic training and performance development program anywhere, EDGE Training!

Most athletes only train to improve their speed, strength, agility and conditioning.  That just isn’t enough.  Our one-on-one and group children’s athletic performance development program, EDGE Training, helps athletes at all levels develop the skills that give them an edge on—and off—the field, including gross and fine motor skills, mental processing and planning and visual motor skills.

React faster, improve hand-eye coordination, think faster and up your game using state-of-the-art exergaming equipment.  Learn more about Fitness for Health’s EDGE Training today!

10 Ideas to Combat Anxiety

Do you or a loved one suffer from anxiety?

A lot of people find it difficult to explain or control their anxiety. If you or know someone who has anxiety, you are not alone.

There are a lot of methods that can help to harness your emotions:

  1. Read a good book. Studies have shown that just six minutes of reading can reduce stress levels by up to 60%. That’s 68% better than listening to music, 100% better than drinking tea and 300% better than going for a walk. While relaxing with a great book isn’t a cure for anxiety, it can help you feel better while doing something you already love.
  2. Phone a friend. One of the most effective ways to combat anxiety is distraction, so call a good friend or family member and catch up when you’re feeling nervous.  This also has the added benefit of reminding yourself that you are needed and loved.
  3. Take time for yourself. Get a massage, a mani-pedi, or a haircut. Nothing says polished and well-maintained like a sexy, healthy glow.  If money is tight, look for a discount salon or a training school which offers quality services for people on a budget.  Who cares if they don’t serve peppermint tea on a silver tray — close your eyes and imagine that five-star service while you take in the pampering that you deserve – and need.
  4. Cut out caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and raises your heart beat in addition to making your thoughts hard to control. Do yourself a favor, and ditch the afternoon coffee.
  5. Dance like no one is watching. Dancing is not only great exercise but the endorphins also help you relax. No matter your age, dancing can be a joyful experience.
  6. Head to the playground. One of the happiest times of a person’s life is the carefree days of childhood. Relive your fondest memories by bonding with your kids and head to the playground.  Play on the slides, climb the monkey bars or see how high you can swing. Make lifelong memories with your kids while laughing and remembering what true happiness feels like.
  7. Digitally detox. It’s hard to imagine but you don’t actually need to check your texts as soon as you hear the beep or answer every phone call.  People have survived – and flourished – for hundreds of years without being accessible 24/7.  Create a set time to check social media or answer calls after work hours.  And, remember, it’s never a good idea to check emails right before bed because it’ll start your mind racing and you may not be able to stop yourself from planning the next day and worrying how you’ll be able to accomplish your to-do list.
  8. Try deep breathing. According to Psychology Today, “If you’re not focused on how to calm your body through slow, intentional belly-breathing, you’re missing out. Belly-breathing is free, location independent, and easy to implement.”  The publication suggests:
  • Sit with your eyes closed and turn your attention to your breathing. Breathe naturally, preferably through the nostrils, without attempting to control your breath.
  • Be aware of the sensation of the breath as it enters and leaves the nostrils. Place one hand on your belly, and the other on your chest. Take a deep breath for a count of four. Hold your breath for a count of three. Exhale for a count of four. The hand on your belly should go in as you inhale, and move out as you exhale.
  • Concentrate on your breath and forget everything else. Your mind will be very busy, and you may even feel that the meditationis making your mind busier, but the reality is you’re just becoming more aware of how busy your mind is.
  • Resist the temptation to follow the different thoughts as they arise, and focus on the sensation of the breath. If you discover that your mind has wandered and is following your thoughts, immediately return it to the breath.
  • Repeat this as many times as necessary until your mind settles on the breath.
    Don’t wait to begin belly-breathing. The sooner you make this a daily habit, the quicker you’ll feel relaxed.
  • When you implement belly-breathing, you start the day in a here-and-now state. Better yet, you’re not wasting time worrying about the future, or reliving the past.
  1. Laugh! Who doesn’t need a good laugh?  Laughing increases endorphins and lifts your mood while making you more accessible to people.  Would you rather hang out with someone who complains or someone who shares funny videos?
  2. Exercise.  Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise also has some direct stress-busting benefits.

 As the founder and owner of Fitness for Health, a therapeutic exercise facility assisting children through senior citizens to reach their full potential by using innovative exergaming technology to make fitness fun, I’ve learned that virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever.  If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.

According to the Mayo Clinic, “Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often referred to as a runner’s high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature hike also can contribute to this same feeling.”  After a fast-paced game of basketball or several laps around your favorite mall, you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements.

As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.

Additionally, regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.

About Fitness for Health:

Fitness for Health creates unique exercise programs based on a person’s individual fitness goals.  Do you want to lose weight, focus on weight management as an adult or combat childhood obesity?  Interested in toning your body?  Aspiring to improve your athletic edge?  No problem!  Whether you are a child or a senior citizen, Fitness for Health can you help you and your loved ones reach your full potential.