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

 

Join The Animal Movement May 4, 2010

Filed under: Health,Lifestyle,Wellness — Kazi @ 6:05 pm
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In the past decade, the progressive sectors of medical community and media have put strong effort into promoting exercise and diet as keys to reducing weight, developing muscle tone and cardio-vascular health. I applaud their work, along with the fitness industries campaign to educate the general population on the effectiveness of exercise in weight management.

I am concerned however, that exercise is still viewed as an optional aspect of our lives. We still perceive exercise and planned physical activity as something you do to reach a particular health-fitness goal. This take on exercise may have held true forty years ago, but it’s usefulness needs to be evaluated in light of today’s socio-economic reality.

Prior to the firm establishment of the information age in America, most of our population would engage in physical activity almost daily.  This would occur in both work and play.  The adult population involved in manual labor in factories, civil service, agriculture and the like spent a significant number of hours each day walking, lifting, pushing, pulling twisting and  tossing. These are all primary movements of human anatomy and the core of the specialized routines that we call exercise.

As I child, I can remember spending hours playing on the street, backyards and parks of my neighborhood of Hollis, New York. Television was for evenings and late fall/winter entertainment.

As we gradually moved into an information economy and a virtual society, this kind of natural workout for adults and children has been decreasing exponentially with each decade. Virtual reality has taken over as recreation of choice for a most of our children. And we have learned to let our fingers do the walking, while we sit at our desk, in front of a computer terminal. Thus we find ourselves now with an obesity epidemic never seen before in this country or in any country in the world.  It’s time to rethink how we present the idea of physical activity.

Human beings, although we hate to admit it, are animals. We share the same basic cellular and systemic form with most mammals in the animal kingdom.  One of the obvious characteristics that distinguishes animals from the plant kingdom is mobility. The ability to move upon the earth. Movement is not some bonus that is optional for those who want to lose a few pounds or develop athletic ability.  Movement, activity is vital to who we are as a life form.

There are two things we naturally look for to determine if someone or something is alive; movement and breathing. You can add heartbeat if you like, but it all boils down to movement. Breathing and heartbeat/pulse are the result of autonomic movement and are increased by increase body movement.  When someone around us shows no sign of movement for too long, we become concerned and check their vital signs. Our ability to survive (obtain food, clothing, shelter) is directly and subconsciously linked to movement through approach and avoidance.

Exercise is not an option folks. Your primal, subconscious survival mind demands it.  Resistance is futile. If you don’t move, you will lose.  Let’s start calling a spade a spade. Movement enhances life, Stagnancy ushers in death. There is no option for those who want to not only survive, but thrive.

Join The Movement
Move!


muchpeace

BodyFit Boot Camp – Branch Brook Park

Mornings: Tuesday, Thursday 6 AM – Saturdays 7 AM

Evenings:  Tuesday, Thursday 7 PM – Saturdays 7 AM

Tai Chi Kung beginning May 8 at Branch Brook Park.

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

 

Compassionate Confrontation with Comfort April 10, 2010

In the past couple of weeks I have stepped up my own fitness routine to take advantage of the exuberant energy of the season and to prepare for the Spring/Summer season of BodyFit Boot Camp at Branch Brook Park in Newark. Over the years, when exercising at a challenging intensity I’ve become well acquainted with my minds borderline panic reaction to physical stress.

When we exercise our bodies at a level it has not been accustomed to, when we push or get pushed beyond our comfort zone, our mind sounds a crisis scale alarm before we even enter our personal Red Zone. The alarm takes on various tones. Rationalizations- logical, reasonable arguments that support the idea of letting up – “Take it down now and go hard on the next set.” Suddenly remembering something Important and slowing down to “….gather your thoughts.” Or, after the sensation of your lungs and muscles burning, get outright ignorant with some “what da fuk am I doin, this sht is crazy.” (Pardon my french)

On the flip side, exercising at athletic intensity requires a very monitored field of attention. You don’t have the luxury of allowing your thoughts to drift in whichever direction the wind is blowing. The successful (safe, efficient and effective) application of strength, balance, agility, speed, energy transformation and will; to complete a movement or series of movements is tied directly to ones’ ability to stay in the moment.

So a polarity is set up in the psyche, with the thoughts running in one direction and the attention affixed to another. Some may see this as a less than ideal situation. It is most ideal. It is the ideal opportunity for the sedentary man and women to practice an ancient and simple method of gaining physical and psychological strength, simultaneously. Here is a technique I have found useful. Put it to good use.

  1. In safe surroundings. While performing a movement/exercise you have mastered and can execute with proper form.
  2. Allow your attention to remain fixed on the observation of :
  • your movement in space and in your body
  • the breath entering and leaving your body (don’t try to control it)
    3. When your mind begins to make SUGGESTIONS to let up or stop:
  • scan your body for pain
  • if you find pain, observe it, along with your motion and breath
  • do not comment on the suggestions from the mind keep returning your attention to your movement, breath and body

This is the practice of compassionate confrontation with comfort. It yields strength, body awareness and stress resilience. So don’t just read this post and go back to the couch. These holistic benefits will carry over into every aspect of your life. I dear you to take these 5 simple points and see what a difference they will make in your daily wealth, health and wisdom.

Leave me a comment about your experiences with entering your physical discomfort zone.  I would love to hear it.

Kazi

Rise and Shine Your Light Divine

http://mybodytemple.net
http://mybodyfitbootcamp.com
http://twitter.com/50andFIT

 

Vital Signs April 8, 2010

Filed under: Exercise,Health,Wellness — Kazi @ 3:38 pm
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A good indicator of your cardiovascular health is your Resting Heart Rate (RHR). Your resting heart rate is the number of times your heart beats in 1 minute, when your body is at rest.  You can take your pulse at you radial artery (wrist) or carotid artery (neck), counting each pulse/beat for 1 min. The most accurate time to do this is before rising from bed in the morning.  A healthy RHR should be below 90 beats/min.


Your resting heart rate is an indicator of what’s called your Stoke Volume, the amount of blood the left ventricle of the heart fills up with before it pumps that blood through your system.  An increase in stroke volume means the heart does not need to pump as often, hence a decrease in RHR.


Regular cardiovascular or endurance exercise (walking, running, cycling, swimming, etc.) can assist in lowering your RHR and improving your heart health. As you become more fit, your RHR should decrease.


Get Out and Move