Movement: Why regular exercise is vital to our wellbeing

exercise and health BFI studio classWe know we need to exercise regularly.  Yet making movement a routine part of our daily lives can be a challenge. For years, I moved energetically and even strenuously daily  – taking dance as a teenager and in college, and then discovering Pilates in my early 20s. Naturally, owning a Pilates and Movement studio for over 15 years here in Tucson, and prior to that running studios in Denver, I’m passionate about the power of daily movement.

That said, it doesn’t mean I feel like it every day. Or even if I feel like it, that I’m able to fit in the time and level of exercise that I’d like. Sometimes daily life can present one obstacle or distraction after another, and my best intentions go astray.

I know many of you experience the same thing.  Yet to improve our mind and overall health, and to age well, demands that we commit to daily and regular exercise.

A dear client asked me yesterday: “Can you give me one tip to help me get up in the morning and exercise? I have good intentions but just can’t seem to incorporate it into my life.”

My answer: “Start small, but be consistent.  For example, perhaps lie on the Foam Roller 5-10 minutes. Or start your day with a few rounds of Sun Salutations. Those are a great way to deepen your breathing and increase your flexibility.”

Another tip: Increase your lunchtime an extra 15 minutes to allow for a short walk after eating.

 There are 3 components to a healthy fitness program:

  1. Flexibility
  2. Strength training
  3. Aerobic exercise

Flexibility = stretching. One thing that we can do to help us lower the chance of injury is to stretch before or after exercise. A favorite of mine is the Sun Salutations series from yoga (mentioned above) – it’s an ideal way to greet the day and focus on how your body is feeling before beginning strength or cardio vascular exercise. If you plan to attend my small group meditation class in April, you’ll learn a chair Sun Salutation series there.

Strength training = weight bearing exercise. Strength training includes a variety of weight bearing exercise. Hiking can be weight bearing- simply place a small back-pack on and chose a walk or hike that isn’t flat.  Pilates is excellent for strength and flexibility.

Aerobic = endurance. Walking briskly just 20 – 30 minutes three or four times per week is a great start to an aerobic exercise habit. If you haven’t moved in a while, try 10 minutes and build up. You’ll be surprised how quickly your stamina increases! Set yourself up for success by calculating your Target Heart Rate. If don’t know yours or would like to learn – just send me a note .

Exercise does not mean diving into an Olympic training program. Although, if you are training for specific event, it is always my pleasure to help you meet you training goals.

As always, please talk to your physician before beginning a new fitness program. You want to improve your health, not risk it.

In health,

genevievenedderwithmandala

 

 

Inspired by Lesson 3 of the Perfect Health program, “Perpetual Renewal.” Now registering for the June 2017 program at 520-299-6541.

Top 7 Tools for Living a Happier, Healthier Life – Part 2

by guest writer Heidi Hackler, CHHC

Check out Tools 1-3 for Living a Happier, Healthier Life if you missed them. The following 4 Tools will help to complete your healthy lifestyle journey.

Tools 4-7 for Living a Happier, Healthier Life

4. Eat a Rainbow of Veggies & Fruits

rainbow of fresh produceEat veggies of all colors of the rainbow, and eat more veggies than fruit (see “Eat Less Sugar” in previous post. Yes, fruit sugar is “natural” sugar, but it’s still sugar), also try these tips:

  • Strive to eat 9-to-12-servings of veggies and fruit per day. A “serving” equals 1/2-cup, so you’re looking to eat 4.5 to 6 cups of veggies and fruits every day.
  • Eat organic produce when ever possible, not only is it healthier for you because you’ll be consuming fewer pesticides, it’s also healthier for the planet, and the farmers who grow your produce, so it’s a win for everyone when you eat organic.
  • Check out the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 produce list.

5. Detox Your Health & Beauty Routine

Could your health and beauty routine be toxic? If you’re using big-name brands of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, and even toothpaste from the average grocery store or drugstore shelves, there’s a good chance they contain toxins.

Here are some facts that may amaze you:

  • The average American woman puts between 12-20 toxic chemicals on her body every day.
  • 60% of everything you put on your skin is directly absorbed into your body.
  • A little known fact: the FDA does NOT regulate health and beauty products, they leave it up to the individual companies to decide if their products are “safe.”
  • Over 1,300 toxic chemicals have been banned in Europe but are still used today in US health & beauty products, and most of those have not been tested to see how they interact with each other.
  • In the the U.S., terms like “all natural” and “organic” mean little to nothing on health and beauty products. The Organic certification in the U.S. is based on agriculture certification, and doesn’t pertain to health and beauty products. Because neither the FDA nor the USDA police health and beauty products, no one is overseeing the use of “USDA Organic” labels on these products.
  • In Europe, the Soil Association certifies health and beauty products as organic under very stringent regulations. I’ve recently discovered Neil’s Yard Remedy Organic health and beauty products from the UK, which have received the highest certification for organic, ethical, sustainable, carbon neutral, cruelty-free, non-GMO products.
  • Check out this infographic of known toxins to avoid in health and beauty products, and compare this list to the products you use. You may be surprised.

6. Exercise

If you’re reading this post, you’re likely already into Pilates or body movement, which is great! I’m also a big fan of Yoga, Dance, and Zumba, but don’t really care for regimented gym-type exercise myself. If you’re like me, try thinking outside the gym to get your body moving. Here are a few easy ways to get fit and add more exercise to your day.

  • Take the stairs whenever you can, your glutes will thank you.
  • Park at the other end of the parking lot from where you are shopping.
  • Get together with a few friends and walk at lunch or after work. Walking and talking makes the time fly by. Consider using a FitBit or other device to track your steps, and try for 10,000 steps per day.
  • Do a lap around the floor of your office building or house each hour. Set a timer to remind yourself to stop working, get up and walk for 5-minutes. Studies have shown moving for 5-minutes each hour can boost your metabolism all day long. And while you’re at it drink a glass of water before you sit back down.
  • Try some chair-yoga, like this video from Amanda Ringnalda at the Chopra Center.

7. Meditate for Happiness

As someone who’s practiced meditation for over 25 years, I can attest to its grounding, calming and happiness factors. Meditation has been scientifically proven to improve overall happiness as well as brain function.

  • Guided meditations are a great way to start if you are new to meditation.
  • The Chopra Center offers free guided meditations online.
  • Deepak and Oprah are once again offering their 21-day Free Meditation, starting on Monday, March 16. You can register here; this is my favorite way to start the day.

I offer a free Kick-Start Your Health Strategy Session, and virtual holistic health and wellness coaching to help you through these steps. Please contact me for more info.

Heidi Hackler of Happy Well LifestyleHeidi Hackler is a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHHC) and blogger, who received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She Inspires Healthy Habits Into Action via her blog at HappyWellLifestyle.com, and her holistic health coaching programs. She has also written articles for Happiness + Wellbeing Magazine, and blogs for Chopra Centered Lifestyle.
 
Heidi lives with her husband and two kittens aboard their 40’ sailboat. They have a zest for living the Happy Well Lifestyle: a happy, healthy, active, fun-filled life where they practice yoga and meditation, eat a gluten-free, dairy-free, veg-aquarian diet, and laugh a lot. She welcomes new followers at:

Taking it to the next level: The Wundas of Pilates Chair

So first things first: I am not an exercise fanatic. You will not find me at the local gym 5x a week, churning out cardio, lifting a multitude of weights or pushing the squats (as much as I fantasize about regaining my 30-year old backside, reality is…). That said, I’m “into” the Pilates Chair; specifically, the Pilates Chair Quartet class I’ve been taking at Body Fundamentals here in Tucson.

It started with exploring an alternative to the monotony of guilting myself into a gym workout a couple of times each week with limited results. I’m a marketing writer, which means a lot of sitting in front of a computer. Not conducive to fitness or flexibility. I’d done some Pilates in Seattle several years before and knew I’d enjoyed the variety and the class camaraderie. Over coffee one day, Geneviève Nedder suggested I try the Beginning class she’d recently developed and launched at the studio.

After only a few sessions, I remembered why I’d enjoyed Pilates so much. I felt so good after each session. Because there are only 4 of us in the class, Stevie (the instructor) could easily correct our form or suggest alternative moves to accommodate a bad knee or ankle, back injury or the like. Within weeks, I could see the definition in my arms, my hips were narrowing (!) and I was feeling more optimistic about anti-gravity effects than I had in years!

I’ve since moved to the Beginning / Continuing class for more challenging, faster paced work on the Wunda Chair (Intermediate is really fast and more suitable for those who are teacher level). I’m challenged in each class because every workout is different. Each movement and progression hits different areas, so you can’t “zone out” but need to remain very “in the moment” to complete successfully. That’s a great benefit of Pilates too, it makes me slow down and focus. I can’t think about what’s next on my to-do list or project deadlines. I have to breathe and pay attention in order to move properly.

I’ve committed to a weekly Beginning / Continuing Pilates Chair Quartet class and recently added a semi-private Pilates session to the mix. The visible results include a narrowing waist, more defined arms, and tighter glutes. Plus, I’m more flexible and have better posture. My most exciting achievement to-date? The Pike! I think of it as kind of an inverted push up. Very challenging, I feel really strong each time the bar rises a little higher.

Yes, I still (try) to work in straight-up cardio a few times a week with either a round on the elliptical, a walk or a bike ride, too, but Pilates has become my gift to myself, my health… and my anti-gravity efforts!

nora haileNora Haile runs her own marketing writing and communications support firm, nhaile communications, providing writing and online marketing support services to small to mid-sized businesses in Arizona and the Pacific Northwest.

Spine Twist Pilates matwork- preparation.

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Begin Spine Twist by sitting tall and squeezing your legs together.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for  Mat Classes in February. A special thank you to all of our out-of-town visitors.  It was a pleasure meeting every one of you and having you in class!  Travel safely and please come visit again the next time you’re in town.  Be well!

– Geneviève

 

 

Let Nature Rejuvenate You

DSCN0261My husband and I just returned from Northern, California. We were fortunate enough to spend the weekend celebrating the elopement/marriage of dear friends. They were surrounded by the love of friends, family and exquisite nature! Their celebration was beautiful as was the setting.

Friday morning I walked along the lake in Mill Valley and took a 3 hour hike. The sun was shining, and breeze blowing lightly. Sea gulls were abound, and the sky was a brilliant bright blue.  Unlike the photo below from the next day, I could see the Golden Gate bridge in the distance.  Awe inspiring!

It’s easy for me to become bored with my exercise practices and fall into a routine: walking in the morning, Pilates equipment 2x a week, hiking on Sundays, etc. etc. Being outdoors is different. It provides authentic rejuvenation. It is at once unpredictable and mysterious. “Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same”. -Emerson.

Today I am grateful for nature. The gift of walking and the ability to breathe easy.
I give thanks for the love of friends and family and another day of health! Walking, Swimming, Hiking, Dancing, Pilates, and the ability to experience my body inspire me today.  Take time to soak in  nature today!  Allow the mystery, and majesty of nature to inspire and rejuvenate you.DSCN0268
Geneviève's signature with nature shot

Previously Published September 2011