5 Physical Benefits of Yoga as you age

5 Physical Benefits of Yoga as you Age  

      benefits of yoga as you age

Yoga slows the aging process by gradually improving key factors in your physical health.

Balance is a component of many yoga poses, think Warrior, Triangle and of course, Tree Pose.

Remember the old adage, “If you don’t use it you’ll lose it”?

The ability to balance involves both our body and our brain; when not practiced one or both faculties will begin to diminish.

Envision yourself taking walks along the shore in a retirement dream vacation.

Are you sure-footedly making your way from rock to rock or are you watching the scene from a car, too afraid of a fall to enjoy nature?

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons  estimates 1 out of every 2 women and 1 out of every 4 men over 50 will suffer a fracture related to a fall.

Read the article here http://www.aaos.org/about/papers/position/1144.asp

Yes, the balance poses in a Yoga class help to sync communication between the right and left hemispheres of your brain improving balance and agility.

What about Flexibility? Yoga to the rescue once more!  Increased aches, pains and stiffness appear to be part of increasing age for most people.

Unfortunately, some people think Yoga is only for the flexible. Wrong.

Yoga creates flexibility.

In Yoga lies the path to greater comfort in your body as you age. Your willingness to work through yogic poses in the beginning of your practice will bring rewards as you continue. Soon you’ll find the stiffness you felt when getting up out of a chair is a thing of the past!

Spinal flexibility is not just about comfort.   If unchecked, spines will shorten and round. Creating space between the vertebrae with a regular yoga practice lengthens the spine and improves nerve conduction to all the organs.

Yoga builds Strength slowly and safely. Strong muscles increase our protection from the conditions of aging and increase bone density. Weight bearing poses like Down Dog and Cobra requires you to lift your own weight reducing the chance of fractures as you age. Weight bearing poses in Yoga provide a safer option then other exercises that stress cartilage and joints. Read more here http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/good-bone/

Breathing = Life.  A simple equation. One that we don’t take full advantage of.

Yoga increases our lung’s capacity to bring in life force as we tune our attention into our breath. Improving our ability to take in more air increases energy to all our cells and helps us “get up and go” as we age.

Another distinct advantage of proper breathing is lower blood pressure. 1 in 3 American adults will be diagnosed with high blood pressure also known as the Silent Killer.  In a recent study, “Dr. Debbie Cohen of the University of Pennsylvania, led a team of researchers to evaluate exactly the effect yoga had on blood pressure among a total of 58 women and men, aged 38 to 62.                                                                                                         The team found that patients who did yoga in a studio 2 to 3 times per week for 24 weeks experienced a statistically significant drop in their blood pressure, greater than the diet only group.” Read more here  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/260699.php

Proper breathing also improves digestion. Learning to take a full breath gives the digestive organs an encouraging massage. Poor digestion is one of the main reasons people visit their M.D.  Bad digestion may not kill you, but can sure make you miserable.To improve digestion with yogic poses, focus on the twists. Think Seated Twist, Supine Twist and Side Bends. These poses encourage waste materials to move and stimulate circulation to digestive organs.

Body Awareness is valuable at any stage of life, but crucial as we age. Consider the benefits of greater awareness to the messages our body sends us in any given moment. Yoga teaches us to be mindful so that we pay attention to warning signs, offering us the opportunity to correct our course. Sure, this has enormous benefits for our mental, emotional and spiritual health, but also for our physical bodies. Yoga trains us to notice when we’re slouching, alerts us to the onset of stress and lets us know when a much loved food is no longer serving our body.

If you want to put a glow in your golden years start a regular Yoga practice now!

 

6 Tips for Lasting Energy

Sometimes life sends you a solution wrapped in a problem.

In my early 40’s I had a variety of issues, mostly physical. Still having young children at home, sustained energy was one of my missing needs. The answer for low energy came to me when I when I latched onto the Superfood Chia to help with a digestive problem. After using it for a week or so I was surprised that not only did my digestion improve, but my energy levels began to soar. After researching the benefits further I found Chia can be used to prevent or help treat a number of illnesses and conditions. Dieters and diabetics use them for a natural weight-loss aid and to control blood sugar levels. The Aztec warriors used them as a source of energy, and today many athletes consume them to enhance their endurance levels. Because they are rich in nutrients and fiber, anyone interested in a holistic approach for maintaining their health, energy levels and physical fitness can benefit.

To minimize spikes and crashes in energy level, you want to make sure your nutritional intake supports a sustained flow of energy by limiting fluctuation in blood sugar level. An even blood sugar level can also help you improve your focus and concentration, and help you prevent mood swings caused by hypoglycemia.

Here are 5 more tips to use nutrition to support a sustained flow of lasting energy:

1. Eat meals with a low glycemic load – combine whole grains and vegetables (high fiber foods) with a moderate amount of good fats and lean protein.

2. Eat foods rich in B vitamins, such as whole grains and nutritional yeast.

3. Eat just the right amount and type of protein for your body – keep a food journal to see how much protein works best for you.

4. Stay hydrated – dehydration often causes fatigue and headaches.

5. Avoid caffeine, which worsens blood sugar fluctuations.

 

If you’re dragging yourself through your day, reaching for that next cup of Joe to keep you going, give me a call. A customized plan to increase your energy awaits!

Super Weight Loss

By now, most intelligent people (that’s you) understand that our medical system is breaking under the burden of health issues we Americans face. Globally, America is the 37th healthiest country despite spending 2.5 trillion a year on healthcare.
Where did we go so wrong?!
One of the ways we’ve lost our health is by forgetting our cultural wisdom around cooking and eating in favor of processed foods most of which are stripped of nutrition, grown in poor soils, loaded with herbicides, fungicides and toxins, laced with chemical concoctions and often containing genetically modified ingredients.
Wow, horrible, right?!
Other than voting with our dollars and simply not buying what BigFood, BigAgra and the BioTech monopolies produce there’s not much we can do to fix the system.
But, we can help ourselves by taking a look backwards in time at what foods cultures around the world have revered and the reasons why.
Today I want to shine the spotlight on Chia, “The Ancient Superfood of the Future”.
These seeds were valued by the Aztec and Mayan civilizations as a dietary staple. They were used in barter as well as religious ceremony. Chia was so integral to their existence that when the Spanish Conquistadors conquered the area that one of the first things they tried to do was wipe out the chia fields!
Thankfully they failed and Chia survived to come under scientific scrutiny. We now know why it was considered essential to MesoAmerica. Chia Seeds are little nutritional powerhouses!
There are so many reasons to eat it regularly I can’t list them all in one post.
Today I’ll share why Chia is considered a dieters dream food!

 

The reasons are many. For instance, Chia is 40% fiber! All that fiber causes the Chia to pass through the system more slowly helping you feel fuller longer. That amount of fiber also helps remove cholesterol, support normal blood glucose and insulin levels by slowing the impact and release of sugars into the bloodstream while helping to reduce cravings for sweets and junk foods through it’s ability to slowly release carbohydrate energy for your bodies needs.  All the while, Chia provides plenty of roughage to keep the colon moving detoxing our bodies of waste and weight.  Chia’s ability to retain as much as 10 times each seed’s weight in water benefits digestion and constipation, also key factors in loosing weight.
I can’t prove it, but somehow I doubt there were any fat Aztecs!

How to Get Happy

How to Get Happy!

Image for How to Get HappyDo you ever feel depressed or disconnected from your daily life, as if you’re just going through the motions?

Are your relationships suffering because you feel numbed out and joyless?

Do you forget appointments or events and then wonder why?

Do you have a child who seems to cry easily, feel sad a lot or just seems withdrawn?

 

If so, you are not alone. Depression rates in the U.S. “have roughly tripled over two decades,” according to several studies and reported in CBS News TV show “Sunday Morning,” which aired on March 18.

That translates to 27 million Americans taking pharmaceuticals such as Wellbutrin, Celexa, Pristiq, Cymbalta, Lexapro, Paxil, Zoloft, Effexor and Prozac.

Studies show that these antidepressants work for only 30 to 45% of people and many of these drugs come with serious side effects such as suicide, violence, psychosis, abnormal bleeding and brain tumors.

There are many valid reasons why people could become depressed such as the economy, death of a loved one, foreclosure and abuse to name a few. However, turning to these mood-altering drugs doesn’t appear to offer a healthy solution. In fact, most of those drugs target Serotonin (feel good hormone) uptake while new studies show that depression is linked more closely to too much Cortisol (stress hormone) in our system.

In fact, studies show that there are many lifestyle adjustments that can be applied for free that help to lift our mood from “can’t get off the couch” to moving through our day with a smile of accomplishment.

A few changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in your mental/emotional state. Try spending time in nature or with a pet, taking a long walk, moving your body in some form of exercise you enjoy, turning off depressing news reports, finding a spiritual path that speaks to you, Yoga, Tai Chi, Meditation and engaging in supportive relationships.

By far, one of the most disturbing facts on depression rates is that pre-schoolers are the fastest-growing market for antidepressants claims a study published in “Psychiatric Services”, April 2004.

What?!   The preschool years have always been among the most innocent and joyful times of life!

At least four percent of preschoolers, over a million, are clinically depressed. The rate of increase in depression among children is an astounding 23%, claims a Harvard University study reported in “Harvard Mental Health Newsletter”, February 2002 and currently escalating. Some might claim that doctors are simply getting better at diagnosing depression.

I have a different opinion and it involves nutrition or the lack thereof.

Our brains, especially our growing brains need good fats to be healthy.

No wait a second – don’t run to the freezer for ice cream quite yet! While ice cream is fatty and does taste great it will only make you feel good for a little while….

What I’m talking about are Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s).

Of all our many body parts, it’s the brain that’s most in need of high-quality fats. In fact, the brain is made up of 60% fat, mostly an Omega 3 fat called DHA. Its job is to support cellular communication and when present in the right ratio it produces happiness while increasing learning and memory skills. If our brains are deficient in Omega 3’s we can experience depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder.

Not surprisingly, Americans are deficient in Omega 3’s. Some reports indicating 95% of us lack enough Omega 3’s to support our brains!

One reason for this is our reliance on processed nutrient deficient foods. Ask any kid what his favorite foods are and you’ll probably get a long list of junk foods like Cheezits and Ring Dings! Not only are processed foods lacking in Omega 3’s, but are also high in Omega 6’s which unbalances the ratio of EFA’s and is the leading cause of inflammatory issues.

Once again looking to the past to solve a present day crisis provides a solution. In ages goneby, we had an understanding that food was medicine. When we return to the way our ancestors ate including many natural whole foods into our diet the dense nutrition begins to balance our brains and the rest of us as well!

The lowest rates of depression are found in societies with the highest consumption of EFA rich foods.

One of the biggest sources of Omega 3’s is from fish, particularly salmon, sardines and halibut. Wild caught fish are far healthier than farm raised. Some people don’t like the taste of fish and choose to supplement with fish or krill oils. Choosing a highly purified version of fish oil is wise as many are contaminated with PCP’s and mercury, resulting in a very expensive toxic sludge.

Walnuts are also a good source of Omega 3’s, but be sure to buy them raw for the biggest impact.

Soy is also high in Omega 3’s. However, Soy is among the most genetically modified (GM) foods on the market, GM foods contain proteins not found in nature and for many they lead to digestive issues as these strange proteins are not easily broken down. The UK experienced a 50% rise in pediatric allergies the year that GM foods were introduced in their markets. Coincidence? I think not.

Flax Seeds are also a great source of Omega 3’s. To access all the nutrition they hold you must be sure to grind them up. Refrigerating Flax is a must because the oil quickly becomes rancid.

Lastly, Chia Seeds, natures forgotten Superfood are so chocked full of Omega 3’s they are sure to put a smile on your face! As a nutrition coach I feel Chia is the superior choice for Omega 3’s. They contain 30% EFA’s and the most antioxidants of any food researched, including blueberries. Not only does that mean the oil stays very stable without the seeds needing refrigeration, but it also imparts anti-aging support to your brain and the rest of your body as well. Because the seeds have an extremely thin outer shell (unlike flax) they needn’t be ground, they are completely bio-available. Another wonderful aspect of Chia Seeds is that bugs don’t like the plant. This means you needn’t worry about herbicides, pesticides, mercury, PCP’s, rancidity or genetic modification.

How’s that for a Superfood?

Eat some and get happy – Super Happy!

Sherry Guastini ~ Insightful Wellness