Monday, August 18, 2014

Protect Yourself From Aging

Aging is inevitable and out of our control... how we age is 


Don't let another minute pass you by before deciding to read this short and to the point article.

I am giving you 3 things to do ASAP to begin reversing the aging process.

Facts: We will age. We will slow down. But we must act now to keep your energy levels going, your skin clear and beautiful, your mind strong and your life stress free. 

Scroll down to read on and turn back the hands of time before it's too late...

To age gracefully you simply must do these 3 things now.

1. Balance your hormones
Hormones are your body's chemical messengers that tell your organs and organ systems how to function.  For example, they can rev up your libido, help create glowing skin, shrink belly fat and pump muscles.

If you are over the glorious age of the big 30 you must have your hormone levels checked and here's why.  Your hormones begin to raidly decrease in your mid 20's leaving you feeling a little heavier in body weight, fatigued and possible a little more emotional at times.  

Toxins from the environment on the other hand have a negative affect on hormone levels as they unnaturally mimick natural hormones and raise hormone levels in the body.  

If you have ever experienced sleeplessness, low libido, weight gain...get your hormone levels checked ASAP!

2.  Know you Vitamin & Mineral Status
It is not enough anymore to take a cheap, synthetic over the counter vitamin.  These synthetic nutrients do absolutely nothing positive for your body.  Most are found undigested in the large intestines.  Vitamins are supposed to give you energy, firm and tighten your skin,  give a nice sheen to your hair and keep your weight balanced effortlessly.

Without the good nutrients we feel anxious, depressed, overweight, lethargic and very emotional.

Do you know your nutrient levels?

If not please have them tested right away.  

As your nutrient levels go up to the optimal levels so does your youthful vigor!

Vitamins affect your balance of hormones, thyroid hormone, cholesterol levels, heart rhythm and pressure and so much more.

3.  Manage your body fat
Fat can be toxic.  Toxins are stored in fat cells.  Excess fat in the body and blood, slows down processes.  Carrying extra body fat impairs your ability to get rid of toxic substances, it interferes with the flow of blood and circulation, it leaves you feeling dull and lifeless. 

Having extra body fat does not mean that you have enough nutrition.  High body fat means on the other hand that you are nutritionally depleted.  You are starving for nutrition!

Fat cells contribute to high inflammation in the body.  Think of inflammation as hot, painful, red and dry.  An inflammed body is nutritionally void.  Your body sucks up minerals and vitamins to manage this inflammation.  It is a burden to the body.  You must know your metabolic profile before beginning to know how to reverse it.  What are your inflammatory markers saying? What are your blood sugar levels?  Are your triglycerides in normal range?  

These 3 areas are very important starting places that can set you on a better path toward healthy aging.  Aging is inevitable.  When you know these levels in each area we can literally begin to shift your body's natural response to the aging process.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Lower Back Support During Pregnancy

At one time or another, all women who are pregnant will probably suffer from some degree of back pain.  In the early months of pregnancy, backaches are caused by hormonal changes and a shift in the center of gravity.  As the pregnancy progresses these hormones continue to be secreted that help prepare the body for childbirth by loosening ligaments and tendons that attach the pelvic bones to the spine.  The combination of increased weight, weakened abdominal muscles, change in posture and decreased stability combine to increase the risk a pregnant woman will suffer from back pain.

But, even though each of these factors increases the risk that a woman will suffer from pain, women do not have to grin and bear it.  With the right treatments most women are able to decrease their discomfort and some are able to prevent it.

The idea is to provide support to the lower back to decrease the strain on the musculature and ligaments as your belly begins to grow and use continue to do your daily living tasks.  This support can take the form of an external addition to your clothing or an internal change in the way in which you do things.

For instance, women should practice good posture to help compensate for the way in which their body is continuing to grow.  The baby will change the center of gravity and shifted forward which can cause lower back pain.  By tucking in the buttocks, pulling the shoulders back and standing straight and tall (the way in which we should all be standing!)  The altered posture can help to support the lower back muscles.

It is also important to sit at your desk or stand with extreme care. Feet should always be slightly elevated in a chair in the chair should support the back.  If there is no longer our support to the chair placed a small pillow behind the lower back.  Avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time and if you must stand then rest 1 foot on a low step stool to relieve the stress on your lower back.

This is a time in your life when it is important to learn how to sleep on your side.  Many people are back sleepers or stomach sleepers, but because of the weight of the baby, it is next to impossible and should not be attempted.  Keep one or both knees bent to decrease the strain on the lower back.  It may be helpful to put a pillow between the knees and another under the abdomen or the belly.

Women should wear a low heeled shoes with good arch support.  This is not the time to try out those stiletto heels.  When lifting any object, squat down and lift with the legs.  Do not bend at the waist or lift with your back and do not lift anything that is either moderately heavy or heavy.

By staying fit and exercising you also help to keep your back strong and may actually relieve back pain by doing so.  Check with your obstetrician to be sure that your exercise program is approved for your particular individual circumstances.  Women who are pregnant often get great benefit from walking, riding a stationary bike, swimming and the practice of yoga. (1)

There are actually two different kinds of back pain that pregnant women can experience, and sometimes are experienced simultaneously.  Lumbar back pain happens in the area of the lumbar vertebra in the lower back and pelvic pain is felt in the back of the pelvis.  Pelvic pain hits the back a little lower than lumbar pain, somewhere around the tail bone.  Sometimes a woman may feel pain over the pubic bone in the front as well.  This kind of pain is worse when triggered by walking, climbing steps, rolling over twisting, lifting and holding positions where the hips are bent.  Lumbar pain feels more like pre-pregnancy backaches with pain around the waist of the spine and radiating downward to the legs.

Another way in which women can support their lower back is to purchase a maternity support belts.  These are belts that help to reduce lower back pain, reduce the pressure on the bladder and decrease the potential for varicose veins and swelling of the veins in the lower legs.  Proponents of maternity support belts also believe that it helps to prevent preterm contractions and gives women a greater comfort during exercises.

The objective of a maternity support belt is to lift the abdomen slightly higher on the body and provide support to the lower back.  These support belts can be purchased at maternity stores, and at other online maternity shops.

Be sure to discuss your lower back pain with your primary care physician or obstetrician in order to get their advice on how you may treat this condition.  If your health provider believes that your back pain is initiated from another source, such as sciatica or a displacement of your sacroiliac joints, they may recommend that you see a physical therapist several times in order to be educated on and stretches and exercises to help relieve your pain.

Lower back pain is a common occurrence in women who become pregnant.  Because of years of experience, and trial in air or many different options are available to help both treat and prevent this type of pain from occurring.  Do not suffer in silence but instead seek out ways in which you can help your body to function without pain.

(1) American Pregnancy Association: Top Recommended Exercises During Pregnancy

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Kegel exercises During Pregnancy

Kegel exercises were developed by Dr. Arnold Kegel to strengthen the muscles of the pelvic floor.  These muscles support the urethra, bladder, rectum, vagina, penis and uterus.  They are used when you have a bowel movement or urinate and during orgasm.  These muscles are also used during delivery of your baby.

Kegel exercises will strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, lessen and prevent bladder control problems and will help if you have a loss of control over bowel movements.

These exercises are basically tightening and relaxing the pelvic floor. Here is how you can use Kegel exercises to improve them those muscles.  First you must locate the muscles you are trying to exercise.  Kegel exercises wonít do any good if you are exercising the wrong muscles.  Think of tensing the muscles around the opening of the urethra and pulling them upward and inward.  Pretend you are urinating and stopping a stream of urine.  You can practice this while you are on the toilet and actually stopping a stream of urine. (1)

Notice how pulling those muscles feel.  You can also contract the rectal area as though you were attempting to stop the passage of gas.  This also uses the same muscles.  Now itís time to exercise those muscles three times each day.

The next step to improve your pelvic muscles using Kegel exercises is to tighten the muscles by squeezing them slowly to a count of four and then relaxing them slowly to a count of four.  If your muscles are weak you may only be able to hold the muscle tightening for a count of two.  You should repeat the cycle 10 times three times each day.

You can check your technique in the mirror or using your hands to be certain that you are not using accessory muscles in the abdomen and buttocks to accomplish the same task.  Your hand shouldnít feel your stomach or buttocks tighten if you are doing the exercises correctly.

What can cause your pelvic floor muscles to weaken?  Like other muscles, without use they weaken.  When they are stretched they can also weaken.  More specifically age, childbirth, menopause, diabetes, extreme overweight, frequent heavy lifting and recurrent urinary tract infections. (2)

Kegel exercises will give you good results within just a few weeks.  However, it may take 3 or 4 months to see a lot of improvement after doing these exercises daily.  They take only 4-5 minutes three times each day and they can be done when no one knows.  You can do them while driving in your car, typing on your computer, before you get out of bed in the morning, while changing the baby or eating dinner.  (3)

While you are doing the exercises be sure not to tighten other muscles in your buttocks, stomach or legs because this can put more pressure on your bladder control muscles and actually do more harm than good.  Also, do not hold your breath while doing the exercises.  When done correctly no one has any idea that you are doing them.

You can also protect yourself and your pelvic muscles from more damage by bracing yourself during a sneeze, before jumping or before lifting something.  Think ahead before sneezing, lifting or jumping.  Sudden pressure from these actions can hurt the pelvic muscles.  So, squeeze your pelvic muscles tightly and hold on until after you sneeze, lift or jump.

(1) MayoClinic: Kegel Exercises

(2) Premiere Healthcare Associates: Pelvic Floor Muscle Weakness

(3) American Pregnancy Association: Kegel Exercises


The Merck Manual: Pelvic Floor Disorders

Friday, August 8, 2014

Exercises in Third Trimester

Your third trimester of pregnancy is exciting and tiring at the same time.  Your first trimester was tiring.  During the second trimester you regained your energy and lost the morning sickness.  Now you are larger, have an altered center of gravity and are beginning to get tired and fatigued once more.  And yet, your doctor continues to encourage you to exercise in third trimester.

You say ìWHAT?î  But your doctor is on the right track.  Women who have exercised through their pregnancy report they have generally easier deliveries.  Does this mean they feel less pain or discomfort?  No.  But women who exercise up to the time of delivery have more endurance and better pain tolerance.  And they have an easier time accommodating to the new sleepless schedule when they go home with the new little one.

So what type of exercises work best for a woman who is carrying enough weight out front that her center of gravity is different, her balance is affected and her ankles are swelling with each passing day?  How do you stay in cardiovascular shape, keep muscles moving and pump up your respiratory rate to stimulate your lungs?

During the first trimester women who were exercising can continue their standard routine and women who werenít exercising should start a simple routine they can conceivably continue through the pregnancy.  In the second trimester the exercising routines should have a goal of only slightly improving physical endurance and ability since the womanís body is already working overtime to develop this new little baby.

During the third trimester all the women must take a good look at the type of exercise program they are incorporating into their routine.  The exercises they choose must accommodate their increasing size, changing center of gravity and increased potential risk to the baby as the belly grows larger and larger.  There are some excellent choices that donít require much learning or even too much equipment.

Stretching is an exercise.  In fact, done correctly, stretching will help your muscles to accommodate well to labor and delivery.  However, because of the increasing amounts of two hormones, progesterone and relaxin, you also increase the potential of overstretching joints.  Hormones are released in the latter parts of your pregnancy which increase the amount of ëstretchí to your tendons and ligaments.  This stretch is necessary to accommodate the stretch your pelvis must go through to help your baby be introduced to the world. (1)

Because of the increased amount of stretch to your ligaments and tendons exercises that have a high impact to your joints may actually cause more damage than they help.  For instance, running, jogging and trampoline work will actually cause the hips and knees to be at a higher risk of damage during the workout. (2)

Exercises in third trimester that are good for you and your baby are exercises such as walking, rowing, slow stair climbing on a machine, biking on a stationary bicycle and low impact aerobics that doesnít involve knee bends or stress to the hips.

With the increasing number of exercise gurus, tapes, DVDs and CDs there are also an increasing number of choices for women who are in their third trimester of pregnancy to maintain or attain a level of physical fitness that will help with labor and delivery.

(1) BabyCenter: Great Pregnancy Exercise: Stretching

(2) American Pregnancy Association: Exercise Guidelines Druing Pregnancy

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Exercise in the 2nd trimester

Exercise during pregnancy is an important aspect of maintaining health and wellness.  Exercise will help to decrease complications during labor and delivery, improve endurance after the baby is born and decrease the baby blues during the postpartum period.  In fact, exercise during pregnancy months doesnít seem to have too much of a downside.   This is a time in life when women should be
celebrating the changes to their bodies, encouraging wellness in themselves and future generations through good nutrition and exercise and carefully addressing their ever changing needs.

The second trimester are the glory days of pregnancy.  Most women have gotten over any issues with morning sickness and still arenít as large and uncomfortable as they will be in the third trimester.  This is the time to get into a rhythm of regular exercise in the 2nd trimester that can be carried over to the third trimester when exercise may be more challenging and less easy.

Yoga is one option that may be acceptable or even enjoyable.  There are yoga classes at the gym or yoga tapes for your DVD player if you enjoy a more private exercise moment.  Prenatal yoga classes are often a forum for meeting other pregnant women that fosters a sense of community and is a major benefit to the new mothers.  Make sure you find a prenatal class with an experienced teacher.  Many women try yoga for the first time during pregnancy so you wonít be the only one. (1)

The practice of yoga encourages stretches and movements that may not be ënaturalí in your everyday life.  Couple this with increasing hormonal levels that make tendons and ligaments more lax, and it is important to use a DVD or instructor who is familiar with the needs of a pregnant body.

Exercise in the 2nd trimester is also an ideal time to shift the way that you do other exercises.  For instance, sit ups should only be done on a 45 degree incline with knees bent; weights are ok if they arenít intense; the exercise bike or Gazelle is great because itís non-weight bearing but still good aerobic exercise and it is important not to overheat yourself.  Make sure to drink plenty of water and stay well hydrated.  You are drinking for two people now!  Pace your workouts and rest during the workout if you need to.  This isnít a sign of weakness or losing conditioning ñ just a sign that your body is already working 24/7 to grow your new child and you are asking it to do even more.

There are other ways to modify sit ups so that you can continue to work your abdominal muscles while not stressing the abs that run vertically over your belly.  The goal is to strengthen the muscles needed in labor and delivery, not flatten the stomach ñ which is impossible while your little one is growing.  Start in the quadruped position (on your hands and knees); exhale as you tighten your abs and pull your belly button toward your spine.

In the second modification you will be working the oblique muscles by lying on your side with your knees bent to 45 degrees.  Lift your rib cage toward your hip and squeeze in the waist; inhale as you lower. You should combine any modifications of abdominal exercises with pelvic floor or Kegel exercises to get the maximum benefit.  Traditional crunches are a no ñ no since lying on your back will cause your heavier uterus to compress the artery feeding your lower body and decrease the amount of oxygen your baby is receiving.

Exercises that you may have been doing prior to becoming pregnant can also be continued.  For instance, if you were already running marathons or 10K races then continuing to run through the pregnancy will work well with your body.  Pregnant women find they must decrease the intensity and distance of their runs but will continue to benefit from the time they spend running. (2,3)

However, this isnít the time to start a running routine.  If you havenít been running before you got pregnant then it is very wise to put it off until after you are done breast feeding your new little one.  Other exercises that you can use during pregnancy include walking, swimming, running in the pool, water aerobics and an exercise bike.  Avoid exercises that require you change positions quickly (basketball) or use balance (outdoor bikes) because your center of gravity begins to shift quickly now leaving you at risk for falling. (4)

Exercise in the 2nd trimester has some challenges because of your enlarging stomach but it continues to be important to stretch and strengthen your muscles to ensure a strong and healthy delivery.  This is definitely NOT the time to slack off and exercise your TV muscles ñ get out there and just do it!

(1) BabyCenter: Great Pregnancy Exercise: Prenatal Yoga

(2) BabyCenter: Exercise During Pregnancy

(3) American Fitness Professionals and Associates: Guidelines for Exercise Training During Pregnancy

(4) American Pregnancy Association: Top Recommended Exercises during Pregnancy