Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Yoga class helps Alzheimer's patients

Inspiring story here of how yoga can help the lives of people with Alzheimer's.

Whether they meditate alone or in a yoga class, patients will reap benefits, said Dr. Paula Raia, director of patient care and family support at the Alzheimer's Association's local chapter. As Alzheimer's and dementia ravage the brain, sufferers can become agitated and prone to anxiety. Gradually they experience a loss of memory, intellect, and social skills. Their grip on reality progressively slips away.

The relaxation, breathing and even remembering poses seems to really help these patients.

"It's kind of nerve-wracking and frustrating. It takes so long to put yourself together," said Courtney, her house keys attached to a wristband key chain so she won't lose them.

"I may put something down and not remember where I put it. Sometimes I can't get the right word out of my mouth. I will mix up letters."

Courtney said yoga has given her some solace. "It keeps you in touch with your body," she said during stretches. "It's a refreshing thing."

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Killer Stress

Here's a hearty endorsement of the National Geographic special on stress. They examine with a pre-eminent neuro-biologist the real physical dangers stress causes on the body down to the chromosome level.

Here's a quiz from National geographic site, and a pointer to the very informative site at Stanford about the documentary.

In a quick laymen's synopsis: stress has real measurable effects on multiple systems in the body including immune function, brain, diabetes, cardiovascular system even a protective layer on the chromosomes called telomeres. So your genes will ultimately unravel themselves if these telomeres decay. Well they decay faster (essentially all your body's cells age faster) under stress!

In other examples, obesity is not only exacerbated by stress, it may be a root cause. There are even lifetime effects of stress in utero - you come away realizing that unresolved and untreated stress is very dangerous, particularly over time to the body.

This was all backed up by studies they did on baboons with brain scans, examining various systems, even looking increased viseral fat (the worst kind, that causes heart attacks). It was all tracked back to stress.

On the positive side, when social interactions and stress reduction took place, the effects to telomeres and other systems in the body were reversed! So there is hope for positive measures.

Some of the conclusions: we need to value and promote a society that considers stress reduction as a major goal because it makes people flourish.

I was babysitting for my wife last night and didn't get to workout until relatively late. But I thought - what better night for Yoga-X. And for sure, although I ended near 11, I showered and slept like a baby last night!

So exercise and use your relaxation techniques - your whole being (body and mind) will experience reduced stress and aging because of it!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Red wine may prevent radiation damage

Apparently oncologists have discovered that a certain type of the miracle compound risveratrol, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cholesterol properties, can also protect against radiation.

Tests in mice showed that resveratrol, when altered using a compound called acetyl, could prevent some of the damage caused by radiation, the researchers told the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology meeting in Boston.


Yet another reason to enjoy this miracle elixir regularly (in moderation of course!)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Advanced Bosu demo

Check out Lisa's Colorado Mountain Fitness posts - some great skiing-related tips.

This guy's doing ridiculous balance exercises. Seems like some of this stuff's training for the circus or something ;).

Bosu and Plyo (like Power 90 master plyo/legs) are two integral pieces of a skier workout. The balance and cardio capacity that result will have you ripping the slopes (and steep powder trails) in no time!

Running destroys knees? Not really!

It turns out worries of osteoarthritis in your knees as you age due to running is overblown - in fact there are many benefits from it according to this article.

"The persistent myth about exercise - and running, in particular - is that it increases joint problems, arthritis, and will ultimately destroy joints and lead to disability," said William J. Evans, an exercise physiologist and chair of nutritional longevity at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Not only is this "not true," he said, but the opposite is true: "There is decreased disability after decades of running."

So get out there and exercise - 5 times a week, break a sweat and get younger!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Heart rate zone charts

It's a common question - the answer depends on your goals for the exercise you are doing. Are you trying to burn fat? Increase your cardio capacity? Intervals? I'll address those in a future entry, but I thought it would be good to have some charts for reference that you can kind of glance at quickly.

Here are a few for reference I found:

This one has suggested activities with specific age ranges

Here's a popular one for 10 second counts and ages:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

K2 Blog link

Check out this report - good stuff.


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Colorado snow

Nice pic from vail the other day - ski season isn't far off!

Another from Colorado

I'm planning to do a Wachusett GPS with another few folks - you're free to join just shoot me a note and we'll work something out (presuming you have Paypal ;). We usually do the Bronze pass for $199, you get nights, all weekdays and lots of discounts at other hills. You even get 1/2 price Alta (Utah) lift tickets!

Hey all!

This is my personal fitness blog, postings about health, fitness, beachbody coaching and the like.

Welcome and feel free to say hi!