Psyche: "It a bridge between intellectual, emotional, and motor functions of the body. When we use expressive arts, often we connect very quickly with the unconscious and hence it helps us understand our inner world better and the dynamics that are playing out in the psyche."
"If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it." ~Toni Morrison
“When you develop a relationship with your psyche this way, you begin to carry that energy into life and your relationships.” Marion Woodman
"Close friends contribute to our personal growth. They also contribute to our personal pleasure, making the music sound sweeter, the wine taste richer, the laughter ring louder because they are there." ~Judith Viorst
Did you know the loneliest time for men is considered to be around when they are 35 years old and for women its 21 years old! Feeling acutely lonely is as stressful as being punched in the face by a stranger. It is a signal that your natural psychological needs are not being met. It is a form of grief – for yourself, and for the culture you live in going so wrong. "All humans have certain basic psychological needs. We need to feel we belong. We need to feel valued. We need to feel we’re good at something. We need to feel we have a secure future. And there is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many – perhaps most – people." In very different ways, we have become disconnected from things we really need, and this deep disconnection is driving this epidemic. Some of these solutions are things we can do as individuals, in our private lives. Some require bigger social shifts, which we can only achieve together, as citizens.
"You have nothing to prove to anybody.” Maya Angelou
"Self-care is not an indulgence." "Compassion is the basis of morality."
You also need time alone with your true inner self. When you make time in your day and week to fill your cup — with a morning or evening ritual, doing the things you love, and small acts of self-care — then your cup will be overflowing with love, joy, creativity and inspiration. People often only see the symptoms and not the first seeds of the compulsory thought. It cannot be resolved using the thinking brain.
The mind can be separated into two parts: the conscious and the subconscious. They work together to make a complete being, you. Why not stop to listening to what our unconscious mind is trying to tell us? Psyche is revealed not only through poems, but through images, sound, symbols & our body, revealing the deepest aspects of self expressing of our inner world (what lies buried within us and what often cannot be put into words). The only way to find inner peace is to balance conscious and subconscious mind.
Some of us get can get lost in the chatter and clutter but we have a lot more energy than we give ourselves credit for. The missing element for balance within each of us is 'balance' between 'conscious mind' and 'unconscious mind'. Only by learning to use each part of our mind the right way can we reach our true potential. Even when we consciously believe something, our subconscious might disapprove, especially when it is in contradiction with our most important values and beliefs. When we learned to 'listen' to our unconscious mind, we can enjoy a better quality of life and hopefully a more peaceful life. In order to do that you need two things, knowledge and courage.
Just having positive experiences is not enough. They pass through the brain like water through a sieve. Positive stimuli is more common, however, human brain has a bias to command more attention to negative stimuli as its easier and grows faster.
Earlier my favourite strategy was to find another mother (not my girlfriend but divide it among my trusted friends--- i call them my support base system). A perfect mother is anyone who can make me feel nourished and accepts me as I am; who is willing to explains so that I can understand & someone from whom I can learn from by following their example. Somebody who tries to empower me with courage, confidence and independence. However, after they moved away and got married. I had to find a new way.
I have to now practice how to be child-like open and curious so that I can progress in personal and professional life, but also when to not get affected by negativity by being a good protective parent. To do that I have to regularly built the habit of checking and approving my own feelings with love in order to strengthen my self-esteem. I’ve also learned that how we react to events is far more important than what actually happens to us. It can be difficult not to become overwhelmed by negativity that fuel intense feelings of regret, anxiety, fear, despair, and anger. It isn’t the emotions themselves causing me to suffer—it’s my own judgment of those emotions. Many years I have given too much power to my protective conscious mind, which has become too loud. I have to encourage to increase my subconscious inner voice and listen to what my subconscious inner voice is saying.
"There is a common myth in society that we have to earn or prove our worth by ticking off a certain number of external achievements — like having a large house, successful career, impressive partner and acceptable body shape. The truth is your worth is innate — you were born enough. You are a changing as a person from who you were so leave the past but your true inner self is of divine origins and you can never be anything less than that. You did not come here to prove — you came here to play and laugh and love and learn and express and rise and create your wildest dreams. Replace self-criticism with praise and acknowledge, and not only will your confidence grow, but you will blossom into your full potential, because flowers bloom best with nourishment and love, not judgment."
1. Witnessing Exercises: Our third eye
- I picked up a postcard that attracted me.
- I had to search why I identified with this postcard that I chose.
- I felt there was a duality about the picture that I was attracting me to it.
- This led to the sessions topic about finding ones "trinity". The predator and prey in us. But the session is not to find the balance middle. Its to find the third in us. Its the "Witness".
- To find the witness, we had to pick any object/thing/material and really observe it and make opinions in detail. Then we project on the object as if it is observing me. What does it think or opine about me? The object in reality has no thought but it is our thought that we need to listen; embracing it, calling out from within us, without paying importance to that voice (maybe its negative to edit out this side in us).
2. Witnessing (through dancing) Exercises: Awareness of Mood, Emotions & Body
Exercises based on the feeling of (sensory) touch help cultivate a heightened awareness.
"Expressive movement, improvised movement – movement that comes from the core of one’s being. Exploring this most intimate aspect of physical activity, not only to free it but also to develop it further, as a more sophisticated communication through that elusive and intangible medium – creativity."
- Concentrate on listening what my body is saying (the sensation of movement or strain in muscles, tendons, and joints. However, Do Not concentrate on the emotion and feeling during my movement) regarding how to move myself.
- Trust the wisdom of inherent in our body
- My breathing with outside world and inside how my body feels. Giving some and taking in some.
- Feeling the feet on earth and head in clouds. Feet becomes earth. Knee become water and soil.
- Pelvis becomes water.
- Arms and chest and shoulders become air.
- Fire in the belly and comes out comfortably out of my eyes.
- I identified with water today. Became water and moved. Felt joy in water as an element. Playful above and stable below. I drew ripples of a drop. Felt like its an eye to my soul. Inward and outward.
It is possible to balance your conscious and subconscious mind through by watching your bodily reactions to various stimuli. Every movement has its appointed place, duration and weight. From simple yet profound actions of the body, attention and mind, the language of dance is brought to life. Somatic therapy is a form of body-centered therapy that looks at the connection of mind and body and uses both psychotherapy and physical therapies for holistic healing. Dance/movement therapy (DMT) in USA/ Australia or dance movement psychotherapy (DMP) in the UK ; looks at the correlation between movement and emotion.
3. Witnessing Exercises: Art for healing
- The session each of us made 2 drawings.
- The first drawing I made was of pale monotonous blue swirling waves and a vortex
- The second drawing I made drawing was of orange and yellow flaming forest
- We were asked at the end of the session to combine them (as in out one over the other) and raise it against the light and see what we found in the combined drawing.
- As I saw my two drawings against the light, one over the other; I saw a drawing of a dynamic paradise. This moved me.
4. Witnessing Exercises: Learning to hold space for others
Personal Risk Management
New behaviour becomes new positive thought patterns which can eventually become the dominant pathway. The must develop Courage and Kindness i.e having true confidence, humility and consideration for others. You need to learn to grow self-compassion in order to be able to be kind. If you pretend, you will be out, sooner or later, until you really change. Don’t try to outdo anyone else or it can backfire. You need to be patient with yourself as you develop yourself. We also tend to learn better when we teach others.
Firstly, before we start, it will be good if you take the word "anger" out of your vocabulary and think in terms of fear, hurt or frustration. Now think of someone who you love but who has always hurt you deeply. If this person were suddenly gone tomorrow, what would wish you had had the courage to say? while imagining talking to that person begin your statement with: "I wish I had the courage to tell you...."
Maybe your mother was flawless, but it's more likely she made mistakes. Whatever her errors, you inherited a legacy of sorrow. You can and should find a way to heal what is call the "mother wound." it can be feeling of unloved, needy, stupid and helpless. If none of these feelings are familiar to you, it's a sure sign that you've been very well mothered.
We expect the world of them, and we do not wish to lower our expectations. We want our parents to embrace us, to tell us they know we were good children, to take back their hurtful criticisms, to give us their praise, to undo the favouritism they've shown to a brother or sister. Once you're feeling that pain or emotion, try and connect it to your past to uncover where that pattern of pain began. Now you need to forgive your parents and let them in again. Strange as it may seem, a grudge is a kind of clinging, a way of not separating, and when we hold a grudge against a parent, we are clinging not just to the parent, but more specifically to the bad part of the parent. It is important to separate from our parent—which is to stop seeing ourselves as children who depend on them for our emotional well-being, to stop being their victims, to recognize that we are adults with some capacity to shape our own lives and the responsibility to do so.
Along the way, we may have to express our protest, we may have to be angry and resentful, we may even have to punish our parents by holding a grudge. But when we get there, the forgiveness we achieve will be a forgiveness worth having.
- Mental Prisons: We cannot control how other person thinks of you but we can avoid assuming what that person can do or will do. Some people will act defensively by put you into predefined boxes and judge you suspiciously or assume that you are less capable. You can avoid being like them. Assuming the worst is often a self-fulfilling prophesies which leave you with only one bad outcome. When others go low and you go high, you are no longer a prisoner of you negative pattern of thoughts and there is also a small chance that the other person may pleasantly surprise you. It is a small price to pay to get unstuck and get out of your emotion jail.
- Over Complaining: The universal tendency of finding thousands of faults in others (even though nobody is perfect). You are only projecting your own weakness by calling it out. Even if you are right on the issue, this approach has never ever worked. You cannot correct it by pointing it every time, out as the person will forget it repeatedly, no matter how much you try. Instead, become the Light by removing your own victim mentality, and not judge others. The solution is to find a way confront in some another way, make peace with it or leave the job.
- Win-lose or low-trust mentality.
- Trying to balance too many roles which can effect your health and productivity. There are different forces which try to knock us off balance. Reality is that if you try to over manage, you will crash. When you are balanced you can take care of yourself and be well groomed. The sustainable way is to have love of dear ones, being there for those loved ones and the support of a complementary team who compensate for our weakness.
Mindfulness = awareness
Instead of backing away from negative emotions, accept them. Thought is just a thought and a feeling just a feeling, nothing more. Acknowledge how you are feeling without rushing to change your emotional state. Many people find it helpful to breathe slowly and deeply while learning to tolerate strong feelings or to imagine the feelings as floating clouds, as a reminder that they will pass. Negative emotions also most likely aid in our survival. Unpleasant feelings are just as crucial as the enjoyable ones in helping you make sense of life's ups and downs.
Bad feelings can be vital clues that a health issue, relationship or other important matter needs attention. Even if you successfully avoid contemplating a topic, your subconscious may still dwell on it. Those who tried to muffle the thought reported dreaming about it more, a phenomenon called dream rebound. The exercise may shift your perspective and bring a sense of closure. You may also try doing mindfulness exercises to help you become aware of your present experience without passing judgment on it. One way to train yourself to adopt this state is to focus on your breathing while meditating and simply acknowledge any fleeting thoughts or feelings.
Meditation (ELEMENTS Exercises): Building resilient in life by gradually practicing awareness or mindfulness. Breath by expanding your lungs and release by letting your stomach out. Sometimes you will tap into a wellspring of peace. Other times you might feel waves of sleepiness, boredom, anxiety, anger or sadness. Images may arise, old songs might replay, long-buried memories can surface. If your mind wanders, don't be concerned. we can be flooded with memories, plans or random thinking. It's important not to blame yourself. Notice that you don't invite your thoughts. Thoughts come and go without our volition, but we don't have to be ruled by them. Try to balance your aware of: the floor, your body sensation as you breath, each part of your backbone from your pelvis to your neck, your distractions, thoughts that come and go, the four elements etc
- Earth: Meditation through Dancing-Movement during the day
- Fire: Meditation near sacred fire (Agni) - "sacrifice, devotion, worship, offering"
- Water: Meditation while immersing yourself in water (Snana) preferably just before sun rise - liberation
- Air: Yoga Breathing exercise Breathe in for 5 seconds. Hold the breath for 3 seconds. Breathe out for 7 seconds
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You can do this even while colouring Mandela with your non-dominant hand, in order to purely immerse yourself, without thinking or analyzing; is quite therapeutic. It is fun, creative, nonverbal, hands-on and cheap and helps with your mood.
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Here are a few yoga tips to improve muscular strength, flexibility and coordination (along with strength training & cardio):
Men in 30s daily require 15,500 to 17,000 calories (balanced diet) per week which means, to lose 1 kg per week, you need to burn off 7,500 calories deficit per week more than what you consume (about 3-4 hours of workout per day) and 8 hours of sleep.
Since your hips are very close to your body’s center-of-gravity, stronger hips would mean that you have better control of your balance.
ALL power comes from the ground, nowhere else! Because your legs are connected to the ground, they are most responsible for pushing off the ground to generate power throughout your body. Your legs also happen to be the biggest muscles in your body, which is why all proper boxing punches are typically thrown with the legs pivoting and rotating.
Again, the legs generate the most power! Not the chest and definitely not the triceps. If you look carefully at many of the most dynamic and complete punches or boxers in history, you will see that they have great legs more often than great arms or big chests. Look very carefully at the typical boxer’s body and you won’t find over-developed pecs or huge triceps. Marcos Maidana, Manny Pacquiao, Thomas Hearns, Julian Jackson, and Felix Trinidad are some names of guys that immediately come to mind. These guys did not have big upper-bodies but they carried HUGE power in their fists. Even Mike Tyson, as dynamic a puncher as he was, was still more muscular at his legs than his arms!
Every limb in your body generates a certain amount of power individually but it is your abs that allow you to combine the force generated by every limb into one total force. Simply put, your abs allow you to connect the force generated by all your limbs into one powerful punch. Aside from connecting your whole body together the abdominal muscles help you breathe.
When you spend all your time hitting the heavy bag, you may not realize that the heavy bag is bouncing your hand back at you on the recovery phase. By neglecting to workout your back and rear shoulder muscles, you will have weaker punch recovery muscles. the back helps a lot in punch recovery–which is the speed of how fast you can pull your hand back after a punch.
Typically when boxers’ arms become too tired to punch or hold up to defend their head, it is usually because the shoulders that are tired! Think about it: when your arms get tired, it is usually always the shoulder that is the first part of the arm to get tired. From a physical standpoint, it makes sense since it’s a relatively small muscle on the edge of the arm that has to hold up the entire arm.
your arms are meant for connecting punches and NOT generating power. All your arms need to do is to connect the power generated by your body to your opponent! it’s more important to have fast arms than powerful arms. Fast arms give you that speed and snap. the triceps are for speed of straight punches. The biceps are for the speed and snap of your hooks and uppercuts.
The forearm muscles are for tightening your fist harder when you punch. A tighter fist means your hand will hit with a more solid punch. At the same time, a tighter fist means your hand is less likely to be injured since the bones don’t have much room to move around and get misaligned.
Heavy is not a weight you cannot handle, it is a weight you can handle. Heavy is still a weight that you can handle, whereupon your ligaments and joints aren't suffering. This is repeated twice because no matter how many times people are told to keep it light, they go always go too heavy and present their bodies with tremendous risk in terms of injury
- The human body will always try to prevent possible injury and damage by adapting to any physical activity that is demanding and performed on a regular basis.
- Once your body finds the number of sets, reps and resistance being used in an exercise easy you have to increase one or all of the above to carry on getting bigger and stronger. If you do a lot of reps you can increase your endurance. Doing a small number of reps with heavy weights can increase your strength. Your muscles have two types fibers called fast-twitch and slow-twitch. The fast-twitch are associated with strength. They give out quickly but are bigger than slow-twitch fibers. The slow-twitch fibers are associated with endurance.
- there is an optimum rate at which the overload is applied in order to cause body adaptation by continually increase the intensity of your training to encourage new muscle growth.
- You need gloves only if you are doing very heavy weight lifting.
- There is no way to target weight loss to a specific area of the body because your body decides where it wants to put on weight and where it wants to take it off. Know if you are apple or pear shaped.
- It’s important to progress. Once you feel comfortable doing the desired number of reps, make sure to slowly add resistance.
- The core muscles can be trained with as high as 50 reps, making sure to work your way up slowly. For someone who wants lean, toned muscles, and have an overall conditioned body, 12-15 reps is a good number to shoot for with the upper and lower body. If your goal is to gain a little more strength and add muscle weight, 6-10 reps is a good number to shoot for.
- Some people lift very light weights - so light that they could do 20+ reps without feeling exhausted - but stop at 12-15 because those are "the rules" of lifting.
- Achieving total exhaustion is key to developing more lean muscle. It will increase your metabolism as you build strength and tone your muscles, and give your metabolism a boost for several hours post-workout.
- To find your ideal ("max") lifting weight, first decide how many reps you want to do, based on your lifting goals. To build strength, do higher weights for 6-8 reps. For overall toning, try moderate weights for 8-12 reps. And to build endurance, do lighter weights for 12-15 reps.
For example, if want to do 10-12 bicep curls for overall toning, you might try 10-15 pounds. If you can do more than 12 reps, the weight is not enough. If you can’t do 10 without breaking proper form, you should lighten up a little. After a few workouts, you'll get the idea.
- Sleep is instrumental to good health and even weight loss. A disruption in your hormones and your different metabolic processes has all kinds of adverse effects. Your fat cells respond to the food you eat differently, based on your hormones. Sleep loss affects the level of certain hormones, putting your body in a position to gain weight.
Sleep loss also can cause a lack of desire to achieve goals because you feel fatigued and "run down." Sleep is also important in developing lean muscle tissue. When you work out, you are actually tearing your muscle – sleep and proper nutrients help re-build the muscle. Yes, sleep is a big deal!
- Actually, a bit of fatigue in the afternoon (usually hitting around 3 p.m., varying according to when you wake up) is very common. Studies have shown that humans were actually "designed" to sleep in the afternoon--just like when we were kids.
Are you spreading out your meals/snacks evenly throughout the day? Doing so will keep your energy levels stable all day long. You may be experiencing either a drop in blood sugar because it has been too long since you have eaten, or you could have had a quick surge in blood sugar followed by a sharp drop. Refined carbohydrates/sugar/very large meals can cause this. My advice would be to:
- Avoid or limit caffeine. You should try to have less than 1-2 cups per day of any caffeinated beverage (tea, coffee).
- Drink more water- this will actually sustain your energy more than coffee will and keep it up.
- Exercise regularly. This will give you more energy too.
- Eat several smaller mini-meals throughout the day to keep your energy levels stable.
- And if all else fails...Take a 20 minute nap in the afternoon!
- Yes, you should keep working out even though you are sore. Muscle soreness has two primary causes. The first soreness you experience happens during your workout ("the burn") and should subside within a couple of hours. This is caused by lactic acid production. When you are training and your muscles are not getting enough oxygen (anaerobic glycolysis), lactic acid builds up. You can break down lactic acid by continuing to move and by doing light aerobic exercise (such as walking) after your workout. This is why cool-downs are so important, especially for beginners. The longer you cool down, the faster that lactic acid will leave the muscles (typically within an hour).
The type of muscle soreness you are experiencing, up to a day or two (and sometimes even three) after your workout is known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness). DOMS is caused by microscopic tears inside the muscles, resulting from weight-training or fully exhausting the muscles during cardio. This is normal. Again, beginners will be more sore and usually for longer, but if you really worked as hard as you should have during a weight-lifting session, you should be somewhat sore for the next day or two.
This is where rest comes in. You absolutely must rest the muscles you worked for 1-2 days after a workout. Take at least one day off between strength training sessions, and if you are still very sore, take 2 days off. (This means from lifting, not from all exercise such as cardio). If you don't let your muscles recover and repair, they will continue to break down and you will actually get weaker.
To help prevent soreness in the future, and alleviate some of it now, be sure to:
1. Always warm-up for 5-10 minutes and cool-down for at least 5 minutes.
2. Stretch after a warm-up, during your workout, and after you are done. Only stretch when your muscles are already warm from some kind of light activity.
3. Stay active. The more your muscles move, the faster they will recover from exercise and soreness. If you choose to rest completely instead of "actively recovering" with light exercise, you'll probably be sore longer.
- Losing fat occurs in catabolic mode (which includes maintaining a calorie deficit), while adding muscle requires that you be in anabolic mode (which includes maintaining a small calorie surplus). But these modes aren't mutually exclusive; over a short period of time (like one day), the hormones and enzymes that make you catabolic or anabolic will all be active to one degree or another. In effect, you will be anabolic part of the time, and catabolic the rest.
This means you CAN design yourself a diet and exercise program that will allow you to add some muscle and lose some fat. It will take a semi-fanatical attention to the details of planning and timing your nutrition and exercise in just the right way. It also means that you won't be able to lose fat or gain muscle as efficiently or quickly as you could if you focused on just one of these goals at a time.
Since most people don't have the time, knowledge or patience to settle for the slower rate of progress of this program, we usually recommend to start by aiming to lose fat and preserve existing muscle, and then, once the fat is off, switch the priority and aim to gain muscle (and weight) while minimizing fat regain. This makes the most sense simply because all weight loss does involve some loss of muscle mass (it can be very minimal), but weight and muscle gain do not have to involve fat gain.
If you want to focus on building muscle mass, doing cardio after your strength workout is not a good idea. The hour or two immediately following a strength training session is the best time to be in anabolic mode, which means you will be better off doing some eating right away than doing the cardio. Ideally, try to do your cardio and strength workouts on different days, or at least later on the same day, if necessary. Aiming for three to four high-intensity cardio sessions per week (about 20-40 minutes each) is your best bet for avoiding fat regain while trying to add muscle. Again, staying well hydrated and eat a good post-exercise meal after both strength and cardio workouts.
There are limits on the amount of exercise you want to do. Too much may cause excessive stress and strain, and too large of a caloric deficit interferes with normal metabolic functioning and will accelerate muscle loss and decrease fat loss.
Getting and staying well-hydrated is very important to enable your body to replace glycogen (energy stores in the muscles). It's also a good idea to eat a post-exercise meal (or snack) of about 300 calories, with a 4:1 ratio of complex carbs to protein. It's true that many people either gain a little weight or don't see any change on the scale for as long as 4-6 weeks after making a significant change in their level of exercise. This is often explained as "gaining muscle while losing fat" but that isn't quite accurate. This extra weight is usually water.
When you start doing more exercise, your body begins storing more fuel in your muscle cells, where it can be used easily and quickly to fuel your workouts. The process of converting glucose (carbohydrates) into fuel that your muscles actually store and use (glycogen) requires three molecules of water for every molecule of glucose. As your muscles are building up glycogen stores, your body has to retain extra water for this purpose. That's what causes most of the initial weight gain or lack of weight loss. This is a good thing—not something to worry about.
However, despite what the scale says, you are actually losing fat during this time. The extra water retention will stop once your body has adjusted to its new activity level. At that point, the scale should start moving down. You'll end up with less fat, and muscles that can handle a larger amount of work.
The strength training, when done correctly, will help preserve existing muscle mass. Maintaining an overall calorie deficit forces your body to use your body fat to replace the energy used up by both forms of exercise. Higher intensity and longer duration workouts (cardio and strength) will use more energy. Note: Neither form of exercise actually burns much fat during the exercise itself; it's the total amount of energy expended that determines how much fat you will burn. Limit your high-intensity cardio to no more than 45-60 minutes per day. More than that can increase the rate of muscle loss. Adding extra low intensity activity like walking is usually okay.
- A cardio workout is anything that raises your heart rate for an extended period of time, usually 20-30 minutes. Although you may be breathing heavily during sex, this isn’t necessarily because your heart rate is up. It has more to do with hormones and what’s going on with your nervous system. (Think of how your may breathe harder or feel your heart rate increase if you’re scared—that doesn’t mean you’re getting a cardio workout.) Cardio works large muscle groups repetitively (such as how running uses your large leg & arm muscles and swimming uses your whole body). Sex does not typically use major muscle groups (or at least in a full range of motion the way that these examples do).
- In the morning, your body has gone 8+ hours since eating or drinking anything. Your blood sugar levels are lower at this point, and your body doesn't have adequate fuel to workout optimally. Usually, experts recommend eating something—even if it's just a small snack—within 2 hours before working out. When your body doesn’t have proper fuel in it, many problems can result, the lesser being that your workout performance suffers, and the greater being something like passing out during exercise.
However, like I said—every body is different. Some people can workout on an empty stomach with no problems, while others would end up very sick and feel the negative effects of it. When I workout in the morning, I always eat (and drink) something first thing after I wake up. Usually by the time I start my workout it doesn't hurt my stomach to exercise with a bit of food on it. I have to do strength training first, and then eat a light snack. Then in an hour do some cardio for 1/2 hr. In the beginning you gain weight but that's till your body gets adjusted to the water retention.
Also, I think there might have been a bit of confusion here about metabolic rates in the morning. Eating breakfast in the morning has a positive effect on your metabolism, but exercising on an empty stomach does not.
- The mantra is nutrition, rest, and variation. change the intensity, duration, mode, type of exercise, the number of repeats, resistance level, the music, etc. Circuit training is a great way to do resistance training and aerobic/anaerobic training in one workout. You select a certain number of exercises, and go from one exercise to the next with little or no rest, until you've completed all of them. A circuit can be set up any way--it’s fun to be creative. You can do a full body circuit, a lower body circuit, core circuit, upper body circuit, etc. By doing the exercises consecutively, your heart rate stays in the aerobic zone, at the same time developing lean muscle tissue. You can also add in exercises like jump rope and step-ups to make it an anaerobic workout.
Circuits are great for all levels, beginners up to advanced. A circuit of 6-8 exercises is usually a good beginner level, working up to 12-15 exercises done twice for advanced. As you can see, a circuit can last as short as 10-15 minutes and go up to 60 minutes.
- Resistance training is a great way to develop strength and create a "whole" body. The more lean muscle tissue you develop, the more calories you'll burn, and the better your body will handle all of life's challenges, both mentally and physically. It is important to try to work out the upper body, lower body and core. The core consists of the lower back, hips, upper and lower abdominal, and obliques. Not only should you work all three areas, you should also concentrate on working the anterior (front) and posterior (back) part of the body, to avoid imbalance in muscle.
- Think about which aspect is most important to your workout: aerobic activity or strength training. Is your primary focus to burn as many calories as possible (aerobic activity) or build muscle (strength training)? If aerobic activity is most important, do it first because the intensity and duration could be diminished otherwise. If strength training is most important, do it first because the amount you can lift and how many reps/sets you complete can be affected if you are more tired. This will ensure optimal performance on the most important activity. (For example, someone training for a race would probably do aerobic activity first.)
Another thing to think about is occasionally alternating the order of activity. When you do the same exercises in the same order over and over again, your muscles get smart. They become efficient and aren't challenged as much, leading to plateaus in strength gain and weight loss. Every once in a while, change it up for a week or so and you should continue to see results.
- The best thing you can do is develop strength around your knees without putting a lot of pressure on them. This means targeting your quadriceps, hamstrings and hips. Here are a couple ideas:
Straight Leg Raises – Lie on your back. Keeping your leg straight, lift it into the air. Hold for 10-20 seconds and lower it to the ground. Do the same for your other leg. You can do variations of this on your back, stomach, and both sides as well. Try two sets of 15 reps to start, and slowly progress from there.
Swiss (Physio) Ball Squats – Place physio ball between lower to mid back and wall. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Spread feet shoulder width apart and make sure toes are pointed forward. Slowly bend knees to 90 degrees, and return to standing position, making sure to keep knees bent slightly. Make sure to place feet far enough in front so when you bend to 90 degrees, your knees don't go past the plane of your toes, but only squat down until just before your knees bother you. If you can only go down 1/4 of the way, that's fine; simply hold that position for a little while to help build more strength.
You can also try some low impact aerobic exercises, such as rowing, biking, or the elliptical machine.
You can do any of these exercises on a regular basis. About 4-5x a week should be fine.
- They go by different names (fitball, Swiss ball, physioball or exercise ball to name a few), but stability balls are some of the best exercise tools around. You can do so many different exercises with them. But most importantly, a stability ball will help you develop your core (abs, lower back, oblique) muscles.
Balls come in different sizes, typically between 55-75 centimeters when inflated. The size you should purchase and use depends on your height.
- If you're up to 5'7" tall, use a 55 cm ball.
- If you're between 5’7" and 6’2", use 65 cm ball.
- If you're taller than 6’2", use a 75 cm ball.
- If you have an opportunity to try one that is fully inflated, you should be able to sit on it with your knees at a right angle (thighs parallel to the floor) while you feet are flat on the floor.
- There are many vegans and vegetarians out there who are not being healthy about their diets. Even without consuming animal products, many veg'ns could still be consuming too many refined foods, fatty, high sugar foods, and not enough fruits and vegetables. So, as you can see, just being veg'n doesn't necessarily mean you're healthy.
The biggest problem I see veg'ns run into is removing foods (like meat, dairy, eggs, etc.) but not replacing these foods with plant-based alternatives that are similar in nutritional value. For every food group a veg'n removes from his or her diet, something has to be added back in. That means:
- Replacing meat with other high-quality protein sources, such as edamame, tofu, beans, lentils, legumes, eggs or egg whites (for ovo-vegetarians) and meat analogs (like veggie burgers.
- Replacing dairy products with other calcium-rich foods, such as calcium-enriched soymilks, soy yogurts, non-dairy milks that are enriched with calcium (like almond milk, rice milk, etc.) and possibly even a calcium supplement.
- Also, there are several nutrients that vegetarians and vegans need to make sure they're getting. Vitamin B-12, for example, is hard to come by in plant foods. Vegetarians and vegans need to be conscious about this nutrient (available in vegetarian supplements and fortified in nutritional yeast and some other foods), along with adequate calcium intake (found in dark leafy greens, almonds, broccoli, and fortified juice and soy products). Still some other vegetarians might want to monitor their intake of other nutrients like iron.
- You shouldn't eat a full, filling meal too close to bedtime, but a small, healthy snack is often okay.
It is possible to include a nighttime snack, especially on workout days, to prevent cravings and to get a good night’s sleep. What are your total calorie needs? Set aside about 200 calories for an evening snack. Then fill your kitchen with healthy choices for these 200 calories. Examples: a bowl of cereal/milk, hot chocolate, yogurt, 1/2 sandwich, fruit. Keep track of exactly how much you can have of each snack for 200 calories so you don’t fool yourself or make bad decisions at the last second.
Now you have set limits and have a plan. If you are willing to fix a snack, sit at the table and eat it (without watching TV, etc.) then you are probably truly hungry and not just eating out of boredom.
Early White-coat Syndrome
When you walk and your leg muscles squeeze, the venous pump works well. But when you sit or stand, especially for a long time, the blood in your leg veins can pool and the pressure in your veins can increase. Deep veins and perforating veins are usually able to withstand short periods of increased pressures. However, if you are a susceptible individual, your veins can stretch if you repeatedly sit or stand for a long time. This stretching can sometimes weaken the walls of your veins and damage your vein valves. Varicose veins may result. They can cause symptoms of aching pain and/or itching in others.Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins that you can see just under the skin. The term varicose derives from the Latin 'varix', which means twisted. Avaricose vein is usually tortuous and dilated. They usually occur in the legs, but also can form in other parts of the body. Varicose veins are swollen veins, most commonly in the legs and most often down the back of the calf and on the inside of the thigh. Varicose veins result when pressure on a vein makes the vein wall give and bulge, rather as a balloon gives when it is blown up. Increased pressure in the veins occurs when there is increased weight in the tummy (abdomen), slowing down the upwards return of blood back towards the heart. The tendency to varicose veins is inherited from your parents - some people unfortunately inherit veins which 'give' more easily, and this makes varicose veins more likely. They usually aren't serious, but they can sometimes lead to other problems. Left untreated, varicose veins may worsen over time. Patients who neglect early symptoms of vein disease will likely see a worsening of their veins. Once a vein condition is first detected, time is of the essence. While vein disease may progress slowly at first, once it reaches a critical point, it may progress at a much more rapid rate. Taking preventative measures can curb this progress and reduce the need for more invasive treatment options. Simple lower extremity exercises such as walking and jogging can help the circulatory system and facilitate the return of venous blood back to the central circulatory system.
Blood clotting within affected veins. Termed superficial thrombophlebitis. Restless legs syndrome appears to be a common overlapping clinical syndrome in patients with varicose veins and other chronic venous insufficiency. You are more at risk if you are older, a female, obese, don't exercise or have a family history.
What are the typical symptoms of varicose veins?
- Aching and pain in the legs.
- Swelling of the feet and ankles.
How do I deal with varicose veins?
Circulation is key. A get-up-and-go attitude is good for vein health, as long as it entails easy, fluid movement of the legs, like walking or jogging. The following methods may help:
- Put your legs up when you are sitting, with your feet higher than your hip joint, 3 or 4 times a day for about 15 minutes at a time. This tends to encourage the veins to drain.
- Wear support tights (medium strength at least), putting them on in the morning first thing before your veins have had a chance to swell.
- Walk around as much as possible - the working muscles of your calves are the pumps that try to send the blood from the veins back up into your body. Advice about regular exercise sounds sensible but is not supported by any evidence. Strenuous exercise that involves minimal aerobic activity and straining of the abdominal muscles actually has negative effects on the venous circulation. Increasing abdominal pressure can ultimately impair the return of blood back to the heart, further exacerbating venous reflux and venous insufficiency. These exercises include prolonged abdominal posturing (yoga), sit-ups, crunches, weightlifting, and lunges.
- Drinking plenty of tea, essential oil massages Blood clotting within affected veins. Termed superficial thrombophlebitis.
The best way to sit at a desk is to have your feet flat. A three-quarter-inch shoe insole provides arch support and reduces ankle pressure.
Towel crunches with your feet also can help build strength and stability. Choose low-impact sports, such as biking, swimming or other aquatic exercises. Avoid running.
A worn-out pair of shoes has lost its cushioning, padding, and elasticity, and isn’t supporting your feet and ankles. The right pair of shoes will ease mild foot and ankle pain (however, not eliminate these conditions.)
A supportive arch is also an essential part of a quality shoe. A shoe with good arch support will distribute your weight evenly across your foot. You never want one part of your foot bearing more of the weight and being more susceptible to injury. Look for shoes with a firm mid-sole and extra padding.
Some actions that can contribute to heel spurs include:
- Running too often or running on hard surfaces such as concrete
- Tight calf muscles
- Shoes with poor shock absorption
Most people seek medical attention because of tissue inflammation and intense pain near the toe or ball of the foot. Treatment directed at the cause of bone spurs may include weight loss to take some pressure off the joints. Seeing a physical therapist for ultrasound or deep tissue massage may be helpful to relieve the pain. Treatment directed at symptoms could include rest, ice, stretching, and NSAID drugs such as ibuprofen. Listen to your body and switch to different activities such as swimming or riding a bike until your heel spurs improve. Try some of the following activities:
- Calf stretch: Place your hands on a wall. Extend 1 foot behind you with your knee straight and place the other foot in front of you with the knee bent. Push your hips toward the wall and hold the stretch for 10 seconds. You should feel a pull in your calf muscles. Repeat the stretch 20 times for each foot.
- Plantar fascia stretch: Perform this exercise in the morning before you've done any standing or walking. Cross your injured foot over the knee of your other leg. Grasp your toes and gently pull them toward you. If you can't reach your toes, then wrap a towel around them and pull on the towel. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds and repeat 20 times for each foot.
Sciatic Nerve and Sciatica
The pain feels worse in the leg than in the back. It may range from a mild ache to severe burning or a shooting pain. Numbness or tingling (pins-and-needles) can occur in your leg and foot. This usually is not a concern unless you have weakness in your leg muscles or foot drop.
One or more of the following sensations may occur because of Sciatica:
- Pain in the rear or leg that is worse when sitting
- Burning or tingling down the leg
- Weakness, numbness or difficulty moving the leg or foot
- A constant pain on one side of the rear calf
- A shooting pain that makes it difficult to stand up.
Sitting usually causes the most pain because of the weight this position puts onto the discs. Activities, such as bending or twisting, worsen the pain, whereas lying down tends to bring relief. Running or walking may actually feel better than sitting or standing for too long. Sciatic nerve pain can be so excruciating and debilitating that you don’t even want to get off the couch. However, living a sedentary lifestyle is often how people end up with sciatica to begin with. Some physical therapists actually call it “sitting disease”.
Not all causes of sciatica are preventable, however, taking steps to protect your spine and improve your posture can significantly reduce your risk of injury. Prevention is key to avoiding recurrence:
- Proper lifting; avoid sitting for long periods
- Good posture during sitting, standing, moving, and sleeping
- Regular exercise with stretching and strengthening
- An ergonomic work area
- Good nutrition, healthy weight and lean body mass
- Stress management and relaxation
- No smoking
Without exercise and movement, the back muscles and spinal structures become deconditioned and less able to support the back. The deconditioning and weakening can lead to back injury and strain, which causes additional pain. In addition, active exercise is also important for the health of the spinal discs. Movement helps exchange nutrients and fluids within the discs to keep them healthy and prevent pressure on the sciatic nerve. Core muscle strength. Many sciatica exercises serve to strengthen the abdominal and back muscles in order to provide more support for the back.
Inflammation is a normal part of your healing process post-injury. But, excessive inflammation can be the main cause of your sciatica. Stand up straight and stretch yourself upwards “trying to grow as tall as you can”. This will help to turn on your deep abdominal muscles that open the spaces in your spine where your nerves are vulnerable to pinching. If it’s painful to sit for more than 5 minutes, limit your sitting to 4 minutes. Take regular breaks to stand and walk around. If you must be on your feet, prop one foot on a small block or footrest, and then switch feet throughout the day. Your body provides heaps of painful hints. Listen carefully and you will recover quicker.
These sciatica exercises alone will not necessarily make the patient with sciatica from spinal stenosis "better", but they will allow the patient to more easily hold a posterior pelvic tilt during activities, especially standing and walking. This posture will allow the patient to perform more activities with less pain.
Take pressure off your back by sleeping on your side or on your back with a pillow under your knees. If you don’t feel pain, you are in the right position.
For fast acting relief try slowing down. ~ Lily Tomlin
"A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs - jolted by every pebble in the road." ~ Henry Ward Beecher
"It is better to laugh about your problems than to cry about them." ~Jewish Proverb
"You can't really be strong until you see a funny side to things." ~Ken Kesey
"Laughter is an instant vacation." ~Milton Burle