B Well, B Fit, B Happy

The 3 B's – by Sheri Myers
Browsing category: lifestyle
Fokus Pilates Laguna Beach

Let’s Hear it for Endorphins!!!

As mere humans, we have all experienced emotional challenges. Sadness, depression, despair, fear, and stress are all an unavoidable part of life. Although normal, these emotional swings can vary in extremity and can have serious affects on physical health. Whether sad or angry, a person’s brain chemistry is affected. The imbalances that occur by the change in the brain’s chemistry can cause a rise in blood pressure and blood sugar due to the stress of the emotional state. Blood chemistries can fall out of balance, which include sodium and potassium. These disturbances can lead to temporary and long term illness. Some external symptoms of these changes are fatigue, forgetfulness, listlessness, lack of motivation, despair and discouragement. Of course many cases of depression are very serious and can require more extensive treatments but often the road to relief can start with something as simple as exercise!

When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as “euphoric.” That feeling, known as a “runner’s high,” can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.

Endorphins act as analgesics and sedatives, which means they diminish the perception of pain and anxiety. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors the endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind with some pain medicines. However, unlike medication, the activation of these receptors by the body’s endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence and the side effects include a happier person with a better physique!

It’s important to remember that not everyone has the same fitness abilities. If you are just starting an exercise routine for the first time or haven’t been active for a while, you should choose a safe but effective program that is somewhat challenging but not discouraging. Consult a fitness professional to get you started to avoid injuries. Once you find what works for you, the improvements in overall health will be noticeable and addictive! Be Well, Be Fit, Be Happy!!!

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Beauty and the Broth

“Beauty and the Broth”

For centuries, broth made from the bones of animals has been used for food, health and medicine. Mention of the medicinal use of chicken soup (bone broth) goes back to the 12th century when the Egyptian physician Moses Miamonides prescribed it as a remedy for colds and asthma. The gelatin in bone broth was popularized during the Victorian Era as an ingredient to make gelatin desserts. In 1845 the industrialist Peter Cooper obtained a US patent for powdered gelatin. Practitioners of Chinese medicine have used bone broth to support the digestive system, as a blood builder and to strengthen the kidneys. The marrow of bones is considered to nourish and sustain ‘jing’, meaning “the reservoir from which we draw energetic sustenance during our entire lives”.

So what is bone broth? Basically, it’s a homemade stock made from animal bones. I know, sounds gross… But it’s the real deal!!! Chickens, turkey, beef, lamb, pig, you name it, nutrient rich broth is derived from what you thought was a disposable remnant of a meal. But the truth is that the good stuff is in the bones! Collagen, amino acids, glycine, proline, glucosamine, chondroitin, and gelatin are the majority of the goods that when extracted can then be ingested and provide noticeable and reparable results. For example, gelatin, which is a form of the coveted collagen, can not only improve skin elasticity and wrinkles and support hair and nail growth but can also help digestion and gastrointestinal disorders. Glucosamine has been known to support the structure and function of joints and both glucosamine and chondroitin have both had success in providing relief of some cases of osteoarthritis. All of these elements have also been shown to support bones, joints and reduce inflammation throughout the body.

To make the broth, the bones are simmered in water for hours or even days. Many broth preparers will add vegetables such as onion, garlic, celery or parsley to flavor it. The simmering of the bones allows the extraction of the many nutrients mentioned above. Once prepared, the broth should be jarred and frozen or refrigerated until consumption and heated only slightly in a sauce pan before serving. Overheating can potentially negate the nutritional elements and microwaving is discouraged entirely.

The broth craze is not a new fad nor is it losing any steam! If you have the time, make it at home using bones from animals raised with integrity – organically and humanely treated. If you don’t have the time, it’s becoming more and more available either online, in restaurants or at local markets. Try Healing Mama’s Bone Broth. Small batch beef and poultry broth made locally with love. Contact Jody at jody.reis@gmail.com to order or for more information. Love your broth!

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Fighting the Fitness Funk

Fighting the Fitness Funk

We’ve all been in a funk of some sort. Whether it be emotional, professional or social, or whatever it is that brings you into an ongoing state of disenchantment, boredom or even depression, a funk is a funk… The North American definition of a funk is “a state of depression”. The British definition refers to being a coward or “avoiding a task or thing out of fear”. Oddly different meanings but both could apply to the feeling one has when they feel they are stuck in a situation that makes them unhappy or makes them feel limited in options.

Like funks relating to professional or social situations, a lack of motivation or a sense of boredom in one’s regular fitness routine is also a type of funk. Does this sound remotely familiar: You’ve been attending the same gym classes for months, taking that same run around your neighborhood or playing the same tennis match with the same guys every Wednesday for as long as you can remember. You know you’re getting an ample amount of cardiovascular exercise and strength training and you feel you’re in okay shape, but you’re just not into it anymore. So you skip a day at the gym one week. You use a household chore as an excuse to skip the run or fake a deadline to cancel on your tennis buddies. And then the following week, you do it again. Before you know it, your pants are a little snug and you’re feeling a wee bit lazy. While there’s nothing wrong with taking a break now and then from your regular work outs, allowing yourself to make multiple excuses for taking a hiatus probably means you’re in a fitness funk.

So how do you do it? How do you light the proverbial fire under the tush and get back out there? Here’s a few ways to analyze what it is you’re actually going through and how to tell that funk to funk off…

Change it Up a Bit

If you still look forward to your old routine but just feel like you need a little break, try mixing it up by making a slight change. Try a different class at the gym. Even if you love your current instructor, take the spin class or bootcamp with a different instructor. The music might be different or the energy of the instructor might motivate you differently. While a sense of loyalty to your fitness gurus is important, it’s more important that you get what you need out of a work out. Any good instructor will understand if you need to take a break and shouldn’t be offended. Of course beware of the wrath of the extra reps she gives you the first time you do come back to her! 😉

Try a different route during that run. Add an incline to the path or extend it by taking the long way home. Robert Frost may have a point that taking the path less traveled does have it’s advantages!

Schedule the tennis or racquetball match at a different venue, with a different group or even just a different day or time. Just that slight change may add a whole different element to your game as well as the people you play with. Challenge is part of every competitive game and when we get in a rut, we can lose our drive and ultimately our love for that game.

Take a Short Break

Taking a break altogether from a routine that isn’t working is entirely necessary at times. But, it’s important that you don’t take an altogether break from staying fit! Find a temporary alternative. Take advantage of the many introductory packages studios and gyms offer these days. Get an unlimited week of Yoga, Pilates or Zumba. Or avoid the organized fitness path altogether and jump on a bike or start hiking. Find something that still challenges you enough to meet your fitness goals but that makes the body and mind perform out of the box a little. Chances are you’ve plateaued to some degree if you’ve been in the same routine for a while. Just tweaking the program a little can give you that extra edge that pushes you to a level of fitness you couldn’t previously reach. You may end up returning to your old ways in a month or so but you may take back a new activity or just a new level of body awareness that helps push you past the previous plateaus.

Start Fresh

People do it all the time with careers and relationships. They shed what isn’t working and start a new journey. In today’s active world, we are given so many options and guidance in the area of physical fitness. Take some time to evaluate yourself inside and out. Address what your physical limitations and strengths are. List what activities are within your realm of possibility. Obviously don’t start downhill skiing if you suffer from knee issues or power lifting if you have a back condition. Know what you can do, what you like to do, what is within your budget and will work with your schedule. Make a specific but realistic plan and try something new! You really should love or at least enjoy what you do to stay active and in shape and being in a fitness funk will only make staying fit a chore rather than a way of life. If you are reading this article, chances are you put a lot of your energy into finding ways to love your life. Shed the fitness funk and the rest may just fall into place…

Be Well, Be Fit, Be Happy…