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

 

Who Wants To Be Anointed With Oil? October 29, 2010

Filed under: Health — Kazi @ 6:00 am
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How many of you remember the daily struggle with your mother to escape (unsuccessfully) gulping down the contents of “the big greasy spoon.” Cod Liver Oil, blah!

I can not remember ever actually getting away unscathed by the nastiest taste in the entire universe. Not once. Even when I literally vomited the contents of the spoon, along with everything that preceded it. She would force me to take down another.

I have a deep suspicion that this all goes back to the childhood of Jesus. C’mon now, the whole thing with him being “the anointed”. Telling his followers he would make them “fishers of men”.  And why do modern Christians all have a symbol of two fishes on their rear bumpers.

It can’t all be a coincidence. I think Mary was force feeding the baby Jesus cod liver oil way back then.  Ever since, mothers have been giving their children fish oil to protect them from evil spirits, disease, sorcery and bad dreams.  I mean think about it, isn’t Mary the ideal mother?  Ok, enough ‘light humor’.

Eating fish has long been considered a healthy choice for the body. The oils contained in fish are rich in substances that the body needs to maintain itself.

And Cod Liver Oil is an old favorite, that has made a resurgence now that alternative medicine has gone mainstream. Consuming fish oil as a dietary supplement is a sure way to to get more omega-3 fatty acids into your system. Omega-3s are examples of healthy oils that help with brain and heart function.

If you like fish, you can eat cold water fish once or twice a week to increase your healthy fat intake.

Cod liver oil is obtained from the livers of cod. Unlike eating cooked fish, the levels of mercury in them are nil because the purification process (look for products using molecular distillation with food grade ethanol) eliminates this harmful element.

Cod liver supplements differ from some others in that it not only contains omega-3 fatty acids but also a healthy dose of vitamin A and D. (Pregnant mothers are advised to avoid vitamin A supplements).

Sedentary types, shut-ins and the bed ridden may find it difficult to receive adequate amounts of vitamin D, since our major source is the sun. The increased use of sun block and sunscreen also decreases the absorption of vitamin D through the skin. This vitamin plays a vital role in the utilization of calcium by the body.

Ways this old preventive medicine can do a body good:

  • Depression – Cod liver oil reduces the incidence of depression.
  • Vitamin D levels – Since it increases the level of vitamin D, it leads to healthier and stronger bones and teeth when taking this supplement. Women, who are susceptible to osteoporosis, increase their bone and mineral density.
  • Heart and brain health – It reduces inflammation in the body and increases vascular integrity and integrity of nerve cells.
  • Disease prevention – Taking cod liver oil supplements may decrease the incidence of high LDL cholesterol levels, improve memory, prevent heart disease, reduce menopausal symptoms, reduce severity of PMS symptoms and also reduce incidence of diabetes type 1 in children.

Just like with any other over-the-counter supplement, it is important to first make sure you are eating complete meals that provide you with all of the nutrients that nature has to offer. Supplements are just that- supplemental.

Their purpose is not to provide the basis of your nutrition, but to fill in the gaps left by soil depletion and other side effects of modern society.

Oh yeah, the good news is today’s cod liver oil can be taken in tasteless capsules (choose gelatin free) and also come flavored for those who want to go old school and throw back a spoonful, ‘big mama’ style. So don’t worry about terrorizing your children. The modern versions are more child friendly.


 

The 6:00 AM Booty Call May 1, 2010

Filed under: Health,Lifestyle,Wellness — Kazi @ 8:51 pm
Tags: ,

Shortly after sunrise this morning we conducted the final session of Pre-Boot Camp.  Each year I run a fitness boot camp in my local park – Branch Brook Park in Newark, NJ. For those who are not familiar with the boot camp type of workout, it’s a group exercise program that in some ways mimics the physical fitness portion of the military boot camps that are used to train our troops.

Participants are put through a series of exercises that challenge their present fitness level, forcing them to reach down deep and find strength that they many times didn’t know they had.  Boot camp workouts vary from place to place.  Some like ours, are held outdoors, others indoors. Some rely on the use of an assortment of equipment, while at the other extreme, some focus on body weight exercises.  What goes on in boot camps is pretty up to the training, philosophy and creativity of the instructor(s) running the camp.  The common denominator is the assurance of a kick ass workout.

I do the Pre Boot Camp each year to give prospective boot campers an opportunity to:

  • get a hands on experience of the actual workout
  • determine if this is the type of exercise they want to do
  • get to meet and bond with the other boot campers
  • get to meet me and determine if I am the trainer they want
  • start developing the habit of waking up at the crack of dawn to get the workout done
  • begin to develop the strength and endurance required to last the full BodyFit Boot Camp workout

Out of the 10 who attended over the last two weeks, 8 have committed to register for the full Monty. In addition to 1 previous client and 2 who are registering just on word of mouth.  I applaud each and every one of them.  It is not easy to make a commitment to improve your health.  It requires changing old habits, taking action instead of complaining and putting yourself first.

Most of my boot campers are mature women, with families and careers that have been their chief priority, main consumer of their energy and devourer of their time for most of their adult life. Taking care of themselves was just one more thing on a long list that kept getting pushed to the back of the shelf. For them, just showing up at boot camp or any other healthy living program, is a huge step.

I urge you all to take a page from their book.  Help yourselves, so that helping others does not become self sacrificial. Leave the martyrdom to the prophets and soldiers. Hats off to all of my boot campers. We have a great 16 weeks ahead.


Make Today, The First Day, of The Best of Your Life

Kazi

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Tuesday May 4 is the Official Jump Off

BodyFit Boot Camp – Branch Brook Park

Mornings: Tuesday, Thursday 6 AM – Saturdays 7 AM

Evenings:  Tuesday, Thursday 7 PM – Saturdays 7 AM

Warning:

Side effects of boot camp may include: weight loss, muscle tone,

increased energy, libido and cat calls.

In essence, a boot camp is the “I’m finally sick and tired of being sick and tired workout. It’s the “I’m serious about transforming my coach potato body into a sleek, tasty sweet potato fry workout.” The BodyFit Boot Camp pits you against your doubts, procrastination and denial in a no holds barred, knock down, drag out conflict for the title of:

“BOSS OF ME”

See you at boot camp.

PS. Tai Chi Kung beginning May 8 at Branch Brook Park.
Free Pre-Boot Camp continues Saturday. 1 sessions remaining.

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

kazi@mybodytemple.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

 

Believe You Me April 14, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Health,Lifestyle,Mind,Movement,Wellness — Kazi @ 9:29 pm
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Because I am a fitness professional, people often assume that my philosophy on health revolves around physical exercise.  Nothing could be further from the truth. Physical exercise is a important and integral part of any health and wellness program, but it’s not the be all and end all.

In working with private clients, I try to drive home to them that attaining and maintaining a healthy lifestyle revolves around six key components. They are: diet, exercise, hygiene, sleep, mindset and social support.  These are the bedrock of an effective and holistic healthy lifestyle program.  But if I had to choose one, as the most significant in the effect it has upon a persons success in their attempt to get and stay healthy; I would have to go with mindset.

Your mindset is the mental model that informs your value system, your goals, ethics, self-esteem, social interactions and in fact your reality.  Your belief system is the filter through which everything you experience and perceive is screened to be accepted, rejected or modified.  Some of these beliefs you are very much aware of and others have long ago receded into the unconscious.

When you decide to make some changes in your lifestyle in order to improve your own and your families health, it’s because of the value you have placed on health in your head.  Just as important as your value for health, is your belief in your ability to make the changes necessary and degree of confidence you have in the method or professional you choose to aid you in reaching your goal.

If you approach the task of transforming your lifestyle with a head full of doubts and negative thinking, you are almost sure to fail. Likewise a lack of confidence in the person you have chosen to help you, may very well render you un-coachable.   Both of these attitudes lead to self sabotage.  Fortunately, like behavior, your beliefs and attitudes although deep rooted can be modified.

In essence, when choosing a program that involves any kind of behavior change.  Make sure it addresses the powerful influence played by the unseen, intangible and elusive committee of beliefs.  Once you are successful in getting your head centered in the game, you are guaranteed to be a winner.

“With confidence, you have won before you have started”
Marcus Garvey

muchpeaceluv,
Kazi CPT, CMT

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

 

Warm Up Before You Heat Up April 13, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Fitness,Health,Movement — Kazi @ 2:58 pm
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Hopefully, my readers belong to the committed few who haven’t strayed away from your New Years Health & Fitness resolutions and continue to make exercise an integral part of the Sacred Lifestyle.  The benefits of exercise are well documented throughout medical journals and the general media. So, I will not bore you with my rant on “why exercise.” If you are reading this blog, I assume, you are already convinced and can skip the lecture.

Let’s get straight to the meat of the matter.  To get the benefits of exercise it is necessary that you do it consistently.  I have found that one of the obstacles to being consistent about exercising is injuries incurred while working out.  Sometimes we are so gung-ho about getting in shape, that we leap into exercising head first.  Although this is great as a motivator, it can lead to unnecessary injuries that can side line you for days, weeks or even months.

A few common practices that may lead to exercise related injury are: Using improper form while executing movements.  Pushing yourself too hard or lifting too much weight is another common way people hurt themselves while training.  The one I would like to offer some assistance with today is injury due to lack of properly warming up before going hard in the gym.

Warming up your body is essential to preventing injury to yourself while you are exercising. Here are a few reasons why you want to warm up:

  • a warmed muscle both contracts more forcefully and relaxes more quickly.
  • improves muscle elasticity, also reducing the risk of strains and pulls.
  • reduces the resistance to blood flow and lower stress on the heart.
  • increased Blood Temperature means a slightly greater volume of oxygen is made available to the working muscles, enhancing endurance and performance.
  • the range of motion around a joint is increased.
  • the warm-up is also a good time to mentally prepare for an event by clearing the mind, increasing focus, reviewing skills and strategy.

In essence, warming up not only helps to prevent injury, it enhances performance and allows you to get the most benefit from your exercise routine.

Here is a video of me demonstrating some dynamic warm up movements developed by fitness professional Loren Landaw.

If you have not been warming up before your workout, try this routine.  I am interested in hearing how this warm up effects your workout routine in general.  So leave me a post after you have tried it for a week or so.

muchpeaceluv,

Kazi- CPT, CMT

PS. Free Pre-Boot Camp begins April 20

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

 

On the 7th day he rested April 11, 2010

An integral factor in improving and maintaining health, wellness and fitness is often overlooked by the strong and the young. This factor is rest and rejuvenation. As members of a society that promotes the aggressive pursuit of goals, wealth and power, we have all been subliminally seduced into accepting the idea that work and play are both superior to rest.

We put the energetic, go getters on a pedestal of some inferred psycho-physical superiority that the rest of us should some how strive to match or at least concede our inferiority as mere mortals. Rest is viewed as a reward for our labor, not a major contributor to our health and happiness.

Fortunately, our lives are not completely in the hands of our belief systems and social pressures. Rest is something we cannot LIVE without. Sleep is an unavoidable, consequence of our daily energy expenditure and need for psychological and biological repair.

That part of our psyche that does not depend on outer, social, man made judgments to keep us alive, has no problem reducing our work output and shutting us down if necessary, when we don’t get proper rest. So let’s take heed to the guidance of our inner physician and make rest, recovery an integral part of our wellness regime.

Here are a few ways to ensure your getting the down time you need:

  • try to get to bed at approximately the same hour each night.
  • If you work from home, rise early and schedule a 15-20 minute siesta/cat nap into your day.
  • Take 3 minutes when transitioning from a completed task to begin a new one to just sit and release.
  • Schedule a vacation, staycation) or spiritual retreat into your annual calendar.
  • Hit the spa or schedule an appointment with a bodywork therapist at least once a month.
  • Get out of the city at least one weekend seasonally.
  • Include an healing art such as Yoga or Tai Chi as part of your exercise program.
  • Develop body awareness. Your body will let you know when it needs a break. This could help you avoid unnecessary down time.

muchpeaceluv,
Kazi

PS. Check out my upcoming Seated Massage Workshop

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