Wealthy Health-Wise

keeping it small & simple

10 Reasons Why You Should be Practicing Tai Chi September 22, 2011

Filed under: Medicine — Kazi @ 11:54 pm
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Their doing it in the park
their doing it after dark
Tai Chi, Oh yeah

OK, so I got a little creative with the songs’ original lyrics. But you must admit, Tai Chi fits nicely into the Rock Creek Park chorus.

Tai Chi is a Chinese internal martial art. One of the many exercise forms that fall under the greater umbrella of what the Chinese call Chi Kung (or Qi Gong). These exercises are not reserved for the martial arts community. Tai Chi is practiced by people from all walks of life. Young and old, strong and frail, athletes and scholars. Everyone can benefit by adding a regular Tai Chi practice to their self-healing regimen.

Here are 10+ Reasons Why You Should be practicing Tai Chi.

1. Tai Chi is Safe, efficient and effective (SEE) – i have yet to hear of anyone being injured by participating in Tai Chi practice. The movements are slow and grounded. There is no dangerous equipment involved.

2. Efficient practicing Tai Chi for 20 minutes a day can have a tremendous positive effect upon your health, strength and flexibility. You get a substantial return on your energy/time investment.

3. Effective- unlike many of the new fad exercises and equipment popping up every other day on our televisions and internet, Tai Chi has been around for over a thousand years. First, only being handed down within Chinese family lineages. Tai Chi’s effectiveness as a health tonic has led to its spread throughout the known world. Many progressive health centers like the Mayo Clinic recommend Tai Chi to their patients and in many cases have an instructor on staff.

4. Tai Chi fosters stress resilience. In addition to the myo-facial workout, Tai Chi’s mental focus and breathing techniques teach you how to recognize and reduce stress within the mind-body continuum.

5. You can practice alone or in a group. Are you the solitary type? Do you like to really focus during your exercise? Or does a group atmosphere motivate you and allow you to meet new, like-minded friends? Well, either way you can find Tai Chi instruction that fits your preferences.

6. No additional equipment necessary. All you need it your able body, desire and an instructor. There are more advanced forms of Tai Chi that uses a sword as a practice weapon. But it will be some time before you are ready to tackle this level, if you choose.

7. Gets you outdoors. Tai Chi can be practiced anywhere, but you get the most benefit practicing in the outdoors. preferably in a natural setting. The fresh air (deep breathing is a crucial part of Tai Chi), the sunlight  (many Americans are significantly Vitamin D deficient) and the sounds of nature, add unparalleled healing elements to your Tai Chi practice.

8. Cost effective. Tai Chi is a choreographed movement. And so the key to learning it is practice, practice, practice. You can progress just fine attending 1 sessions per week. The rest of your practice is done on your own or with other classmates, in between sessions with your instructor.

9. Tai Chi practice creates body awareness. Practicing Tai Chi teaches you how to listen to your body. You will begin to notice how your body reacts to your movement and develop a greater awareness of your energy level through the day. The little changes in body function that would have previously gone unnoticed, will become more apparent. This is extremely helpful for western men, who have been raised to ignore pain and use our bodies to the edge of abuse, before seeking out the assistance of a healing professional.

10. No special fitness apparel required. As long as your regular clothing is not tight and allows you to move freely (you need to take some big steps, raise you arms high, pivot and twist at the hip), you will have no problem practicing on your lunch break and returning to you desk without a shower and change of cloths.

A more significant motivator should be how Tai Chi practice can benefit your health. Researchers have found that intensive Tai Chi practice shows some favorable effects on:

  • the promotion of balance control, flexibility, cardiovascular fitness
  • has shown to reduce the risk of falls in both healthy elderly patients, and those recovering from chronic stroke, heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and fibromyalgia,.
  • Tai chi’s gentle, low impact movements burn more calories than surfing and nearly as many as downhill skiing.
  • reduced levels of LDL’s 20–26 milligrams when practiced for 12–14 weeks.
  • compared to regular stretching showed the ability to greatly reduce pain and improve overall physical and mental health in people over 60 with severe osteoarthritis of the knee.
  • A pilot study has found preliminary evidence that tai chi and related qigong may reduce the severity of diabetes.
  • In a randomized trial of 66 patients with fibromyalgia, the tai chi intervention group did significantly better in terms of pain, fatigue, sleeplessness and depression than a comparable group given stretching exercises and wellness education.
  • A systematic review funded in part by the U.S. government, of the current (as of 2010) studies on the effects of practicing Tai Chi found that, 1 hour to 1 year of regular Tai Chi significantly increased psychological well-being including reduction of stress, anxiety, and depression, and enhanced mood in community-dwelling healthy participants and in patients with chronic conditions. Seven observational studies with relatively large sample sizes reinforced the beneficial association between Tai Chi practice and psychological health.”

Now that you know what you’re missing:

Join The Medicine Movement – Fall Tai Chi Schedule

Fall Hiking Schedule

 

7 Seasonal Adjustments to Balance Your Health-Fitness Routine October 8, 2010

Filed under: Health — Kazi @ 9:43 pm
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I was sitting on my back porch today. Soaking up the last rays of warmth before the sun dips further south. Most of the trees here are still pretty green. There are some scattered red and orange beauties, making their transition. And the few golden-yellow giants in the distance confirm that the first chill is not far away.

Autumn, more commonly known as fall is a season in which “things fall apart.” The leaves fall from the trees and fruit from the vine. Signaling the time for harvest, in-gathering and grounding.

The wise woman & man recognize the change of season as a shift in the energy governing the earth’s life, health and strength. To take advantage of the spirit of the season, it’s necessary to adjust our schedules, activities and diets to our environment.


Here are 7 suggestions to help get the most out of the cool-drying nature of Autumn.

1.Earlier to bed, later to rise.

Like the Sun, we can benefit by shortening our day. Add an extra ½ hour to your down time. You can add thirty minutes at each end of your rise and retire cycle or use the time for internal work like reading scripture/spiritual literature, contemplating nature or the stars, writing in your day/dream journal.


2.Nutrients in, garbage out.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the lungs and colon energy correspond to the fall season. Extra attention should be given to balancing any deficiencies in their function. Clean your nostrils each morning with the aid of a Netty pot, using slight sea salted water. Reduce your intake of mucus forming foods. Use expectorant herbs as a cordial tea to keep the lungs clear. The skin is a direct extension of the colon. Brushing the skin with a loofah or other wet brush will exfoliate the dead skin and stimulate circulation. Eat locally grown, fresh, fibrous fruits and vegetables to help clean the colon. In some instances, a colonic may be in order.


3.Fall back.

Reduce the intensity, length or frequency of your fitness regime. Harvest and begin storing life force in your energy channels to sustain you in the cold season when the sun will be scarce. Try one of these suggestions- if your working out 6 days a week, give yourself an extra day of rest. Train for 40 min. instead of an hour. Don’t increase your max weight or cardio/duration until the spring.


4.Work your inside game.

Increase you meditative and energy exercise time. Move from the outside in. The internal martial arts are excellent for balancing and fortifying your inner bodies. Practice standing and moving meditation forms to ground your mind-body. Release excess toxins into the earth, so that they can be transformed into life-sustaining energy. Yoga and Chi Kung are among the most popular forms practiced in the U.S. today. Find a teacher now and use the fall/winter seasons to build the foundation of your practice.


5.Enjoy the harvest.

Eat foods that are locally in season. Apple picking opportunities are available on farms throughout the east coast of the U.S. right about now. Take the family, get all the apples you can eat and have a blast doing it. Eat as much fall harvest food as you can: artichoke, arugula, broccoli, endive, beets, broccoli raabe, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, celery, chard, chicories, cranberries,eggplant, fennel, garlic, horseradish, kale, scallion, green onion, leeks, okra, pears, peppers, grapes, persimmons, pomegranates, pumpkin, radish, spinach, sweet potato, turnips, squash and zucchini.


6.Baton down the hatches.

Start fortifying your residence against the coming wind and cold. Seal the windows and doors. Stock up wood for the fireplace. Stock up on rock salt for melting ice. Have your furnace serviced. Flush the radiators. Flush all gas powered garden equipment. Prepare to bring in the potted plants. Put away your garden hoses. Cover the swimming pool. Rearrange furniture to take advantage of the warmth of light from southern windows. Change your wardrobe. Put away the spring/summer clothing in exchange for the cold weather gear. Winterize your car.


7.Give thanks.

When we harvest the benefits of our hard work, we have to keep in mind that very little is accomplished alone. There are forces helping us both seen and unseen. Be grateful for all of the people who support, encourage, guide and challenge us. Give thanks to whatever force you hold to be “greater than yourself”, for allowing you an opportunity to live another day and make your unique contribution to the world. There is someone in the world right now, that would give anything to be in your shoes . . . . . . literally.


Those who do not lose their base endure
Those who die but do not perish have longevity
Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching

Above quote by permission of Tao Te Ching: Annotated & Explained, published by SkyLight Paths in 2006.


 

Don’t Turn Your Friends into Foes May 20, 2010

Filed under: Health — Kazi @ 2:54 pm
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Something I encounter frequently, when inviting prospective clients to participate in a group training session or complimentary private session, is the old “I’m going to get my husband, girlfriend, cousin, boss, etc. to come do it with me. These people rarely seize the opportunity to get started on their health and fitness quest.

I am the first to advocate starting a health and fitness regimen with a partner or group of friends. Social support is an effective tool in ensuring adherence to you wellness program. But to delay the initiation of your goals, until you can get someone you know to join you, is nothing less than self-sabotage.

If you are serious about adopting a healthier lifestyle, joining a gym, starting a nutrition program, or taking steps to achieve any goal for that matter. Do not make getting a friend on board a pre-requisite to you getting started.  In fact, the exact opposite is the most effective.

When your friends and family see the progress you are making, physically, psycho-emotionally and spiritually via your quest, they will be begging you to share your secrets with them.  You will not have to sell the idea to them.  They will demand to be included.

Now you have an opportunity to share your blessings with those you love and hold dear. You can be the catalyst that transforms a friend, family or entire community by becoming the pudding, in which is found the proof.

We all have a leader inside of us, waiting to Rise and Shine.  Don’t bury your light under a bushel basket. Lead by example, then invite others to follow the trail you’ve blazed to a gold mine of healthy wisdom.

muchopaz

BodyFit Boot Camp – Branch Brook Park

Mornings: Tuesday, Thursday 6 AM – Saturdays 7 AM

Evenings:  Tuesday, Thursday 7 PM – Saturdays 7 AM

www.mybodytemple.net
www.twitter.com/50andFit

kazi@mybodytemple.net

 

Entrepreneurship as Path To Self Healing May 6, 2010

Filed under: Health,Wellness — Kazi @ 2:53 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

These days, many of us work from our homes. Some are full timers, burning the morning, mid-day and mid-night oil, slumped over a keyboard and monitor trading their social and economic currency of attention, empathy, creativity and expertise in exchange for dollars.

A successful online business demands social marketing strategies that insist on developing genuine relationships with your target audience. No matter how many systems you put in place to automate this process, you still have to put in a significant amount of time and energy to be successful at it. I have yet to meet an internet entrepreneur with a “Four Hour Work Week.”

When running a business, in which your ability to attract and service clients is directly impacted by the time and energy you put in online, you had better have systems in place to ensure you get the personal outer and inner cultivation you need to remain healthy and on top of your game. Your attention, time, energy and creativity are all aspects of your Chi. Your Chi is your very life force. It is the very basis of your health, wealth and wisdom.  If you allow your chi to diminish, you allow your life to diminish.  Isn’t this why we left our jobs?

Here are some tips to help you maintain your life force as you build your internet empire:

  • Maintain office hours. You should have a specific time you clock in and clock out each day. Strange as it may seem, I accomplish more when I have deadlines and a full calendar. Create your own “sense of urgency”. When the whistle blows. Close the office and put it out of your mind.
  • Being your own boss means you can take an extended lunch. Once you become familiar with the rhythm of your particular business; schedule siesta hours that allow you to not just have lunch, but to pencil in prayer/meditation, sit down time with family or a friend, a walk in the park, short nap or whatever will give you a temporary respite from your “office mind” and reconnect you to your body-heart-soul complex.
  • Keep basic fitness equipment in your office. A good workout can be done in spurts.  Yesterday I did my workout while writing my blog. I got in three sets of Pull Ups – 10x, Overhead Triceps Press (20lb. dumbbells) 20x and Stability Ball Crunches 40x.  Each set took about 3-4 minutes max.
  • Being at home means you don’t have to be at the mercy of the menus of the institutional cafeteria, local restaurants and food stands. Stock you fridge and cupboards with healthy, simple to prepare foods that give you the physical and emotional nourishment you need to perform at your best.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Working from home should be more that being your own boss.  It can actually be the hub of your wellness lifestyle transformation strategy. Would love to hear ways you have turned working from home into an opportunity for wholistic healing for you and yours.

muchpeace,
Kazi


BodyFit Boot Camp – Branch Brook Park

Mornings: Tuesday, Thursday 6 AM – Saturdays 7 AM

Evenings:  Tuesday, Thursday 7 PM – Saturdays 7 AM

www.mybodytemple.net
www.mybodyfitbootcamp.com
www.twitter.com/50andFit

kazi@mybodytemple.net

 

A step in Time April 21, 2010

Filed under: Fitness,Health,Lifestyle — Kazi @ 10:53 am
Tags: , ,

Running and Jogging is not something I do often. I kinda like my Knees and shins just the way they are. And at age 50, can’t see any real benefit in pounding the pavement everyday.  But, occasionally I get an urge to run.  So I go to my local park and put in a couple of miles.

To make it interesting, I incorporate a few strength exercises along the way.  I have found this to really add to the workout. I guess it helps ME because, in addition to the above. Jogging can get to be a bit boring.  Especially running around a track.  Which is something I haven’t done in years.

By adding some body weight exercises to your jogging routine you create a great interval workout and reduce boredom at the same time (read efficient).  Did I mention no equipment required.

Here is the workout I have planned for today:

  • Start off at a slow pace
  • after 5 minutes pick up speed (still jogging, not running)
  • at 3 min. stop – 20 power squats
  • resume jog
  • after 2 min sprint equivalent of about 20 yards
  • resume jog
  • at 3 min. stop – 20 push ups
  • resume jog
  • after 2 min. sprint
  • resume jog
  • at 3 min. stop – 10 reverse lunges (stepping back)
  • resume jog
  • after 2 min. sprint
  • resume jog
  • after 3min stop – 20 crunches
  • follow with Walking Stretch Routine

This should take all of 30 min. to complete. You can use this as is or replace with your own exercises and intervals.

muchpeace,
Kazi

PS. Free Pre-Boot Camp continues Thursday. 5 sessions remaining.
www.mybodytemple.net
www.mybodyfitbootcamp.com
www.twitter.com/50andFit

kazi@mybdoytemple.net

 

Knead To Know April 18, 2010

Filed under: Bodywork,Fitness,Health — Kazi @ 2:07 pm
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I guess it was somewhere in my thirties that I began to become intimately cognizant of my mortality. My bodies ability to mask and repair damage quickly and in the background, began to falter. I started noticing little kinks and aches that lasted beyond the initial incident and linger with me like that kid in grade school who just didn’t get the hint- “I don’t really want to be your friend dude.” Don’t judge me, it was grade school.

Since then, the incidents of aches, pain and accidents incurred while executing movements that I previously pulled of with my eyes closed, have increased exponentially. Truth be told, this is one of the reasons I became a fitness trainer.  I’ve always been an information junkie. I needed to know what the heck was going on and what could I do to prevent it.

My research revealed that I needed to change the way I was treating my body. I needed develop a program to strengthen my areas of skeleto-muscular weakness and relax their corresponding excesses.  Through self experimentation I discovered that many of my aches were do to hypertonicity.

Hypertonicity is an increased tension of the muscles, meaning the muscle tone is abnormally rigid, hampering proper movement. This condition is the opposite of hypotonicity. Hypotonicity is a decreased tension in muscle tone. A lack of muscle tone inhibits proper movement as the muscle is not developed or is too soft to support the body.

So, information junkie that I am, the next stop for me was massage school.  There I learned simple time tested techniques for relieving hypertonic muscles.  But there was still a problem.  Occasionally I would have pain on my own body that I either could not reach or could not apply the proper pressure in order to relieve the pain.  Back to the drawing board.

The solutions I found were in the use of a few simple inexpensive tools that everyone (at least everyone over the age of 35) should have in there homes.  First up, the Thera Cane. This is a deep pressure massage device that can be used to gently (or not so gently) massage muscles on any part of the body.  What I like most about the Thera Cane, is that it greatly reduces the amount of strength you need to get deep into the muscle. I use it mainly for trigger point work. Relieving a trigger point requires that you apply continuous pressure to a pin point area for up to a minute. Sounds simple until those minutes start adding up.  You can get a Thera Cane online for about $30.

The Dolphin Massager gets the most use in my arsenal. Slaving over a hot computer to bring you folk these illuminating and popular post (i have total of 10 followers as of today, woohooooo!) can lead to aching upper back, shoulder and neck muscles.  The dolphin relieves that pain for me in a matter of minutes. It’s also good for relieving lower back ache.  A client was purchasing these to give as Christmas gifts a few years back.  Sharper image was going out of business and selling them for about $20 bucks each.  I asked her to get me one also. (are yo u starting to see a pattern here. some say i’m cheap, i prefer frugal.) The Budgetnista would be proud of me). This is a purchase that has paid for itself a thousandfold.

Research over the last ten years has directed the attention of bodyworkers and fitness professionals to put more time into releasing myofacial tissue.  Muscles are covered with a sheath of connective tissue (fascia) that helps them glide over surrounding tissues.  This tissue can loose its pliability and stick to adjacent muscles, bones or ligaments. I use foam rolls and my own body weight, to reduce pain and tension resulting from restricted fascia. Foam rollers run anywhere from $15 to $40 depending upon the length, type of foam and manufacturer.

Ball of varying sizes can also be used for myofacial release work. There are balls made specifically for this technique, but tennis balls, soft medicine balls and other firm balls of various sizes have worked just fine for me.

So if you suffer from acute aches and pains and looking for some tools and techniques to help you spell relief. Give these a try. If you need some extra direction, hit me up.

muchpeace,
Kazi

PS. Free Pre-Boot Camp (six sessions) begins this coming Tuesday.
www.mybodytemple.net
www.mybodyfitbootcamp.com
www.twitter.com/50andFit

kazi@mybdoytemple.net

 

Work In, When You Can’t Workout April 16, 2010

Although I’ve been enjoying the outdoors lately, working out in the open air, getting inspiration from the other folks exercising in my local park. There are those days when it rains and I just have to settle for a home gym training session. So is life. Flexibility is my middle name (well, at least for the sake of this post).  When the heavens hand me a lemon. I proceed to make lemon aide.

Simple indoor workout to keep me 50andFit:

20 min. on Schwinn Airdyne Stationary Bike. If you’re not familiar with this piece of equipment, the movable arms allow you to get an upper body (arms), lower body and cardio workout all at once. (I’m really big on efficiency. Just not an hours in the gym kind of guy.)You can even place your feet on the pegs and power the bike using your arms alone. This is a great stationary bike for athletes, beginners and even someone using it for rehab purposes.

I purchased mine used, from someone on Craigs List about 5 years ago (evolution model) for about $150.  It was practically brand new,although the owner had the machine for over 3years. This is often the case with exercise equipment. Folks commonly make the purchase, use the device for a month or two, then it becomes a clothing hanger. One day I’ll tell you how I got a bow flex machine for $0.00.

Added bonus in using the Airdyne: the resistance is provided by a fan which replaces the front wheel. Once you get this baby going, the fan provides a welcomed breeze while you ride.

An alternative for those who already own a bike, is to get a stationary bike stand or trainer which allows you to turn your road bike into a stationary bike.

Add a little music (I like to listen to audio books) and you get your workout indoors.

muchpeace,
Kazi

PS. Free Pre-Boot Camp (six sessions) begins this coming Tuesday.
www.mybodytemple.net
www.mybodyfitbootcamp.com
www.twitter.com/50andFit