Some useful health tips for the day:
- Did you know that you should never take probiotics or vitamins with hot liquids? It denatures them.
- Did you know that your heart is made of muscle (although a different kind), just like your biceps and triceps? This is why you need to work it hard, relax, and repeat (like interval training) to get the best heart health results.
- Did you know that over 40% of people in Chicago are low on Vitamin D, which contributes to feelings of depression? Get yourself a supplement or some sunshine!
- Did you know that peppermint and ginger are useful, all-natural stomach soothers? Try chewing the actual plant or steeping it in hot water to make a tea.
Have a happy & healthy day!
Meditation is oh so hot right now. Many claim it’s health benefits, ranging from physical to mental and emotional. So how does one start to meditate anyway? And what is it?
Over the next few days, you can find that information right here on the Pure Wellness blog. So buckle up and get ready to chill out!
Step 1: Create a meditation space in your home or office. Buy a cushion, yoga mat, or pillow and figure out where you will dedicate to calmness. If you need to, a chair can be used instead. This space should ONLY be used for meditation/ yoga practices. Carve out a corner and maybe even put a candle or two for some Zen space and to make it your own!
Why is breathing so incredibly difficult?
Wait, what did Christy just write? Breathing isn’t difficult.
Actually, breathing for most people is very difficult indeed. I have spent 90 minutes with a CEO of a Fortune 100 company helping him learn to breathe. He held his breath constantly… and didn’t even realize it. Holding one’s breath contributes to higher levels of stress, causing the stress hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) to rise even higher and shunting your blood away from your vital organs to your muscles, as your body will then think you are in fight or flight mode.
Just this morning, a client of mine just would not breathe while doing her exercises.
Inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale….
I had to remind her every repetition which is not usually like her. She usually brings a near-Zen approach to her workouts even if they are hard. But with family, travel, and work stress, breathing gets pushed to the wayside.
Today, just breathe. Take 5 minutes to sit and close your eyes and just breathe. Take your train ride to work and just breathe. Turn your phone on silent… or even OFF. Wow. Imagine how that would feel?
Just breathe. For your health.
Fact #1: Your heart is a muscle. It is made up of cardiac muscle and, just like a bicep or tricep, it gets stronger each time you work out.
Fact #2: Your heart has 4 chambers, 2 atria (singluar: atrium) on top and 2 ventricles on the bottom. The ventricle walls are much thicker than the atria walls because this is the part of the heart that is responsible for pumping blood from the heart with enough momentum to get it through the entire body. Wow.
Fact #3: Heart disease can be a silent killer if you don’t get your stress levels under control. Listen to your heart. Notice if you have chest pains, feel fatigued constantly, or can no longer make it through an activity you once found easy (like climbing the stairs). Other less common symptoms can be radiating arm/ shoulder pain on the right side and headaches.
Get outside for that spring walk or run this weekend and celebrate with a happier, healthier heart!
Today I was asked to give a presentation on stress & the body at my graduate school, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, where I”m studying Industrial & Organizational Psychology (like an MBA, but more soft skills).
I talked about how the body now uses the fight or flight response for everyday stresses like fights with one’s spouse, car traffic, a bad workday… and also good things like getting engaged or having a baby. It is of the utmost importance to mitigate stress as adrenaline & cortisol, in excess levels, are extremely dangerous to the body. They harm our heart, lungs, and organs. They throw off our blood pressure. They make us store fat in our abdomen (which is lethal for our organs). They suppress our immune system, reduce our capabilities for healthy & normal digestion, and halt reproduction.
If that weren’t enough, what is most scary about excess stress hormones is that they suppress pain. While a long time ago when one was running from predators, this was important (i.e. a bear chasing you, you fall, you don’t feel the pain and keep running). Now, this is when scary things can happen. This is when “the silent killer” (heart disease) can attack you. This is when you don’t feel the pain in the cardiac muscle of your arteries getting clogged because you are so high on adrenaline, you can’t feel any pain.
Stopped being scared and make a plan instead. Create an exercise regime that encompasses cardio, breath-based slow exercise (Yoga, Pilates, weight training), and some light meditation. Find your happy place. Stick to your plan. Keep your stress in check and eliminate stressors that you can (a toxic friend, smoking cigarettes, etc…) and embrace the stressors you can’t change. Keep your stress in check and that will keep your health in check with yearly physicals.
Together, we can beat this beast, stress. Get to class this weekend at Pure!