1. Getting Fit Using Alternate Exercise

    October 17, 2013

    by Laura Green

    Well, age 34 is just a few months away (much fewer than I would like). The days when I would jog or swim a couple of miles a day are distant, dusty memories. Now, I get out of breath climbing the stairs out of the basement. But, I would like to get back into the healthy department, the question is, where should I start?


    Yeah, I always thought this was an “old lady’s” way of pretending to be in shape. Boy, was I wrong? I first became acquainted with yoga a few years ago when a middle-aged woman I knew – a breast cancer survivor – told me about the flexibility she had gained through yoga. I have never been flexible.

    Another exposure to this form of exercise was when I saw a 93 year old man reach down and touch his toes – with no trouble. He said that he was flexible enough for that because of yoga.

    Let me tell you, yoga is not “sitting funny” and chanting weird stuff. This non-impact exercise regimen has stretched parts of my body that I never thought could bend. It is ability based, so that old back injury from a car wreck is not in the least aggravated by my exercise. Regardless of your physical ability, size, age, and even inclination, you will find that yoga can build your core strength and improve muscle tone. All of this helps your circulation and lowers stress levels, too.

    Yoga doesn’t have to be overexertion, you work your muscles fairly hard and as a result you’re increasing the blood flow through your body. Pranayama, a breathing exercise can increase your heart rate and help supply nutrients and oxygen to your muscles. It all helps to boost your metabolism and everyone knows that a healthy metabolism contributes to the burning of excess weight and in turn will make you fitter.

    Tai Chi

    Tai Chi is a form of fitness more or less a moving type of yoga, You could refer to it as a sort of meditation in motion. The movements are adapted from martial arts and the movements of animals and birds in nature. The movements are arranged in “sets”. The movement is slow and graceful, and meditation is a key part in the exercise, or vital force in the body, to Taoism. But even if you don’t subscribe to the mysticism, Tai Chi is a great way to build your sense of balance and strengthen muscle groups.

    Tai Chi also features breathing exercises, “Qigong” can be practiced sitting, standing or lying down and can help mobilize and relax the body. Tai chi is a great way to reduce stress and increase circulation and muscle tone, a great way to get back into fitness.

    Fitness Retreats

    This is a bit of a different one, I would say the least popular most likely. But when you just don’t have the willpower to get youself doing the previous methods, or even just standard exercise, this is a great way to get fit again. The negative moniker greatly underestimates the good done by spas and camps. A day, a week, or a month at a weight loss clinic or spa can be the jump start for your weight loss and fitness regimen. There are reality shows based on this premise, with coaches that “urge” people to perform physical feats they never before would have attempted.

    However, not all weight loss camps and spas are like that. You’ll find that extreme exercise and dieting is not necessary when you have a little encouragement from a skilled coach and trainer. While the extreme features of televised fat camps may appeal to some, to others, weight loss and fitness just seem further away.

    Alternative exercise can be the perfect way to get back in shape if you haven’t already tried it. Just remember, it’s all about sticking with it, Perhaps getting older won’t be so bad, after all.

  2. Raise Your Confidence and Reduce Pressure with Meditation

    June 22, 2013

    benefits of meditation

    by Colin Zauner

    There are many situations in your daily life that can contribute to pressure, anxiety, stress, and loss of confidence. If you want to raise your self confidence and alleviate pressure, all you have to do is adopt meditation in your daily routine.

    Meditation is just one of the most effective anti-stress remedies when done regularly. Meditation state could be facilitated by different techniques which include visualizations, affirmations, breathing, mantras, and many others. Though it can be difficult at first, regular practice will make meditation effortless.

    To boost your self confidence, you should learn about affirmation meditations. This is done in a sitting position. You must be relaxed and comfortable, while closing your eyes. You can choose a daily affirmation and it must be said [silently] in an engaging voice. Do this for ten minutes, and don’t forget to observe proper breathing.

    You can also do visualizations. Try to visualize yourself in a confident or self-assured state. This is something that you can do every day and almost anywhere. If you are busy at work, you can squeeze this into your schedule without difficulty. I know some people who, to release work stress, schedule a 5 min slot for silent meditation every 2 hours when in the office.

    To be able to learn everything about yourself and your go deep into your thoughts, you have to practice mindful or present moment meditation. This is an ancient technique, and it is one of the most effective relaxation tools that you can find.

    Meditation also helps you to maintain your inner energy (read on Qigong to see how to improve and increase your energy), here is what you can do:

    ·    Spend more time with people having positive energy and positive mindset

    ·    Calm your mind and meditate. While you are in a relaxed state, you must try to feel the energy that is flowing inside your body. Visualization can serve as your protective shield.

    – You can also increase your energy levels through meditation. There are various ways to reduce pressure and increase positive energy. Just sit still and pick a quiet place inside the room or office. Hang out with positive and energetic friends and avoid the ‘energy vampires’ – negativity draws energy away. You also need to spend more time outdoors. This is your chance to ease the stress and burdens of daily living. Enjoy the sun and fresh air as you stroll at the park or go shopping.

    Meditation should be effortless and it is a great opportunity to do nothing. There are many mindless activities that you can do prior to meditating. For instance, you can stare at the starry sky, read magazines, take a walk, and even watch your favorite TV show.

    Did you know that laughter is one of the best things that can elevate energy levels? This helps the body in boosting the levels of endorphins (or “good hormones”) and it decreases stress or anxiety.

    Start practicing meditation today, your mind needs as much relaxation as your body.

    Image Credit: Mark Sebastian

  3. How Breathing Can Reduce Many of the Symptoms of Panic Attacks

    March 8, 2013

    panic attack

    Image Credit: Mark Haertl

    by Ryan Rivera

    Panic attacks may be an anxiety condition, but they’re characterized by some severe physical symptoms. These symptoms can be so debilitating that many people end up in ambulances, on their way to the hospital because they believe they’re suffering from a heart attack, brain tumor, or some type of dangerous and deadly disease.

    But panic attacks and panic disorder are still caused by nothing more than anxiety, and in many ways it’s how you react to your attacks that create panic attacks so severe that they require hospitalization.

    Stopping the Panic Symptoms

    Panic attacks can be triggered by stress, or they can be triggered by nothing at all. Some people have panic attacks only during moments of intense anxiety, while others can have a panic attack simply because they notice that their heart feels different than normal, as though something is wrong with it. Some people experience panic attacks simply because they are afraid of getting one.

    No matter what causes your panic attacks, the more severe the panic attack is the more likely you are to:

    • Fear getting one if the future
    • Alter your behavior to avoid panic attacks
    • Experience health anxiety over “what if” questions about panic attack symptoms.

    That’s why it’s so important it is to not just cure your panic attacks, but also reduce their severity when you experience one. One of the best ways to do that is to simply change the way you’re breathing.

    Panic Attacks and Hyperventilation

    Panic attacks can cause many symptoms, including chest pains, rapid heartbeat, lightheadedness, shortness of breath, and weakness or tingling in the extremities. But most of these symptoms aren’t caused by the anxiety itself. It’s caused by a symptom of that anxiety known as hyperventilation.

    Most people have heard of hyperventilation before, usually as kids when their parents tell them not to breathe in and out too quickly. But what you may not realize is that hyperventilation isn’t the act of not getting enough oxygen. It’s actually the act of breathing out too much carbon dioxide. Your body needs carbon dioxide to operate, and when you breathe too quickly you end up with blood that actually has too much oxygen.

    Breathing quickly isn’t the only way to hyperventilate either. You can also hyperventilate by trying to take deeper breaths than your body needs, and not holding that air for long enough for it to turn into carbon dioxide. This is especially relevant because hyperventilation can actually cause you to feel as though you’re not getting enough oxygen, causing you to take deeper breaths than you need in order to compensate and unfortunately making your hyperventilation worse.

    Reducing Hyperventilation Symptoms

    Since most of the worst symptoms of panic attacks are the result of hyperventilation, then it stands to reason that if you can stop hyperventilating before or during an attack, you should be able to reduce the panic attack’s severity.

    That’s why when you feel like a panic attack is coming on it is in your best interests to slow down your breathing. Try breathing in slowly through your nose for 5 seconds, holding for 3 seconds, and then breathing out through pursed lips for 7 seconds. This type of slower breathing will rebuild some of the carbon dioxide levels in your body, and potentially reduce the severity of your panic attack symptom.

    Only the First Part of the Process

    Reducing the severity of your panic attacks isn’t going to cure them forever, because hyperventilation is not the sole cause of the attack. But a weaker panic attack is a great first step, because it reduces the fear that you have over the meaning and future of your panic attacks, and from there you can learn to combat the anxiety and hopefully life a panic attack free life.