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Category Archives for "I Want to Feel Better"
10

Is Stress Making You Fat?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Stress, Weight Gain, and Strategies to Lose Fat are Connected

Stress, Floating Anxiety, and a Thailand Beast at White Temple

Stressed out and feeling beastly?

Stress affects all species. Most humans have a good idea of their stress levels and whether the stress is helpful (such as exercise) or harmful (such as an injury). As well, we human personages can distinguish between Chronic and Acute Stress. Interesting to note is that we tend to handle major stressors better than micro ones.

When it comes to weight gain and fat accumulation, chronic stress is the problem. In short, chronic stress triggers a cascade of hormonal reactions that tell your body to store fat, create more fat, and swell up. Yes, long term stress increases both number and size of fat cells. As fat cells increase in size, they increase chronic inflammation, which triggers more hormonal reactions, all leading to more fat. Aaaaarrrggggh!

Getting caught in this cycle can be very … well, um … stressful! Keep reading and take a relaxing breath as we look at ways to decrease fat that stress may have added to your “friend’s” figure.

Recently Alexandra and I attended and spoke at the IDEA Personal Training Institute. One of the many stellar sessions we attended was Professor Len Kravitz’s talk “Stress, Obesity, and Cortisol.” He offered key insights on stress and fat collecting — the collection we don’t want to inherit, pay too much for, nor store for posterity (in posteriors).

First off, bad news and some Fat Facts:

  • More women than men are obese because of menopause (not really bad news for men).
  • We now know our bodies can make more fat cells at any age. We used to think we added fat cells only at certain times in life, such as gestation and puberty.
  • Fat cells can swell up to three to six times their minimum size. Oh, swell! Those cells are unwell!
  • “Normal” weight adults have about 40 billion fat cells; overweight people may have as many as 80 billion. Yes, DOUBLE! The odds are really stacked against the stressed out.

Now for some good news and Fit Facts:

  • Relaxing in the Sleeping Buddha position

    Exercise Your Right to Relax and Destress

    We really don’t gain a lot of weight over the holidays. The average is about one pound … per holiday season, so pack light for the upcoming 4th of July!

  • Two super duper interventions that really work to unpack fat are exercise and destressing. No kidding, Sherlock. (Yes, I heard you thinking that all the way from here.) What Dr. Kravitz emphasized is our need to shift our thinking from all or nothing strategies to ones that are more realistic and flexible.
Destressing with Alexandra in Thailand

Aaaaahhh, Bliss Out, Le Freak, C’est Chic

The plan? First, implement the 4 F words of Weight Management and Lower Stress Levels

  1. Have a Flexible approach when creating your workout program. For instance, maybe morning routines don’t work for you, though you’ve heard that early bird exercisers tend to be more consistent. Or your favorite cardio machine is taken. Try a different piece of cardio equipment or an aerobic class. Look for what fits YOU. Today. With each day up for a renewable contract.
  2. Remind yourself that you are not a Failure if you lapse.
  3. Forgive yourself for any unmet goals or expectations.
  4. Fix what’s not working — without blame or self criticism.

As Dr. Kravitz stated, “Learning to lose weight is a skill, just like learning to ride a bike.” He recommends that we use the same strategies as proven, successful weight losers. Referring to the work of Dr. James Hill, who founded the National Weight Loss Registry, Dr. Kravitz highlights the actions in common of those who lose fat (and keep it off):

Successful Fat Losers:

Sleep Helps Reduce Stress

Dog Days of Slumber

  • Stay or become physically active
  • Log 250-300 minutes per week of aerobic activity
  • Limit and monitor dietary intake
  • Accept realistic weight goals
  • Eat a healthy breakfast
  • Schedule meals and exercise thereby staying consistent with both
  • Limit fast food
  • Eat some favorite foods without guilt
  • Accept their body shape
  • Confront problems rather than eat to cope
  • Recognize that weight control is ongoing

Got all that? You now have THE ULTIMATE list of what it takes to lose fat. So relax. And exercise. Then relax some more.

Call to hire Kymberly and Alexandra with this telephone

Call us. We’re dialed in.

Do you or your colleagues need professional, motivating speakers to edu-tain audiences at your next event? Call us at (805) 404-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

A good laugh also reduces stress. So check out this interview of Kymberly from BiteSizeWellness. Spread the Wellness with us!

 

22

Women Over 50: Some Days Just Suck – Angst, Exercise & Optimism

Alexandra Williams, MA
I am SO becoming!

I am SO becoming!

Some days, being a woman over 50 sucks. I would describe myself as happy and optimistic. I have a good life. I work at things I enjoy. My kids are easy to love and live with. Yet lately I wake up tired and feeling beaten down, and don’t know why.

It’s like I’m stuck in a Cheech and Chong skit The first day on my vacation, I woke up. Then, I went downtown to look for job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore. The second day on my summer vacation, I woke up, then I went downtown to look for a job. Then I hung out in front of the drugstore. The third day… (If you don’t get that 1972 reference, you are not a boomer). I’m not depressed or sad or weepy or pessimistic or grumpy or or or… But I’m off. Instead of feeling like I am a participant in my world, I feel like the world is happening around me.

I was thinking it might be hormones or menopause, yet nothing seems to be different. In any case, I decided last night that I’d had enough of waiting. Waiting for my usual energy or cheeriness or joie de vivre to return. Instead of waking up sort of rumbly and angsty, I decided to shake things up a bit. The relationship between exercise and moodis well-established, so I gave myself the same advice I’d give to a client – get moving!

Let a little light shine on my hike

Let a little light shine on my hike

And so I did. I got up at 0600 and got a ride to the bottom of the mountain pass near my home, then hiked up to the top. As part of a sponsored Under Armour challenge I had declared a goal of hiking up this pass, so I figured getting up super early (for me) would be an added achievement. Besides, it’s easy to spot the mood-elevating endolphins swimming around the harbor that early in the morning!!!

Endolphins

Endolphins

hahahah it’s a joke – these neurotransmitters are really called endorphins, and they are like happy pills, except they are created by your own body and no pills are involved. According to Dr. William Sears, we are our own pharmacology site.

What I learned as I walked up the hill this morning:
* the nasty black flies aren’t out in massive numbers early in the morning
* lots of cars come down the winding road at that time
* the views are amazing, especially as the sun comes over the hills
* the people driving those cars like to wave hello
* it’s as steep as I believed it to be
* it was easier than I expected
* being outside on a gorgeous day, with amazing views, good music in my ears and my body movin’ and groovin’ works perfectly as a mood-enhancer.

I'm almost there. I hope someone made breakfast.

I’m almost there. I hope someone made breakfast.

No wonder I don’t need any medications (my doc is always amazed, due to “my age,” which is actually kind of scary in its implications) – I have hiking in my veins, so there’s no room for artificial stimulants in them! In any case, I cheered right up and have been productive all morning. The only thing is…I’ve completed my What’s Beautiful goal. So I guess I’ll change it and go up, then back down the mountain. If that comes too easily, I’ll do it without stopping for pictures every few minutes! Pssst, that What’s Beautiful link is to my profile in case you want to follow my progress.

Now turn around and do it again

Now turn around and do it again

I have a question for all of you, especially the boomer women – do you ever get into a mood rut, where you just can’t find your mojo, or passion, or gumption, or meaning, or even your special purpose (alert: 1979 Steve Martin reference)? What did you do to get out of it? I want to copy your ideas in case I get sick of that hike.

By the way, when I’m not being a grumpus, I like to have fun. If you want to know how I define “fun,” you’ll have to read the interview at Bite Size Wellness.

We are professional writers, speakers and editors. Do you need our services? Please contact us at info@funandfit.org.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google++Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Photo credit: Dolphins  ryn413.

8

Exercise, Food, Weight Loss & Menopause (and Water for People): Notes From the IDEA Personal Trainer Institute:

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

What are some of the important upcoming fitness trends? What does the latest research indicate is the “best” way to get and stay healthy? Can someone really give you a cold or are you taking the cold from them? And what do menopause and HIIT have in common?

Kymberly at IDEA PTI West 2013At the recent IDEA Personal Trainer Institute, which Kymberly and I attended (and spoke at), we covered a variety of topics relevant to you and your fitness goals. At past fitness conventions we’ve listened to speakers who are so cutting-edge that they are called quacks…until their information turns out to be accurate and helpful.

So put on your “duck” shoes and let’s waddle through some of the information and posts we gathered from a number of presenters and colleagues. Read the linked posts so that you can be fully ahead of the rest of the gaggle (is that what they call a group of ducks?).

 

From “Boosting Your Immunity” with Teri Mosey, PhD
* For every thought you have, you release a chemical that goes to the rest of your body. What do you think happens to your body with repeated thought?
* Ninety percent of your thoughts today are the same as yesterday’s.
* We have a second brain, called the “enteric” brain.
* We have more brain cells in our stomachs than in our neo-cortex.
* Every 7-10 years we are physically a new person.
* You are the age you think your body is (I’m 39. I’m 39. I’m 39. I think I can. I think I can.)
* Most of us are too acidic and need more alkaline. Cancer cells grow in acidic space.
* Habitual coffee drinkers are more prone to osteoporosis and have become too acidic.
* You know what the Standard American Diet is – S.A.D.!
* 3-minute or poached eggs are anti-inflammatory; once the yoke is hard, it’s pro-inflammatory.
* Our emotions are not from the brain, but produced at the cellular level.

Kymberly wrote a post about falling – fears and injuries – from a full-day session she attended, which has some very helpful information.
* Thirty-three percent of older adults fall every year.
* Women break arm bones; men break their heads.
* People use the A.S.H. strategies to maintain balance (you have to click the link to know what ASH stands for)
* You need more core work.

Getting brekkie with fitness colleague Pamela Hernandez at IDEA PTI West

Getting brekkie with fitness colleague Pamela Hernandez at IDEA PTI West

Our FitFluential colleague Pamela Hernandez wrote an excellent post entitled Fit Tips from IDEA Personal Trainer Institute West about two philosophies she sees in the fitness industry – one is to stick to traditional, government-recommended standards, while the other emphasizes just getting people to move a little more. As a person who embraces technology, Hernandez welcomes its further blending with fitness. Oh, and she liked our session on social media. Twitter Shout Outs to her for that!

In the post Breaking the Barriers to Exercise, Jacquie Scarlett expounds on the need to make exercise more approachable to the average person. In one section she states, “The fitness industry is not designed to meet the needs of the sedentary population because the fitness industry’s idea of exercise is too high.”
Jacquie’s post really makes us wonder what it would take to get you to like exercise if you currently don’t.
* Is rolling a ball across the floor considered exercise?
* Do you think exercise is different than daily movement?

menopauseHayley Hollander gave a workshop on programming for peri- and post-menopausal women.
* When our hormones are out of balance, we end up with excess cortisol.
* Excess cortisol causes us to eat more (among other not fun things).
* We need to do exercise that doesn’t exacerbate the amount of cortisol in our system.
* Meaning…High Intensity Interval Training
* High Intensity does not mean High Impact, so jumping until your uterus falls out is not necessary!

On an unrelated note, while you’re not jumping (unless it’s for joy), exercise your right to help me with a water awareness campaign I’m participating in please. BLANCO America is supporting a “Water for People” campaign via Pinterest. I believe water inequality is one of the most reprehensible and avoidable human conditions in the world today. Everyone deserves access to potable, pure water. Feel free to Like my pins while you’re there. That’s the spirit!
Oh, if you view this video before May 30, BLANCO will contribute a dollar for every view to “Water for People.”
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0ogoIOCeos&feature=player_embedded[/youtube] Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google++Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Have a Clicky, Fit day!

8

Fun Fitness Solutions

Post by Emma Franklin – Fun Fitness Solutions

This is a post by Emma Franklin from The Training Room, a company in the United Kingdom that offers accredited personal training courses. Emma is from Manchester, England, and graduated from the London School of Economics. She has a British accent, which you can hear in your mind when you read the word “fancy.” A keen fitness enthusiast, she regularly represents Lancashire for badminton.

Kymberly PaddleboardingAs winter disappears and the sun makes an appearance, we start to dream about the summer holidays. Although the thought of summer can bring excitement and happy anticipation, some of us also get caught up in worrying about being “beach beautiful.” We’ve all been there. Not only do we want to feel our best, during summer in particular we want to look our best. Well, concern yourself no longer, as I’m here with some fun fitness solutions to get you ready for summer.

personal trainersPersonal Training

A great way to get into shape in time for your summer holiday adventures is to become a personal trainer. Taking you out of the office environment and learning a range of different skills, becoming a trainer is a fantastic means of avoiding the 9-5 humdrum of life whilst getting fit at the same time. Perfect for all ages and employment backgrounds, from graduates to single mothers, this career is ideal for those looking for a profession with a difference. Fancy helping others and yourself at the same time? Then personal training could be for you.

Salsa dancingSalsa Dancing

If changing your career to get fit doesn’t suit you, then why not opt for an exercise class instead? In particular, salsa dancing! If you’re a fan of busting a move on the dance floor, then why not make it a hobby and get your body beach-ready at the same time? It’s a great way to socialise and could just take an hour out of your weekly schedule; it’s completely up to you. There are plenty of salsa classes in most towns, so why not try one of them? You never know, you might discover that you have a hidden talent!

working out with a hula hoopHula hooping

Remember when you were little and had boundless energy? Well, why not try and recreate that by opting for exercises from your childhood? For instance, hula hooping. You may not realise this, but hula hooping can work wonders on abdominal muscles, and it’s good fun too! All that time you spent in the back garden having spinning competitions with your favourite hoop, you didn’t realise that you were secretly keeping those abs in check, did you? According to some experts hula hopping can burn as many calories as completing a step aerobics class. Choose weighted hoops as opposed to the thinner ones, and I guarantee you’ll notice a difference in no time.

We hope you’ll consider all three of these suggestions. As trainers and instructors ourselves, we love being part of an industry that gets to help others become healthier and happier. And staying “summer sexy” is a bonus! If only we could speak with an authentic British accent! 

What new activities are you considering for summer?

Photo credits: CreativeCommons.org Hula hooper  heathermiasays, salsa dancing  Saffron 59

Disclosure: We were compensated by Carat Media for this post. We are 100% supportive of exercise, personal training, 3rd party accredited courses for personal trainers, and companies that have the same vision and ethics as we do. Exercise for all, and all for exercise. Now get a-moving!

Dance or hoop your way over to these links —-> and subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? Please also follow us on google++Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

25

Midlife Fitness and Health Lessons from My Dog

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Kila Evans, WP (Wonder Pooch)

Tips to a More Fit, Happier Life: Advice From a Dog

Best dog posing on tree stump

Top Dog Advisor to Boom Chicka Boomers

Dog lovers among you (including non-dog owners who love people who love dogs. Still with me?) — what words would you use to describe a dog you love? Enthusiastic? Loyal? Patient? Energetic? Cuddly? Optimistic? Aren’t these all great attributes that contribute to a healthy, happy, active you as well? Today, as I was walking my dog empty nest replacement, Kila I started thinking about how we humans could emulate a dog’s outlook to increase our Boom Chicka Boomer midlife quality.

Since I fashion myself as the ultimate dog and kitty whisperer (sorry, horses, but I am a little intimidated by you), I interpreted Kila’s daily thoughts to share. If we take her approach, we might just improve our fitness, health, and mood. Move over menopause; time for puppy paws!

Kila: Morning wake-up time? How exciting! This day looks like it’s going to be the Best One Ever!

I'm Outstanding in My Field!

I’m Outstanding in My Field!

Suggestion: Do a mood and energy check as you wake up. What thoughts go through your mind as you transition from sleep to wake; from lying down to rising to greet the day? I find that if I literally spring out of bed and go into another room, my day starts well and continues on that path. If I have my iPhone near my bed and start checking email, then the morning slips away from me while my mood shifts to feeling overwhelmed. With Kila’s approach, both my body and my mood get up and make for a better day!

Kila: Walk time? I love walks! Always something to see, smell, check out, and enjoy.

Suggestion: Walking, whether outdoors, at a local mall, or indoors on cardio equipment is an easy, no cost, comfortable way to add more activity into your day. Walking, powerwalking, dogwalking all lead to:

  • increased lifespan
  • improved cardiovascular health
  • weight loss
  • uplifted mood
  • enhanced mental acuity

Click on the links to learn more about how easy it is to reap the benefits of walking. Plus get some Fun Fit Facts and Stats you can use to impress yourself and others (when out taking a walk, hinty hint). Walk Your Way to Weight Loss, Health, and Fitness and Sneak in Stats When Walking Briskly for Calorie Burn.

Kila: I love to run! Go dog go! Or is that “go me go?” Every so often, I just gotta run my fastest and hardest even if just for a minute or two.

Run Forrest, Run (or is that Run, Beach, Run)

Run Forrest, Run (or is that Run, Beach, Run)

Suggestion: Follow Kila’s lead (get it?), and perform some HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training). HIIT is the most effective method for raising your metabolic rate and losing weight. In short, alternate your cardio workouts between high intensity, all out sprints lasting 20-120 seconds with active rest lasting 60 seconds to 5 minutes depending on your goals, fitness level, and intensity level of your sprint interval. Total HIIT cardio workout time lasts as short as 5 minutes or as long as 30. If you can go longer, then your high intensity intervals were not high enough and need to come up. Think of Kila or a dog you know who runs FULL OUT for a short burst, then reverts to a lope or trot. Kila calls this “bird chasing time” not HIIT and she’s one lean, fast, happy gal!

As for me, I am finally taking my own advice (check out our post: Crank Up Your Metabolism) and adding 15 minute HIIT workouts to my weekly routine starting three days’ ago. Knowing me, I have to schedule these bursts after teaching my group fitness classes otherwise I will procrastinate. Stay tuned to our posts to see whether these elliptical cardio add-ins start pulling off the midlife ell-bees I put on. (Thank you hormones!)

Kila: I love my sleep time. When I curl up on my bed I conk right out, sleep deeply for a little bit, then wake up ready to go dog go!

Dog doing push ups

Just whipping out a few Pawshups

Suggestion: Aim for 7-8 hours’ sleep per night. If you cannot manage that, then give yourself permission, time, and place to take a nap. Nappers and good sleepers tend to be more creative, have better memory and cognitive skills, and keep weight off more successfully than those who are sleep deprived. Even a 6 minute nap brings benefits. Read more about it by clicking Sleep Your Way to A Better Brain and Body. Does Kila ever feel guilty or ambivalent about taking a nap or two or thirteen each day? Nevah! Walk-run-eat-drink-poop-sleep-repeat.

Kila listening

I’m All Ears (and Nose)

Kila: I understand my people better if I focus solely on them when they talk to me.

Suggestion: Note to self — try this with the hubster, loved ones, friends, colleagues, and pretty much everyone I talk with today. I know I like it when I feel listened to with intent and attention.

Kila: If the cats want the food I left in my bowl, that’s ok with me. I ate the amount I wanted and am not hungry anymore.

Suggestion: If you are a member of the Clean Plate club, do not renew your dues. Stop eating slightly before you feel full. (Who else was raised with the phrase “Think of the poor children starving in China.”) If you are done eating, stop even if you still have food left. (If Kila is still hungry, she’ll clean your plate for you and skip her kibbly bits.)

Kila walking at Lake los Carneros

Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

Kila: Water is sooooo delicious and my “go to” drink.

Suggestion: Not soda, not lattes, not sugary “juice drink” which is not really juice. Water up first then look at other beneficial drink options.

Kila: Treats? I love treats, even the ones my guardians call healthy. (Sure wish they’d let me have some chocolate once in a while though. Something about it not being safe for me).

Suggestion: Forget guilt. If you’ve followed Kila’s “advice” you don’t need to berate or deny yourself that occasional treat to still be healthy, fit, and happy.

Kila: I love people; I love things that fly; I love other dogs that like to race; I love my guardians; I love letting them all know that I love them by licking them and running up to them with enthusiasm and excitement and adoration in my eyes.

Suggestion: How do you let the people you love know that every day? Words? Actions? (Probably best to skip licking and jumping up on your loved ones though). I can definitely learn from Kila in this area. (Love you family and friends reading this! Wagging tail as I type).

Kila: When called, I come.

Question: Who or What is calling you? Are you able to listen and follow that calling? If not, come walk with Kila and me. She’ll inspire you! ‘Nuff said. Or more accurately “Ruff,” my wonder pooch said.

I'm Outstanding in My Field

“Does this collar hide my neck wattle?” thought Kila never.

Dog on mountain boulders

I’m Dog of the Mountain!

Readers: If you like animals (and it is National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month) then you might enjoy this fun and fit cat exercise post. Click the link purrfectly!: Animal Desire.

Hark and bark! It’s time to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see short videos that will improve your fitness. Have you subscribed yet to our blog? (Are you waiting until it’s no longer National Prevention of Cruelty to Animals month?)  Please also follow us on google+ +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

Please also share, RT, and comment. We’ll wag our tails for you out of appreciation and happiness!

6

Yoga for Boomer Women: Guest post by Lexi Yoga

Today’s guest post comes from Lexi Yoga, a certified yoga instructor from Toronto who loves hot yoga, traveling the world and living in the present moment. We met her last year at the Fitness Health Bloggers Conference in Denver, which she attended with her mom. So we suppose they both like to travel! With a 200-hour Hatha Yoga Teacher’s Training and a 30-hour Yin Yoga Certification, we are excited that Lexi is sharing her knowledge to address some of the specific benefits that yoga provides to boomer women.Lida Padro, aka Lexi Yoga

 If you are a woman in your late 40s and above, you are probably at the age when you focus more on self-care, knowing that you are entering the part of your life when it’s important to feel comfortable in your body. By this age, you may be concerned about your quality of life, and the confidence and self-esteem boost that comes from taking good care of yourself. Yoga is a great way to look and feel more beautiful from the inside out. To invest in your health is the best retirement plan you can create, and it is never too late to begin.

Confidence
Yoga can transform you into a more confident woman who’s not afraid to meet life’s challenges. Not only will you become stronger, more flexible, and more agile, but yoga will also affect your mind as you cultivate patience. Yoga can help prepare you to face life’s changes with love, respect, and belief in yourself, and will strengthen you in all the choices you make.

Through yoga, you will learn to listen more to yourself, and trust your self-assessments. As you set the boundaries that work for this phase of life, you will hone your ability to take one day at a time and stay at the present moment. Not tomorrow or yesterday, but now.

Yoga takes your values and thoughts and turns them upside down. If you’ve harbored negative thoughts about yourself, you’ll find yourself becoming a more positive person who values the experiences life has to offer.

Yoga for Boomer WomenSelf Esteem
In the past, women approaching their 50’s lowered their expectations of what their bodies could do. Perhaps due to cultural pressures and perceptions, women’s self-esteem at this age could suffer. Stress adds tension, especially at the shoulders and neck, which can affect breathing. Once women learn to breathe deeply, their shoulders relax and you can see them start to settle into their own bodies as they learn how to use their entire lungs when they breathe.

No matter what age we are, we have to believe that we are good enough just the way we are. It has to be repeated over and over so that it manifests itself in the mind, because it is the truth. We have to accept and love ourselves for who we are. We don’t need to be perfect – we just have to like who we are. But we sometimes need a little bit of help, because the pressure from the external world is powerful. Yoga can be that friend that provides help.

Yoga is a powerful practice that encourages wellbeing on so many levels. It enables us to age with grace and beauty, and makes the aging process more pleasurable and meaningful.

If you are new to yoga and don’t know where to begin, the following video is for you. It is a sequence of 8 yoga postures specifically for beginners.

More cool info about Lexi: She instructs Yoga videos on her YouTube channel and actively works on her website LexiYoga.com. Her life mainly consists of – Eat, Sleep & Yoga. Follow her to learn more about the healing power and benefits of yoga.

Website: http://www.lexiyoga.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lexiyoga
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/LexiYoga/188241698251?v
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/lexiyoga

Photo Credits: Lexi Yoga


4

This Baby Boomer is Blooming: Guest Post by Mary McManus

Guest Post from Mary McManus

Mary is stopping by with a healthy “Hi” while we’re out of town. You will enjoy her story. You will laugh. You will cry. You will want to friend her on Facebook. You have to read to discover why.

Mary when she left the VAIn December of 2006, at the age of 53, I was given the life altering diagnosis of post polio syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular condition. A survivor of paralytic polio at age 5 and traumatic childhood events, the years of despising my challenged body finally caught up with me. Over there <——– is a picture of me in December of 2007. I’m smiling because I had just quit my full time award-winning career as a social worker at the Department of Veterans Affairs to heal my life, and had published my first book of inspirational poetry. Deep down in my soul I knew that great things were waiting for me on the other side of my office door and my diagnosis.

“When you get a diagnosis, don’t play to the result, take it day by day.” – Michael J Fox

After being discharged from outpatient treatment, I hired a personal trainer. Oh my goodness, do I ever remember my first session with her. I was so weak and deconditioned that I couldn’t even complete parts of the assessment. By the second session, it was game on. Everything hurt after we finished, but I had made a decision. If I was going to feel pain, I might as well experience pain on the side of health and strength, rather than the pain of disuse and being sedentary.

Mary McManus doing yoga tree pose

By February of 2008, I had met and surpassed my trainer’s initial goals for me. She asked what my next goals would now be. “Oh,” I answered, “I’d like to feel free in my body, go outside and take a walk, dance ….” She feverishly wrote down these goals. Her bag was packed and her hand on the door knob when I said, “Oh, there’s one more goal to add. I want to run the Boston Marathon.” That was quite a leap from having an initial goal of being able to get up off of a low seat.

On April 20 2009, 7 hours and 49 minutes after the gun went off in Hopkinton, Massachusetts, I crossed the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon as a mobility impaired runner and raised $10,535 for Spaulding Rehab Hospital, where I had taken the first steps on my healing journey. My daughter and husband ran by my side every step of the way – from the grueling training through the winter of 2009 and the 26.2 mile course.

After running the marathon, my symptoms recurred, so I went back into outpatient treatment. In January of 2011 I came to my yoga mat. In May of 2011, I discovered the healing power of a form of body work called Structural Integration. For more information you can visit Anatomy Trains. From our second session, my body worker, David Vendetti talked to me about what happens in yoga teacher training. I was there for body work. “What does any of this have to do with yoga teacher training,” I would repeatedly ask myself.

Mary McManus2

I soon found out. On January 13, 2013 – don’t you love the lucky number 13 – I ran the 113th Boston Marathon and graduated from yoga teacher training. I am now a certified yoga teacher.

I bring all the gifts and treasures of wisdom I have learned on my healing journey to others through teaching yoga. At the age of 59, I feel more vibrant, healthy and fully present in my body than ever before. And as for that progressive neuromuscular disease that was going to get a lot worse with age – well, they say one picture is worth a thousand words, so consider this picture an essay!

Mary McManus Sun Salutation

This baby boomer is blooming!

To find out more about Mary, follow her blog and YouTube channel. To purchase her books of inspirational poetry, visit her author page on Amazon .

Mary McManus teaching yoga

14

Yoga Offers Freedom, Even From Internment Camp Hardships

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA

Yoga Legacy, Phyllis PilgrimWhat can yoga do for you, especially if you face challenges, stress, and negative forces? What if you had spent 3 1/2 years in a Japanese prison camp as a child? Could yoga help rid your mind and body from such experiences? Yoga and meditation master teacher, Phyllis Pilgrim is living proof of the healing power of yoga.  Her story is so inspirational that we interviewed her for our Fun and Fit radio show.

Rancho la Puerta entry door

Enter Rancho la Puerta through these doors to Balance, Compassion, and Yoga

We met Phyllis 28 years ago when we were newbie guest instructors at Rancho la Puerta Fitness Resort, located just south of the border in Tecate, Mexico. At the time we knew her as the Group Fitness Director and well loved and respected yoga teacher. But we knew very little about yoga except that it seemed for the fringe and oohie woohie sorts, nor that Phyllis had lived in many countries and through war horrors. She was always so nurturing, funny, warm, and positive that we never imagined her history. That fact alone bespeaks the effect that yoga and meditation can have.

The Hidden Passport

The Hidden Passport

Bring some of those same positive feelings into your practice by listening to Phyllis’s story.  Can’t wait to listen?  Click on the radio episode and finish reading this post later. Not only will you appreciate what yoga can do to improve your life, but also you’ll get a kick out Phyllis’s sense of humor and English “elocution.” Then read the book she wrote of her childhood prison experiences, The Hidden Passport, which was easy to read and fast paced.

Given the hardships and cruelty she faced as a child imprisoned in Japanese war camps, Phyllis is especially appreciative of the ways yoga brought joy and awareness back into her life. “Yoga offers Balance, Compassion,and Gratitude,” she asserts.  “Yoga is not just what you do; it’s also who you are.” Some of the benefits yoga or meditation include:

  • finding more compassion for yourself
  • appreciating your body and mind
  • embracing change more effectively
Find Your Way

Find Your Way at Rancho la Puerta

Looking for the ultimate yoga or guided meditation treat? Head to Rancho la Puerta, a place we hold near and dear to our hearts. Take Phyllis’s classes in person. Discover an entire range of fitness classes, hikes, cardio workouts, art classes, and top quality instructors. (Side note: if you are thinking of going to “the Ranch” let us know as we can save you $250).

Please click to visit us at FunandFit.org, subscribe to our YouTube Channel, and follow us on twitter: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit.  See our instagram pics at: @KymberlyFunFit and @AlexandraFunFit. We follow back!

We were not compensated in any way for this post.  Our goal is for you to listen to our radio show and have a healthier, happier life.  For more on yoga, take a look at our post, Yoga: For Flexibility? Weight Loss? Animals?

11

Improved Sleep and Comfort: Technogel Pillows

Alexandra Williams, MA and Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

If you have ever had an uncomfortable night’s sleep, you’ll want to read what we discovered from sleeping on pillows from Technogel.

Technogel pillow and bedAlexandra: For the past ten years or so, I’ve had issues with vertigo, which has many causes. My vertigo turned out to be related to neck tension that affected my inner and middle ear. In practice, this meant I would be stuck in bed for days, not even able to move my eyes quickly for fear of getting sick and dizzy.

Since figuring out the problem, I have been able to manage my neck tension through massage. But!!!! (there’s always a “but” in these stories) I don’t go to the massage therapist often enough. So when the chance came to try out a Technogel anatomical pillow, I abruptly broke up with my lumpy excuse of a down pillow (I believe it had gone down, down, down years ago), and welcomed the anatomical pillow into my life. According to the description, this pillow is “recommended for those suffering from neck, back or shoulder pain. It provides excellent support and muscle relaxation. Suggested for those who sleep primarily on their sides or on their back.” Ka-Chinga.

I heard that it takes a few days to adjust, but that wasn’t the case with me.
Neck – Oh, this is lovely, and I feel so relaxed.
Me – That’s good. Now please go to sleep and release some tension, wouldya?
Neck – Yes, um, hmmmmm, zzzzzzz, snork, sigh………(sounds of soft breathing)

I haven’t dissected my pillow, but I know that it’s got foam and gel inside. And I know that the company got its start in the medical field, providing cushioning for bed-bound hospital patients. I know this because I went to the Technogel booth during my BlogTour trip to IMM Cologne, Germany. Technogel is an Italian company, I was in Germany, and my primary language is Englilsh. You can get a good night’s sleep in any language!

They removed the top later of foam to show the blue gels.

They removed the top later of foam to show the blue gels.

 

As part of my (cough cough) research, I tested out the bed at the show. And the laptop pads. And the pillows (they have 6 styles). Eventually they noticed and asked me to change out of my pajamas and leave. Not really, I was treated extremely well and encouraged to lie on the bed for as long as I wanted. Poppies… Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep. Sleeeeep. Now they’ll sleeeeep!

 

Kymberly: I, too was selected to try out a Technogel pillow. I chose the expensive one Alexandra did not pick so that we had some variety to report back on. While I fall asleep easily, I tend to wake up often then toss, turn, and flip my pillow over and over looking for elusive slumber.

Do you also have sleepless nights or stretches of insomnia? Some nights I wake up and run “to do” lists and  conversations through my head. Such head chatter makes it hard to get back to sleep. Are you familiar with the song “Pillow Talk” made famous by Doris Day?

Pillow talk, pillow talk
Another night of hearin’ myself talk, talk, talk, talk

How do I turn Doris Day Pillow Talk into Kymberly Night of No Talk? Enter my new Technogel Deluxe pillow. It may be heavy, but it’s not chatty. Yes, the first thing I noticed was that the pillow had some heft to it. Yet it was obedient, conforming to my head and temperature.

Being a person who loves words, I actually read the pamphlet that came with my nifty, high tech pillow. There I learned that we are supposed to heave ho “standardl” pillows every 18 months due to germs, bacteria, small animals that look horrific under microscopes, and other gross out details. Oops, I had been about a decade behind on that task! Welcome even more to my new sleep buddy.

Ultimately the big question is simply “did I sleep better with this deluxe Technogel pillow?” The big answer is “yes.” Between the Pure Matters Healthy Sleep supplements I take, the new mattress my hubster got for my last birthday, and this special foam and gel pillow, I am showing those night sweats and insomnia moments who is boss! A colleague had told me to expect needing a week to adjust to Technogel pillows, but that the adjustment would be worth it. I transitioned in about four seconds, one snore, and two flutters of my eyelids. Comfort and support were mine. If you want to borrow my pillow, we are talking one serious pillow fight to wrench it from my sleeping grasp!

Relax your mind and body by subscribing to our YouTube channel and blog. Please also follow us on Twitter: AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit. Or click now on the icons above.

I was compensated by FitFluential LLC for this campaign. All opinions, pillows and snores are my own (actually, the snores are Kymberly’s).

 

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