Health in Motion By Cheryl Van Demark, PT Cheryl Van Demark is a registered Yoga teacher, Yoga therapist and physical therapist with a Masterís degree in physical education and exercise science. She has enjoyed over 25 years of helping individuals optimize alignment, restore movement, build strength and cultivate a balance in body mind and spirit to pursue joyful living.
Sunday, February 3, 2013
How To Listen To Your Heart's 7 Desires This Valentine's Day
January has a way of whizzing by and some of us need a loving boost to act upon the 2013 resolutions we set. Would you like to do something loving for your heart this Valentine's Day?
If you were to ask your heart what it wants from you the most, it would answer that it wants you to love life and to keep it healthy so you may live long enough to learn this lesson. Most Americans are likely aware that heart disease consistently poses our greatest health risk.
Below each step, helpful suggestions for success are offered from my training as a yoga therapist and physical therapist along with links to some great resource materials I use with my clients.
1. Get active
150 minutes minimum per week in intervals of at least 10 -12 minutes at a time. Hate to exercise? Picking something that you enjoy is the key to wanting to move. Getting outside to receive sunshine, fresh air and intentionally smiling will lift your mood and therefore boost the energy you have for your exercise. No gym or home exercise equipment? Groove to some music or better yet, sing yourself some songs and "dance like no one is watching" on your own back porch...Your pets will love you! MOVE it or loose it is very real. Work your way up to 300 minutes per week of moderate exercise using a variety of activities. Resource: Link to Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
2. Eat Well
Feeling lost about how to do this? Frustrated by failure? The brain's pleasure centers can actually become addicted to fat sugar and salt. Highly processed foods have very little nutritional value, so we can take in lots of calories yet give our body very little nourishment. No nourishment means no energy, which makes it difficult to want to get active! Resources:
Link to Food Rules on www.eatingwell.com Link to ForksOverKnives.com
3. Reduce Blood Sugar
Fasting blood sugar levels should be below 100. Balanced blood sugar relates to # 1-3 above. Type 2 Diabetes has become so prevalent in our culture, even in our children now , you should consider asking your health care provider about getting tested. Exercise and diet are keys in preventing Type 2 Diabetes. Resources: Link to American Diabetes Association
4 . Create a healthy body weight
Follow #1-#3 above. Imagine how much more energy it would take to get through your day if you had to pack around 3 bowling balls (this represents average extra body weight) then visualize how light you would feel and how much more energy would be available to you for fun when you unpack them! Adopt a credo of eating to live over living to eat. Understand that you truly are creating your body's tissues out of what you eat and drink. Believe deeply in your success (present) rather than thinking I will be successful when (future)...... Resource: Link to Waist to Hip Ratio & Body Mass Index on www.bbc.co.uk
5. Control Cholesterol
Cholesterol levels higher than 200 mg/dL are a like an S.O.S. from your body asking you to eat more plant based foods, less animal products, sugar and salt. Understand that cholesterol is also released into the circulatory system as a part of our chronic stress response, so it is not just a dietary issue. Heredity plays a significant role as well, so ask your health professional about blood tests even if you exercise and eat well. Resource: Link to National Institute of Health on www.nhlbi.nih.gov
6. Manage Blood Pressure
Deficiencies in #1,2 4 &7 all increase our risk of hypertension. "Normal" blood pressure is less than 120 systolic/80 diastolic. Take your blood pressure not only at rest the same time each day, but also when you are feeling stressed. Begin to associate what you are thinking with the feelings those thoughts create, and then how your body is reacting to those thought patterns as reflected by your blood pressure (and muscle tension, dry mouth, erratic breath and heart beat etc).
Coping with our stress in ways that defuse our feelings of wanting to explode is key in managing blood pressure. Understand that your blood vessels contain connective tissue, so as we get physically stiff with age and activity, this is happening to your circulatory system as well. Resource: Link to Dr. Dean Ornish on Stress Management on www.ornishspectrum.com
7. Stop Smoking
Love yourself enough to take a moment to close your eyes, slow down your breath, and notice what feelings you are experiencing just before you light the cigarette. Make this observation regularly and see what you might learn about what factors might be at play beyond the warnings on the cigarette package. Resource: Link to The American Lung Association on www.lung.org
Your heart says "Thank you for the loving boost. Happy Valentine's Day."
You can contact Cheryl Van Demark, or learn more about her programs, through her website, bodylanguagestudio.net.