Category Archives: Youthful Movement

How We Reached Our Health & Fitness Goals in 2015 (Do this in 2016)

On January 5th of this year,  I declared that I would workout 300 days out of the 365 days. I put this fitness challenge out there and 16 women joined me. We called ourselves The 300.

This group was filled with amazing super-women who were crazy busy with children, work, and obligations, but made time for their health & fitness goals. This post is about how we did it, what inspired us, how we motivated each other, and so much more.

“This group has made me into a new person. I crave for that daily workout because of it and it’s now a habit I have.”  ~ Van

14 Things WE did to Be Successful with our Health & Fitness Goals

1. We formed a team.

We Are The 300

Successful teams support, motivate, and inspire each other and that is exactly why The 300 group thrived. We were there for our fitness sisterhood. We created a private Facebook page and cheered each other on every day! Someone was always posting something on the group page and that just stood as a reminder for all of us to keep going.

2. We made a commitment.

The ladies pledged to make their health & fitness goals a priority  and though some may not make the 300 days exactly, it really doesn’t matter because  they each did more for their well-being by being part of the group than if they hadn’t participated.

“OMG I’m not going to make the 300, I’ll be a few short, but I know I worked out more than I would have with it. So I’m trying to keep going!!!” ~Joy

3. We followed through.

We made ourselves accountable for our workouts by posting them on our group page. By keeping track of our daily workouts we showed our commitment and inspired our fitness sisterhood to move that much more.

We Inspired Each Other4. We encouraged each other.

We commented on each others exercise posts with positive  thoughts — “That’s awesome!”, “You look great!”, “Get it!” and so on. We shared funny and motivational memes to get everybody laughing or fired up. Our group board was like being in the locker room with your best girls.

5. We didn’t judge each other.

From our sweaty selfies to lamenting on “falling out” or being “lazy” — we kept it real and respected everyone’s efforts. We also didn’t let a sister wallow too long in her “down” days and encouraged her to get back into the playground as soon as she could.

A fitness tip that really worked for some of us was not to let 2 days pass of eating poorly or not moving.

6. We stayed positive.

We had thousands of posts on our group page and I can’t recall one single negative post. Most women are motivated through positive affirmations and encouragement and this crew excelled at giving that loving support.

7. We shared our struggles.

The plank struggle is real! Having to make a choice of waking up earlier or staying up later to get our workout in there was also challenging for many of us. Muscle aches and pains was a regular complaint, but we “Sucked it up!” (our group page banner.) We did our foam rolling, stretched, rubbed Tiger Balm, and persevered.

These Ladies Rule!8. We shared our triumphs.

From accomplishing a particularly hard workout, to getting back to pre-baby weight, or finishing a marathon — we let each other know how we were making our “fitness life” work. I feel like every woman who participated in our group is a champion in her life — a Queen of her life — because everyday she decided to care for herself along with everything and everyone else. (Like a boss!)

Get Family Involved in Fitness9. We got family involved.

A family that exercises together is healthier! Plus, the kids get to be inspired by their hard-working mama and they’re  learning good habits!

10. We used life-events as motivation.

Our group had several life-events to celebrate and were incentivized to work that much harder to look and feel our best because of them. From weddings, birthdays, and once-in-a-lifetime vacations — these milestones kept us focused and driven!

“I think more importantly, this workout kept us all accountable. I would have never worked out this much/often if it wasn’t for the motivation of this group.” ~Van

11. We tried new things.

Trying new exercises and going to different fitness classes keeps things fresh, can workout muscles you may not normally use, engages the brain, and many times pushes you out of your comfort zone. That’s a good thing! (Challenge yourselves ma!) A few of the workouts that stood out in our group as fun, hard, and just cray-cray:: hip-hop yoga, crossfit, surfing class, kung fu, obstacle courses, and plank challenges!

12. We shared our best practices.

We liked apps and gadgets that tracked our movements.  We used Pinterest and magazine workout infographics to inspire our next workout. The Sweet Sweat waist band is totally gross, but it sure makes you sweat and less water weight is LESS WEIGHT YO!

Go out to NatureHiking and leisurely walks in nature are the best! Working out in the gym and getting that endorphin rush feels good, but being out in nature just gives  the calm and peace that every woman needs in her life.

13. We kept it simple.

We determined early in the group that a workout was anything where we decided to “purposefully move” because it was about creating a healthy lifestyle. With that way of thinking, “working-out” became that much easier. Many of our workouts were done at home or outside. Walking, hiking, and / or running was the default exercise. And truly, it’s the best way to see the city where you live or are visiting!

“Even with the workouts I post, there are many times I don’t feel I am doing enough to push myself and accelerate towards my goals fast enough. But this group inspires me and keeps me going. So don’t give up and don’t feel ashamed to post with or without your workout count. And as always – thank you!” ~Jenn

14. We had fun.

Last but not least — we had fun this year! We sweated, laughed, ate good food, and did it together. We moved more than ever and kept our promises to build a healthier and more fit-centered lifestyle and we did it — one day  and one workout at a time.

Tweet it like you mean it!

I'm going to create a fitness sisterhood and rock 2016! Click To Tweet

or

I pledge to workout for 300 days in 2016! Click To Tweet

If you need help achieving your health & fitness goals next year then check out my life-coaching services.

ROAR!

Your coach,

Jeanne

7 Body Skin Energizing Techniques to Improve Blood Flow, Skin Texture, and Vibrancy

We love to feel good. We love to treat our body good. Can I get an amen ladies?!

Here are my seven favorite body skin energizing techniques that I use weekly and some on a daily basis.

1. Self-Myofascial  Release (SMR)

SMR is a self massage technique to relieve tension — trigger points — within the body. Using a foam roller, lacrosse ball, or any massage stick or tool, apply pressure on the trigger point — where your muscle feels tense — and hold for 30 seconds or longer. This timed pressure sends a signal to your Golgi tendon organs which senses change in muscle tension.  Regular use of SMR techniques improve muscle length tension, blood-flow, and relieves muscle pain.

I do my SMR work as a warm-up to physical activity, as a standalone exercise routine to relieve my body of tension, and as a night-time therapy to help me relax and get a good night sleep.

2. Massage

I use to get traditional massages often,  especially when I suffered chronic back pain, but for the last five years, since my back pain has decreased substantially, I get them less. I do give myself daily massages after my shower. I knead my muscles and rub the oil onto my skin, working out any tension I may have as I say gratitude to my body. (I say things like, thank you for being so strong, so healthy, and so forth…) The act is so much more than just “rubbing lotion on yourself” that I definitely consider it a massage and a self-love body treatment.

When I massage myself, I alternate between using almond oil, coconut oil, and olive oil. I work the oil onto my slightly damp skin until it’s absorbed. When I have muscle aches from a hard workout or kung fu class, I will mix a tablespoon of magnesium lotion with either almond oil or olive oil and rub the mixture on the body parts that feel really tense to help relieve any pain. (Do not put the magnesium lotion mix on your face because it will dry it out. I accidentally did this on a night out and it was not a good look. Even my mother said something. Oy vey!) Massages from yourself or from others are a great way to decrease stress, lower heart rate, increase blood flow, and improve skin texture.

3. Dry Brushing

Using a natural brush, brush your skin with upward moving motion — brushing towards your heart — to improve lymphatic system (part of the immune system), blood-flow, and skin texture. Dry brushing removes dead skin cells and promotes a healthy skin cycle. The more you dry brush,  the faster new skin is revealed making your skin look vibrant. I don’t dry-brush a lot, probably 2-3x a month. It’s because I already exfoliate my skin everyday so I don’t feel it’s necessary. But, I like to do it as a treat.

To avoid skin irritation, it’s very important that you never share your dry-brush with anyone. (I’ve seen what happens when people do and it’s bad news.) Also, wash and dry your dry-brush properly after every use by hanging it upside down or with bristles faced down so that mold or mildew don’t develop. Keep your dry brush in a dry place when not in use.

4. Hot & Cold Shower

Take a hot shower and then right before you finish, make the water super cold and rinse yourself off. Think of this hot and cold shower technique as like you jumping into a hot spring and then straight into a cold spring. Your skin is enlivened, your mood lifts, and you feel absolutely energized.

I love this technique! Rinsing yourself off with really cold water is spiritual to me. (It’s one of the techniques I talk about in my first book, “How to Be Happy 99% of the Time.”) During this time, you become absolutely aware of your surroundings. You feel the water on your skin, you hear the sounds of the water, and you’re so present that hardly any thoughts come to your head. Additionally, I like to do a “thank you” chant as I’m braving the cold. (So that’s me just saying “thank you, thank you, thank you” as I’m doing my this-water-is-cold-as-heck shower dance.) This may sound strange until you try it and then you’ll get addicted like me!

5. Joint Mobility Routine

As you age, joint mobility may decrease. Get that nutritious synovial fluid flowing to lubricate your joints, bring blood, oxygen, and nutrients, and remove waste. Below is a video of my simple joint mobility routine that I do in the morning, I may also use it as a warm-up to physical activity, and a “break” activity during my daily walks.

6. Body Clapping

Body clapping is exactly how it sounds. You give your body physical claps or slaps. (Also, demonstrated on the video.)

Body clapping can be done anywhere. I do it in nature, at the gym, and even in the shower. This body energizing technique improves skin look, blood flow, and Chi energy.

When you find yourself in nature — among trees especially — you can do this body clapping technique. Stand in front of a tree and begin clapping your various body parts. Why do this in front of a tree if you can? Because trees not only clear the air of pollution, but they also clear your energy field. So as you do this body clapping technique — revitalizing your skin and improving your blood flow — the tree is also clearing your energy and improving your personal frequency. (Think resonance and entrainment!)

I do this technique at the gym, especially if I need to increase my energy because I’m about to teach class or take a class. I may do this technique in the shower to help invigorate my body.

7. Bear Walk

One of the best things I’ve learned from Tai Chi was the “bear walk.” Now don’t quote me that it’s called “bear walk,” it’s been over 15 years since I learned it. I’ve taught it as the “bear walk” to almost every client and relative I have and so I’m sticking with my story. (I’ve started taking Tai Chi again and they haven’t talked about this “bear walk” so I’m suspicious. Anyway, I demo it in the video below.)

Standing with your feet naturally apart, begin swinging your arms, creating a loose figure 8  or ribbon bow  like shape and your legs swinging with natural rhythm with your arms. Right arm and right leg move together, then the left side. This simple movement increases blood flow and improves Chi energy. I do it when I’m waiting in line, watching online lectures,  basically, anywhere that I have to be stationary but I have the urge to move.

But that’s not all! I have three more ways of energizing my body. They’re not really techniques, but more like good lifestyle choices 😉

8.  Earthing or Grounding

“Earthing” or “grounding” is walking barefoot (or sitting / laying down) on grass, sand, dirt, and even wet cement to absorb electrons from the Earth.  This is a great way to improve health and vibrancy. Most people, due to modern living conditions — shoes, houses, buildings, and anything that separates you from touching the Earth — are in what’s called a “positive charge” state making them electron deficient. When you are electron deficient you are susceptible to inflammation and disease. Put your bare-feet on dirt a few times a week and easily fix this problem.

The more distance there is between you and the Earth, the greater the charge on your body. In fact, this has been precisely calculated. For every meter you are above the ground, 300 volts of charge will build up in your body. (See The Feynman Lectures on Physics)

Besides being good for your body, “earthing” makes you feel good. Plain and simple — the better you feel, the more energy you have. I try to ground everyday when I walk with my dogs wearing my earthing sandals. If I have more time, I ‘ll sit on the grass for a few minutes and of course, our family loves to go to the beach every weekend so we get our grounding and family time all in one!

9. Get 8+ Hours of Sleep a Day

There is nothing that can replace the energizing effects of a goodnight sleep. Sleep is the natural way your body resets  to its balanced state. During sleep is the best time for your body to build and repair cells and tissues because it doesn’t need to use its energy on things such as physical or mental activity.

We’ve all seen and experienced the immediate effects of poor sleep. Our energy is depleted and our skin looks haggard.  Chronic lack of sleep can cause  irregular heartbeat, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and a host of other illnesses.

Everyone’s sleep needs will vary. Listen to your body. How does it run on 4,5,6,7, and 8 hours of sleep? Are you suffering from any health issues due to lack of sleep? Personally, I need 8-9 hours of sleep daily to be my best. After 40+ years, I know this about me and so I try to adhere to my body’s needs.

10. Eat Healthy

This is when you say — duh! But, it still needs to be said. You have to eat right to have great skin, vibrant energy, and overall good health. There’s no getting around it. Be good to your body and eat foods that make you feel amazing.

I hope you like my body energizing techniques! It was fun sharing them with you. 😉

Tweet it like you mean it!

I love to treat my body good! Click To Tweet

Need help feeling good? Check out my online life-coaching service 😉

Your coach,
Jeanne

Holistic Prescription for Reconnecting with Lower Abs, Pelvic Floor, and Womb Area + Meditation Video

A woman’s body goes through many changes throughout her lifetime. One of those changes is the waning or lack of connection — mental, physical, and spiritual — to her lower abdominal, pelvic floor, and general womb area.

There are several reasons why this decrease in connection may happen, some of which are: having children, the linea alba tearing or stretching, a groin hernia, sexual trauma, lack of sex, muscle weakening, aging, past-life trauma, mental aversion, and neglect.

No matter the reason for the disconnect, I offer this holistic prescription — therapies that address the mind, body, and spirit — to help any sister who may have use for it to  reconnect, strengthen, and heal the relationship to her womb area.

READ: I make no claims to diagnose, prescribe, treat, or cure any disease, physical or mental. I am not a medical doctor, licensed psychologist, or psychotherapist. Persons with psychological or physical illness that require a medical doctor, psychologist, or psychotherapist should contact licensed practitioners. I offer these holistic remedies as a certified fitness professional and life-coach. If you use my therapy suggestions, then you do so taking full responsibility for your well-being.

The Physical Component

Physical disconnection to the lower abs, pelvic floor, and womb area can stem from pregnancy, extreme physical fitness, injury, surgery, disease, and other reasons. Here are two examples of exercises that can help reconnect and improve neuromuscular efficiency in this part of the body.

One of the best ways to reconnect physically to your lower abdomen and pelvic floor is to do the Kegel exercise. The Kegel is an exercise to strengthen your PC muscles (pubococcygeus) also called your pelvic floor or pelvic diaphragm named after its inventor, gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel.

The exercise is fairly simple, but it does take some getting use to. The more you do this exercise, the better your motor control will be of your pelvic floor, but since it’s quite difficult to isolate these muscles, you end up doing isometric contractions of the surrounding muscles and so you inadvertently improve your connection and control over your lower abs and butt  muscles too. Click here to learn how to do the Kegel and try to do your Kegels everyday.

Another helpful exercise is to do palpitations and gentle massage on your lower abs and womb region. This method increases the mind to body awareness, improving your mind’s ability to recognize this area. Through touch, while mentally thinking of this part of your body will help the mechanisms that send and receive information to the brain. The more often you send these signals the better the effect. Perform this treatment a few times a week.  An optimal time to do this is before bedtime as it will help you relax priming you for a goodnight sleep.

When your brain is able to communicate to your lower abs, pelvic floor, and womb area more efficiently, the better your relationship is to the area which goes on to improve health, function, and movement. A lot of what happens inside the body goes on without your knowledge or conscious help, but like a manager to a project, you can provide guidance and a “list of expectations” (what you want your body to do.) Your ability to influence your body depends on how “aware” and “connected” you are to it. Improve your connection and awareness and increase your ability to guide your body to optimal health.

The Mental Component

Our mind is a powerful influencer. Thoughts and past experiences that are replayed in our mind influence the health of our body. Stress from bad memories, trauma, and fear of any sort can manifest itself into physical ailments. It’s best to heal these experiences so that you can give your body the best chance at being healthy.

Thoughts and past experiences that are replayed in our mind influence the health of our body. Click To Tweet

If there is an experience or thought in particular that comes to mind that is affecting your relationship to your lower abs, pelvic region, and general womb area, then  my suggestion is to find a doctor or therapist that specializes in that area to help you deal and heal the troublesome thought or experience. In my last post, I spoke of Matrix Reimprinting as one of the therapies that I use to help me heal bad thoughts, traumatic experiences, and limiting beliefs. You can read more about that by clicking here.

The health of a woman’s womb is vitally important. Not only is it the place that nurtures and carries new life, it’s an area where many women feel is what makes them a woman. A woman’s abdomen, uterus, and vagina are not just arbitrary physical parts of the body. These physical aspects of us are special, sensitive, and have great significance. Care for this area of your body like you would care for your daughter’s body.

The Spiritual Component

I present the following 10 minute meditation on connecting to your lower abdomen, sacral, and womb area. It’s easy and gentle and can be done anywhere you feel comfortable relaxing. In the video I use crystals to aid in my focus and to help raise the vibrational frequency of the heart and sacral chakras — it is not necessary to use them — but they are helpful (and pretty!)

This holistic prescription that I have offered — treatments that focus on the mind, body, and spirit — can contribute to the healing process of reconnecting to your lower abdominal, pelvic, and womb region. It’s very important to note that it does not replace the advice or help of doctors, psychologists, psychotherapists, or any other Western medicine. Holistic prescriptions should be used as complementary aid to existing measures that are provided by licensed doctors or therapists.

Tweet it like you mean it!

All parts of my body deserve my love and attention. Click To Tweet

If you would like guidance in your health and well-being, then check out my life-coaching services.

Be well my sisters and ROAR!

Your coach,

Jeanne

7 Best Practices for Exercising at Home

Working out from home has never been easier. With online fitness videos and training, you have access to every kind of workout imaginable.

Some training styles work better for the home environment such as body weight training, yoga, and Pilates. If you have a few basic exercise equipment such as dumbbells and a pull-up bar, then additional options are available.

When I first started exercising at home I found it difficult. It was hard to get motivated and I was easily distracted by house chores (which only came to mind when I thought of exercising – so weird lol). But I finally got the hang of it and I’m enjoying having more options to stay fit.

If you’re thinking of working out from home here are 7 best practices to help you be successful.

1. Schedule your home workouts on your calendar

Not only does this practice remind you to workout, it also helps to organize your day so you have time to workout.

 2. Do stuff you like

In the last year I’ve gotten into yoga. I signed up for unlimited yoga classes online for $18.00 a month. Even if I only do 2 classes a month, it’s already worth it because that’s the same cost for 1 studio class.

3. Video tape yourself doing the exercises

This practice helps you see your form and is a great way to document progress. I recommend exercising in front of a mirror because it helps you stay in good form too.

4. Take selfies where you are exercising and post them on Instagram

This tip is what really got me going with my yoga and handstand practice. The Instagram community is so supportive that it makes you want to practice and constantly do better. I urge you to do Instagram fitness challenges because it can really motivate you to move more at home.

5. Have your exercise equipment in plain view

This tip helps to remind you to workout. For me, sometimes I feel like my foam roller is calling my name saying, “you know you’re suppose to…”

6. Find an online trainer or DVD program with a coach you like

Coaches are important because they tell you what to do and help you stay motivated.

7. Do impromptu exercise moves that you randomly perform throughout your day at home

I mostly work from home and I’m always on the computer so I have a few exercise moves I do throughout my day to keep me moving.

  • I do 4 jump squats every time I walk away from the computer. I try to step away at least every 30 minutes.
  • I do 10 triceps dips on my chair. My desk chair is very sturdy and I will bust out these dips when I’m reading or watching something online.
  • I do 1 pull-up every time I pass the hallway bathroom. I have a pull-up bar set up on the door of my bathroom and while I’m cooking or working I do a pull-up and hang there for a few seconds.

Click here to watch some of my home shenanigans 😉 home workouts

  •  10 Push-ups. Sometimes I just drop to the floor or use a counter and knock out a few.
  • 1-3 wall handstands at least 1x a day to improve my handstand skills.

Incorporate some of these best practices when you workout from home and find more success with your health and fitness goals!

Tweet it like you mean it!

Home workouts rock! No pressure. No judgements. Just me getting my fitness on. Click To Tweet

If you need help achieving your health & fitness goals, then check out my life-coaching services.

Your coach,

Jeanne

Originally published on InspireHappy.com

Do these 6 Stretches to Prevent Future Back Pain

Back health is as important to the ageless body as heart health. A healthy, strong, flexible, and pain-free back lets you live an active and vibrant life. The opposite — a back that’s weak, stiff, and suffers from chronic pain will limit what you can do physically and dampen your desires to be more adventurous.

The statistics are stacked against most people. From the long-hour desk job and commute, the convenient comforts that stop us from being more active, the immense stress that many people live under, and the pervasive processed foods that promote inflammation — all these things contribute to the average person suffering back problems at some point in their lives.

What can you do to prevent back pain?

  • Stretch

Especially your back, hips, legs, and chest because tightness in these areas can contribute to back tightness and pain.

  • Get stronger

Strengthen your back, pelvic area, and core muscles to help support your back.

  • De-stress

One of the best things you can do to promote a healthy and pain-free body is to be less stressed. Stress feeds aches and pains — and even disease — so find ways that work for you to help relieve some of life’s pressures.

  • Eat better

Consume foods that are anti-inflammatory and avoid foods that cause inflammation to ward off chronic pain and disease.

  • Rest

Get more sleep and down time to support total body health.

Here are some of the stretches from my Back Care 101: Relieve Lower Back Pain and Bend Like Before online course and video set:

Stretches to Relieve Lower Back Pain

A) Great stretch for your lower back. As you bring the knee across the body, try to keep your shoulders down. Look to the opposite direction to increase the spine-twist-stretch feeling.

B) A more intense version of stretch A achieved by crossing the one leg over the other and  then wrapping  the crossing leg foot around the calf of other. It gives a deeper stretch to the lower back, stretches the chest as you keep the shoulder down and look to the opposite direction. Also stretches key butt and leg muscles that if tight can cause the lower back to feel discomfort.

C) A simple stretch the elongates the middle and lower back muscles. It also helps to open shoulders and stretches tight chest muscles a bit. Stretch your arms forward and keep your butt down, touching your heels. Placing the forehead on the floor has a very calming effect on the body.

D) A hip stretch that targets your IT(iliotibial band) and piriformis muscle to relieve tightness. Tension in these areas can contribute to lower back pain.

E) One of the best stretches to prevent deep back pain. Stretches the side oblique and the QL (quadratus lumborum) a deep back muscle.

F) Stretches lower back, butt, side of legs, and chest. Twist as far as you are able, keeping your shoulders down, chin pulled in, and stomach pulled in.

Mimic the pictures as best you can to get the best stretch!

When should you stretch?

Do these stretches often — especially after long days at work, when you’re under a lot of pressure, and during your “cool down” phase of your work outs. Hold each stretch for 30 seconds or longer to get the most benefits. Stretching before bed also helps to calm the mind and body, helping you have a more restful sleep.

When should you NOT stretch?

Don’t stretch when your body is “cold” — warm-up your muscles to prevent injury. Don’t stretch injured muscles. If you’re in lots of pain — see your doctor and rest. (You can also check out my video on how to deal with back pain flare-ups.)

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Maintain Joint Stability, Strength, and Health to Age Well

If you want to bend and move with ease in your old age, then you must care for your joints today.

Joints are what make all movement possible — from walking to dancing and getting out of bed.  Although there is no definitive answer on exactly how many joints we have in the human body, it’s safe to say, there’s a lot.

As an adult, most of you have 206 bones in your body with about 250-350 joints. (I say “most” because for me — I have 2 extra bones… :/ )

jointsWhat is a joint?

Simply stated, a joint is where two bones meet regardless of whether it’s movable.  There are different types of joints: bony joints, fibrous joints, cartilaginous joints, and synovial joints.

This post is about synovial joints and the synovial fluid within the joint.

What is a synovial joint?

A  synovial joint is two bones meeting,  encased in a fibrous capsule, separated by a film of synovial fluid.  This fluid, which is stored in the joint cavity helps bones move freely within the joint capsule.  Examples of synovial joints are the jaw, elbow, hip, fingers, and knee joints.

Synovial joints are complex, depending on their function they may have other characteristics such as cartilage pads, articular discs, and bursa sacs.   For example, in the knee-joint there are menisci, cartilage pads that “help absorb shock and pressure, guide the moving bones across each other, reduce the chance of dislocation, and distribute force across the entire joint instead of just a few points of  contact.” (Anatomy & Physiology, Saladin) Nonetheless, all synovial joints have synovial fluid.

What is synovial fluid?

“Synovial fluid is a lubricant rich in albumin and hyaluronic acid.  It nourishes the joint cartilages and removes their wastes, and it contains phagocytes that clean up tissue debris resulting from cartilage wear and tear.”  (Anatomy & Physiology, Saladin)

Think of synovial fluid as like the WD40 of  your body — it keeps you lubricated so you can move with ease and be friction free.

How can we support  our synovial joints and synovial  fluid so that they continue to do their job of helping us be mobile and injury protected for a long time to come? 

We must exercise.

More importantly, there is a formula — a protocol of sorts — to promote the health of synovial joints and synovial fluid and here it is:

1. Warm-up before exercise

Before vigorous activity warm-up because synovial fluid becomes thinner and more easily absorbed by the articular cartilage thus helping to protect the joint from undue wear and tear.

2. Go 60-85% of your max intensity

Do medium to high repetition of certain exercises such as squats and push-ups because repetitive compression of the joints during exercise is important to its nutrition and waste removal. Without exercise, joints will deteriorate from lack of nutrition, oxygenation, and waste removal.

But, if you max out — go 90-100% of your strength — which means you would only be doing 1-3-6 repetitions of a certain exercise, you may be putting your joints in harms way by over-loading and risking injury.

3. Do lift weights

Weight lifting helps to build bone mass and strengthens the muscles around the joint helping in injury prevention.

4. Add instability challenges to your workout

Do exercises that challenge your balance to help build joint stability. Strengthen your secondary “smaller” muscles a long with your primary  “larger” muscles to promote stability and injury prevention.

Moves such as the single leg touch-down improve the stabilizing muscles around the knee which help to protect the joint.

5. Do self-myofascial release (SMR)

Relieve tension in the muscles around your joints to keep them pain-free, protected against injury, and support range of motion. SMR is a technique where you use a massage ball or foam roller to relieve pain and tightness in the fascia and muscle tissues.

6. Stretch and stay mobile

Stretch your muscles and move often in different directions to maintain joint flexibility and mobility. The adage of “you lose what you don’t use” is absolutely true in this scenario.  Body flexibility and agility lessens if they are not utilized and nurtured.

7. Eat foods that support joint health

Consume foods that are anti-inflammatory and provide the necessary nutrients  such as chondroitin sulfate, glucosamine, calcium, and Vitamin D to name a few for joint health.

Tweet it like you mean it!

The freedom to move at every age starts with healthy joints. I like to move it, move it! Click To Tweet

If you need help in personalizing a health, fitness, and beauty program for you, then check out my life-coaching services.

Your coach,

Jeanne

Source:

Top 6 originally on InspireHappy.com

Day 13: Prevent Chronic Back Pain for an Ageless Body

Welcome to my 14 Day Ageless Lifestyle Makeover Challenge series!

The purpose of the challenge was to inspire you to make easy changes that would create more health, vibrancy, confidence, and timelessness in your life.  It covered food, skin care, fashion style, fitness, and so much more! Each day touched on a topic that helped you be your best at any age.

Here are the 14 days worth of lessons:

The winner of the drawing has been chosen and notified. Thank you to everyone who participated. If you’re just discovering this challenge now—do it on you own and reap the benefits of a more ageless lifestyle!

Chronic back pain dampens your ageless lifestyle.

A few facts about back pain:

  • Americans spend at least $50 million dollars a year on back pain issues
  • 31 million Americans suffer low-back pain regularly
  • Back pain is one of the leading causes of why people miss work and go to the hospital
  • Experts claim 80% of people will experience back pain at some point in their lives.

Chronic back pain debilitates not only your back, but how you age and the quality of your life too.

As a former chronic back pain sufferer, I know the toll it takes on your physical, mental, and even spiritual states of being. When you are in constant pain — where it seems you have no control —  you can slip into a depression that affects your health and well-being. You look and feel older than you are, hopelessness consumes you, and you do not want to do anything anymore because everything hurts and you’re always irritated.

My Back Pain Story

My name is Jeanne Floresca and I have worked as a dance instructor, an elite trainer, a corrective exercise specialist, and Pilates professional.

Yet my adult life has been shadowed by a back injury I suffered in a traumatic car accident when I was 16.  I vividly remember how my body jack-knifed as the seat-belt pinned my mid section in place while the rest of my body flew forward.

Living with pain

The back pain did not manifest itself until I was 21.  I suffered sleepless nights, and tried prescription medication along with ice and heat treatments, but none of these remedies provided any lasting relief.

The pain drastically affected my mental state; there were times when I was too demoralized to venture outside for days.  In addition, I started to develop piriformis syndrome, another painful condition, through my years of work as a fitness instructor and dance teacher.

By the time I was in my early thirties, I felt as though I had the body of a senior citizen. I was constantly anxious about my future:  “If I feel like this now, how much worse will it be when I am in my 60s and 70s?”

The medical “solution”

My doctors and therapists addressed my issues in a “piecemeal” way, rather than addressing the underlying issue, so they failed to provide any long-term solutions.

My doctor prescribed pain medication and muscle relaxants, easing the pain without addressing the real problem.  My physical therapist would give me a series of stretches, with the goal of isolating the affected area.  While these stretches felt good initially, I would soon be suffering pain in new areas of my body.  Isolating the affected area simply led to another imbalance, so the pain would shift rather than disappear.

I was also suffering secondary health issues, seemingly not connected to my back pain.  As I realized that all these issues were linked, I was inspired to create my own holistic program, based on the premise that all muscles are inter-connected.

My holistic approach

According to this principle, our muscles work as a “family”.  Weakness or damage in one set of muscles will radiate throughout the family, particularly if one muscle group is overworked and under strain, or another group is under-utilized.

Since I began my holistic approach over five years ago, I have been 99% pain-free and the secondary health issues have been eliminated.  I nurture my back by following my program at least twice a week. I still experience occasional aches and pains which I can manage easily myself, and my quality of life has radically improved!

Your DAY 13 challenge:

Prevent future back pain by implementing some of my holistic back care approaches today.

  • Strengthen your core muscles: back, butt, abs, and stabilizing muscles in the pelvic-lumbo region
  • Strengthen and stabilize shoulder girdle muscles and region
  • Stretch tight muscles that contribute to your back pain
  • Strengthen weak muscles that contribute to your muscle imbalance and back pain
  • Improve your posture — standing tall and upright helps to distribute weight and work correctly to not over tax the back muscles
  • Avoid foods that can cause inflammation as this will worsen any back pain
  • Eat foods that are anti-inflammatory because it will minimize any back pain
  • Eat foods that support bone, muscle, connective tissue, and joint health for back and spine health
  • Heal any emotional issues that may be causing your physical back pain
  • Have an emergency pain protocol management system — a series of steps you do to give yourself fast relief

By adopting these holistic back-care practices you will prevent chronic back pain and support your ageless body.

If you suffer from chronic back pain and want access to my holistic back care program (videos, exercise programs, food suggestions and more) click here to learn more.

Tweet it like you mean it!

I want to be one of those people who can bend down without hurting. This is important to me. Click To Tweet

If you want help creating your healthy & ageless lifestyle, then check out my life-coaching services.

Your coach,

Jeanne

Source:

Back statistics: http://www.acatoday.org/level2_css.cfm?T1ID=13&T2ID=68

Day 12: Age Well by Supporting Your Good Posture Today

Welcome to my 14 Day Ageless Lifestyle Makeover Challenge series!

The purpose of the challenge was to inspire you to make easy changes that would create more health, vibrancy, confidence, and timelessness in your life.  It covered food, skin care, fashion style, fitness, and so much more! Each day touched on a topic that helped you be your best at any age.

Here are the 14 days worth of lessons:

The winner of the drawing has been chosen and notified. Thank you to everyone who participated. If you’re just discovering this challenge now—do it on you own and reap the benefits of a more ageless lifestyle!

Your posture is something you want on point now and in the future.

As we age a few inconvenient things start to happen. We start to lose muscle, bone density decreases, and our joints wear down. The effects of this decline is most apparent in our posture.

If I were to show you a picture of a woman hunched over as she walked, you would assume that she was older than she was because in our minds old people are the ones who are slumped over. If I asked you to visualize a slouchy, slow-moving, and unenergetic woman, you wouldn’t picture a vibrant and happy person — you would see a feeble and dejected person.

There is nothing wrong with aging or being sad. The first can be a beautiful process and a privilege that is not bestowed on everyone. The latter is part of life and our growth process.  If you are lucky to be blessed with old age, then let it be where you are independent, can walk and move with ease, and enjoy the adventures that are still ahead of you.

To ensure that you age well and maintain your good posture, keep up your muscle mass, preserve your bone density, and take care of your joints.

Your DAY 12 challenge:

If you have good posture to begin with, then keep it up by adopting the habits listed below. If your posture isn’t the greatest then work with a trainer, chiropractor, physical therapist, and / or take my Better Posture in 30 Days program to help you improve your posture and then adopt the habits below. Either way—today—do something to take care of your posture so that you will always look and feel energetic and capable.

  • Be aware of your posture and fix it — stand taller — when you remember.
  • Improve your core strength to support your posture.
  • Stretch your chest and neck muscles periodically to keep a balanced posture.
  • Text and read in good posture.
  • Sit in good posture when working at a desk or eating at the table.
  • Get 10 minutes of sun exposure a day without sunscreen for Vitamin D for bones and total good health. (Sunshine helps to balance circadian rhythms, hormones, and mood.)
  • Eat foods that help with cell and tissue repair and joint health.
  • Stay away from foods that cause inflammation and chronic pain.
  • Eat anti-inflammatory foods to prevent chronic pain and disease.
  • Find ways to manage stress to keep your body tension free to prevent chronic pain and disease.

Put in your mind that your posture is not some static unchanging thing. It’s constantly changing.

Poor standing and sitting habits, chronic physical pain (back, neck, shoulder, and so on…), uneven loads (like a heavy purse), and gravity are always affecting your posture — in a bad way. That’s why you need to keep doing things — stretching, realigning, and strengthening your muscles, getting enough vitamins, nutrients, and exercise (just enough) to support bone density and healthy joints so that you maintain your good posture and stay active and vibrant for the rest of your life.

You can prevent posture decline, muscle loss, bone loss, and joint deterioration by choosing to be proactive today.

Truth bomb: Bad posture will take away from the quality of your life.

From impeding your mobility to dampening your confidence — the effects of poor posture are real. If there is something you can do today to save yourself from that—make a timeless decision—and be preemptive. Let your future self say, “Thanks for taking care of our body — I’m still using it like a boss!”

Tweet it like you mean it!

As I get older, moving with ease and standing tall are increasingly important to me. Click To Tweet

If you want help creating your healthy & ageless lifestyle, then check out my life-coaching services.

Your coach,

Jeanne

Better Posture in 30 Days ProgramDays ProgramspireYouthful

Day 6: The #1 Exercise to Do for Women Over 30

Welcome to my 14 Day Ageless Lifestyle Makeover Challenge series!

The purpose of the challenge was to inspire you to make easy changes that would create more health, vibrancy, confidence, and timelessness in your life.  It covered food, skin care, fashion style, fitness, and so much more! Each day touched on a topic that helped you be your best at any age.

Here are the 14 days worth of lessons:

The winner of the drawing has been chosen and notified. Thank you to everyone who participated. If you’re just discovering this challenge now—do it on you own and reap the benefits of a more ageless lifestyle!

Every woman—especially if you’re over 30 years old—should be doing the Kegel exercise.

First, don’t be embarrassed if you don’t know what a Kegel is —  you are not alone.  Several of my male and female students have told me in the past that they don’t know what I’m talking about when I tell them to do a “Kegel” during their Pilates exercise.  Although it is an  important exercise, and yes to both sexes, it’s not something we naturally do.

The Kegel is an exercise to strengthen your PC muscles (pubococcygeus) also referred to as your pelvic floor or pelvic diaphragm named after its inventor, gynecologist Dr. Arnold Kegel.

labled_pelvic_floor_and_trunk2aThese muscles are located on the base of your pelvis ergo your “pelvic floor.” Imagine cupping your hand with the heel of your palm on your pubic bone and your fingers towards your sacrum and that is the region the Kegel exercise is targeting.

The exercise was discovered to treat urinary incontinence, aid in support of pregnancy and child-birth, reduce premature male ejaculation, and enhance sexual function in both sexes. A total of 25 million American men, women, young, and old have reported suffering from urinary incontinence (involuntary loss of bladder control).

  “A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine (March 18, 2008) reports that pelvic floor muscle training, in conjunction with bladder training, resolved the symptoms of urinary incontinence in women.”

Your DAY 6 Exercise:

Do your Kegels 1-3x a day for 30 – 60 seconds.

How to do Kegels

When you are first discovering this “area” of your body, it is best to start in a seated position. Find a comfortable place to sit and try to relax all the muscles in your body. Start with your feet and work your way up the body until you can feel loose and relaxed.

Next, visualize your pelvic floor, you may also gently cup or hover your hand around this area and begin by sending a message from your brain to this area with the command of “open and close”.

The act itself will feel like a quick isometric contraction and then a release of the muscles in this area.  It seems to be helpful when people are told, “it’s like you are trying to stop your pee midstream” and how would you tell your body to do that.

There are more complex ways to do your Kegel, some involving specially designed apparatuses, but studies have shown no conclusive data that the use of such equipment actually improve pelvic floor strength.  Once you have mastered the “open/close” exercise I have described, you can also improve the rate of speed at which you can do it and add other muscle groups in the region from your gluteus (butt) to your transverse abdominus (deep ab muscle) into the isometric contraction.

Why should you do the Kegel exercise?

I’m going to be super honest…

  • IF you don’t ever want to pee on yourself — when you laugh, sneeze, get surprised by being scared or excited — or have to wear Depends undergarments in the future THEN do your Kegels.
  • IF you want to be able to carry grocery bags, lift your kids and grand-kids in the air, move heavy things around, etc. — activities that need the support of your pelvic floor — THEN do your Kegels.
  • IF you want to enjoy sex fully into your old age — THEN do your Kegels.
  • IF you want your core strength back after having had children — THEN do your Kegels.

By doing the Kegel exercise you will increase the strength of your pelvic muscles, including other core muscles such as your abs and butt because they’re all connected.

With a stronger pelvic floor  you can prevent urinary incontinence,  improve sexual function, and build a more effective core that will support your Pilates practice or any movement format you like.

BTW – you could have done your Kegels while reading this post 😀

Tweet it like you mean it!

Kegels does a body good! Click To Tweet

If you want help creating your healthy & ageless lifestyle, then check out my life-coaching services.

Your coach,

Jeanne

Improve Your Posture, Improve Your Self-Esteem

We’ve been a little posture crazy here at Inspire Youthful.  We don’t mind if you call us the posture police! We showed you simple stretches to help you stand taller and then we talked about the unhealthy consequences of a life-time of bad posture called Upper Cross Syndrome.

We only emphasize the importance of posture because we want to help women unleash their ROAR!

The truth of the matter is —  the straighter you stand, the more confidence you project. Also, because you are not constricting your breath from slouching, you are able to expand your lungs — breathe easier — so you’re less stressed and more calm to deal with life’s challenges. All of this is meant to empower you so that  you can vocalize your demands and declarations to the world! (Lionesses don’t bow down to roar mama! They raise their heads high and scare the bejeezus out of people!)

On that crazy note, let’s agree that poor posture is bad for your health and doesn’t help your poise, but did you know it can also give people the wrong impression about your true nature?

A slouchy, bent over posture diminishes your appearance and self-confidence. With a hunched-back look, even if you’re generally a happy and upbeat person — it conveys the opposite feelings.

We’ve witnessed sad and depressed people — they look forlorn and their eyes are cast down. Their shoulders are rounded and their chest is concave. They look how they feel.

sadPosture

If you are feeling sad and taking on a smaller, protective stance makes you feel better — it’s understandable. I wholeheartedly promote feeling our deepest emotions because we know through surrendering — releasing our resistance — is how we gain more strength and create lasting confidence. The battles within forge a stronger constitution! (You feel me!)

But, once you’re ready to lift yourself out of your sadness, fixing your posture will go a long way in helping you feel better.

Have you heard that wearing a smile — even though you may not be very happy — will actually elevate your mood? The physical motion of smiling sends messages to your brain to release feel-good hormones helping your body deal with stress.

In this same manner — standing upright, opening your chest, and releasing pent-up tension in your neck, back, and chest will tell your brain to send signals for your body to relax, helping it breathe easier, and improving blood flow. All of which contribute to making you feel better.

Improve your posture and lift your self-esteem. A good posture will help you feel stronger and  increase your self-reliance so you can be the hero (she-ro) of your life-story! Remember, how you feel about yourself influences how others see you. Feel like a lioness ma and let them hear you ROAR!

How you feel about yourself influences how others see you. Click To Tweet

And because I never leave a sister hanging, let me share with you a Posture Stretch Routine Video to help you feel your best. The video shows a series of neck stretches, a chest stretch, a rhomboid isometric contraction, and shoulder circles. These are sample exercises and video clips from my Better Posture in 30 Days program that has 90 exercises customized to help you improve your posture!

BP30_iABetter Posture in 30 Days ProgramspireYouthful_postPicsTweet it like you mean it!

I stand for what I believe. I stand tall for me. Click To Tweet

If you need help in personalizing a health, fitness, and beauty program for you, then check out my life-coaching services.

Your coach,

Jeanne

Source:

Sad girl photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net and FrameAngel