Previous Tips of the Month

 

Spring 2008

Spa Day
 

 Who doesn’t enjoy a relaxing day at the spa? The positive benefits of being pampered from head to toe are countless when experiencing treatments ranging from rejuvenating body wraps, silky soaks in the Jacuzzi, aromatherapy massages and warm cream pedicures. Spa days are indeed heavenly. A day (or even a half day) at the spa can provide you with that much needed “escape” that you periodically need in order to regroup, reflect and restore your body and soul. You can equally enjoy this experience solo or with a friend.
 
 Creating that perfect spa experience takes only a little preparation. Here are some tips to help you find your bliss:
 
 • Do a little research (local magazines, recommendations from friends, etc.) and find out where the best spas are in your area
 • Determine your budget and figure out how much you are willing to spend – often booking a package is cheaper than à la carte services
 • When you book your appointment, talk to the attendant to find out the best treatments for your needs
 • Don’t be afraid to try something new and different – you can always get a Swedish massage, so why not try the hot stone massage?
 • Arrive in plenty of time to enjoy the fitness center, pool, steam room or other complimentary amenity that is offered with your spa package
 • Leave your worries (and cell phone) at home so you can truly relax and enjoy your experience

 
 

 

Fall/Winter 2007-08

Core Work


Working your “core” is extremely popular these days, with an emphasis on Pilates, stability ball exercises, as well as using the Bosu ball (pictured below). Everyone seems to have discovered the importance of not only having strong firm abs, but a strong lower back as well. Core strength focuses on the muscles of your abs and back and their ability to support your spine and keep your body stable and balanced. Learning how to properly strengthen your core can help to reduce back pain and create strong abs.

Major muscles of the core include:
• Transverse abdominis – the deepest of the abdominal muscles – lying under the obliques (or muscles of your waist)
• External obliques – these muscles are on the side and front of the abdomen, around your waist
• Internal obliques - these muscles lie under the external obliques, running in the opposite direction
• Rectus abdominis - this is a long muscle that extends along the front of the abdomen
• Erector spinae - this is a collection of three muscles along your neck to your lower back

A perfect core strengthening exercise is the plank. Here’s how to do it:
1. Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.
2. Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.
3. Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.
4. Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air.
5. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.

 

May-July 2007

Aromatherapy


Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils, which come from specific plants, in order to affect a person’s mood or health. Like many other forms of complementary and alternative medicine, aromatherapy has grown in popularity in the United States. Aromatherapy is a wonderful way to find peace and balance in an increasingly busy world.

Some of the ways to use aromatherapy include –
• Skin care – skin care essential oils regulate capillaries and restore vitality to the tissues.
• Massage – during body massage, essential oils are carried to the organs and systems of the body where they enhance the natural functions of these organs.
• Diffusion – place a drop of essential oil in the palm of your hand, rub your hands together and inhale.

Smell is perhaps the most powerful of our five senses, and it can evoke memory, hunger or emotion. Some “thought-provoking” essential oils include –
• Basil – for improving concentration, and relieving headaches and migraines
• Bergamot – useful as an insect repellant, as well as skin conditions linked to stress such as cold sores
• Lavender oil – used as an antiseptic, and most commonly to calm and relax

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different essential oils to find which ones you prefer. Remember, though, that you should always read about an essential oil before applying it. Happy smelling!

 

April 2007

The Joy of Eating Whole Grains


Many people shy away from what they consider to be carbohydrates, in the hopes of losing weight and shedding inches. What they don’t realize is that consuming whole grains is the key to not only looking better, but feeling better too. Whole grains are a form of complex carbohydrate that the body metabolizes slowly, thereby preventing blood sugar “spikes” that are immediately followed by “lows.” You end up getting a steady flow of energy that gets you through the day.

The most common whole grain is brown rice, which is rich in B vitamins, fiber, manganese and selenium. Wild rice is another common whole grain. Other whole grains that are typically not as common

 

include quinoa (pictured) and amaranth. Quinoa can almost be considered the “perfect” whole grain because it is one of only two grains that is a complete protein. Quinoa is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, iron and loaded with fiber. Amaranth, like quinoa, also contains complete proteins and is a rich source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.

Here is a delicious recipe with quinoa –

Quinoa Recipes at Epicurious.com

Remember - don’t shy away from healthy whole grains! You will be glad that you gave them a try.
 

 

March 2007

Spinach Festival Day

On the list of “Bizarre Food Holidays” National Spinach Festival Day is March 26.  In 1936, the Governor of Crystal City, TX proclaimed Crystal City as the spinach capital of the world.  There is even a statue of Popeye across from city hall.  Crystal City is not the only place that proclaims itself the “Spinach Capital of the World.”  Some parts of Kansas claim this honor, and so does Alma, AR.  Regardless of which location holds this honor, the health benefits of spinach are boundless.

While we all know that Popeye made himself super strong by eating spinach, you may not know that he also protected himself against osteoporosis, heart disease, colon cancer, arthritis, and potentially other diseases.  Spinach is an excellent source of Vitamins A, C and K.  It is also rich in folate, magnesium and riboflavin.  Cooked spinach is an excellent source of iron.  One cup of cooked iron provides you with 35.7% of the daily value of iron.

Try to enjoy your spinach organically.  Spinach has been found to be one of 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found.  Here is a link to a great spinach recipe to try – Turkish Spinach Salad  http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/id/RCP00199

 

February 2007

Love and Appreciation

February is that time of year when Valentine’s Day is on many people’s minds. It’s that month when significant others are reminded to reach out to one another to show how much you love and appreciate that other person. Valentine’s Day is a great reminder to show your love, but I would emphasize that we all need to remember this throughout the year.

It’s also important to not only recognize your “love” interest, but to show many people in your life how much you value them. Make an effort to reach out to your close friends, your parents, siblings, and anyone who makes a difference in your life. Far too many people learn the hard way that life is finite, and the unspoken words and kind gestures regretfully go unexpressed.

So take steps now to show your love and appreciation all year. Here are some tips to get you started:
• Spend quality time with a person
• Give an unexpected small gift
• A thoughtful note can go a long way
• Schedule a brunch, lunch or dinner date – or better yet, cook a homemade meal
• E-mail and text messaging contact is good, but don’t forget to pick up the phone and call sometimes
 

January 2007

 

Healing Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus possesses wonderful decongestant and antibacterial properties. The month of January is in the midst of the cold and flu season, and preventing the spread of germs is the key to not getting sick. The essential oil from the eucalyptus plant helps stop bacterial growth and reduces the risk of contracting secondary infections.

A great way to take advantage of the healing properties of this plant that is native to Australia (as well as parts of New Guinea, Indonesia and the Philippines) is to use it in steam inhalation. Inhaling steam that contains eucalyptus is a useful remedy for respiratory problems, including chest congestion, bronchitis, sore throat and sinusitis. Warm steam soothes the lining of the bronchial tubes, looses secretions, promotes healing, and can discourage secondary bacterial growth.

Use a small handful of whole leaves or a teaspoon of the essential oil in boiling water for twice-daily steam inhalations. You can also mix in sage for additional soothing relief. Stay healthy and breathe well in the New Year!

 

December 2006

Holiday Temptations

It’s hard to believe that it’s that time of year again – when the holiday parties abound and the temptations are limitless. Many people coast through the year and maintain control with respect to their eating and are diligent about exercise until November and December roll around. It seems like all of the parties with their food and beverage temptations are just too much for them to handle. In between conversations and moments of laughter hundreds of empty calories seem to be devoured with abandon.

Instead of avoiding wonderful opportunities to socialize and have fun (which is also vital to your health), it’s important to have a game plan before you get to the party. One critical thing you can do to avoid overindulging is to never arrive at a party starving. Always have a snack or mini-meal at home before you head out the door. Choose something that provides you with a good mix of protein and carbohydrates so that you feel satisfied – such as pita bread with hummus or some fresh vegetables with hummus or a healthy dip.

Here are some other tips to think about:
• Avoid creamy drinks like eggnog, especially with calorie-laden alcohol. Either choose lower fat versions or drink cider or a sparkling water with 100% juice.
• Choose alcoholic drinks without a lot of sugar mixed in (like mojitos) and opt for straight alcohol (like vodka) instead.
• Steer towards fresh vegetables and fruit dishes to make sure you are getting some vital nutrients.
• Don’t stand around the food or buffet table while you chat. Take a few items and walk to the other side of the room for that great conversation.

 

 

November 2006

The Benefits of Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a form of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting and manipulating needles into acupuncture points along the body. There are several hundred of these points distributed along meridians or specific interconnected channels. The body’s vital energy, or “qi,” – pronounced “chee” – circulates through these meridians (or channels). Acupuncture treatments restore health and well-being and are particularly effective with treating pain. There are many diseases that can be treated successfully by Acupuncture – lower back problems, headaches, and allergic reactions.

Acupuncture treats the human body as a whole. Chinese medical theory dictates that acupuncture works by normalizing the free flow of qi. If the flow of qi is insufficient, unbalanced or interrupted, Yin and Yang (opposite forces) become unbalanced, and illness may occur. Acupuncture is said to restore the balance. Tiny needles, made of high-quality stainless steel, silver or copper, are inserted into acupuncture points along the body. Safety is an issue; however, injuries are rare among patients treated by trained practitioners.
Make sure that you work with a licensed Acupuncturist to guide you on a path towards wellness and wholeness. In the Washington, DC area, Mary Rieger is a wonderful practitioner, who works on Capitol Hill and Silver Spring. In Silver Spring she can be found at the Spectrum Center for Natural Wellness http://www.healingspectrum.com/index.html and on Capitol Hill she is with Healing Arts of Capitol Hill
http://www.healingartscapitolhill.com

 

October 2006

The Benefits of Pilates


A German by the name of Joseph Pilates created the Pilates method of exercise in the early 1900’s. He developed a series of exercises known as “matwork,” (done on the floor) and he created equipment with spring resistance – with pieces such as the reformer, the Cadillac, the Wunda Chair, and the wall unit. The Pilates method is a wonderful form of exercise that focuses on your core – your abdominal muscles, your lower back and your glutes (A.K.A. your butt) – as well as breath control, and pelvis and shoulder stabilization. It’s designed to stretch, strengthen and balance the body.

The exercise regimen Joseph Pilates developed is known as “Contrology.” “Contrology is complete coordination of body, mind and spirit. Through Contrology you first purposefully acquire complete control of your own body and then through proper repetition of its exercises you gradually and progressively acquire that natural rhythm and coordination associated with all your mental and subconscious activities.” (Pilates 1945)

The benefits of Pilates are numerous and include increased spine mobility, increased muscle flexibility, improved posture, and decreased low back pain. To find a certified Pilates instructor in your area go to www.pilatesmethodalliance.com

Excel Movement Studios is a great Pilates studio with locations in Washington, DC and Annapolis, MD – www.excelpilates.com

And of course for the proper attire as you participate in Pilates, don’t forget to purchase the AHA! Powerhouse Shirt
 

 

September 2006

Red Fruit of the Summer!

 

One of the best things about summer is the abundance of delicious fruits and vegetables. All kinds of melons, asparagus and zucchini to the beautiful red and juicy tomatoes are available to tempt the palate. Tomatoes are often the shining stars of the garden, and they really shout summer like nothing else. The debate is age-old ? Are they a fruit or a vegetable? Botanically speaking they are a fruit, but they are typically served as a vegetable. Either way, they are delicious!

The varieties are boundless:

- Beefsteak: large size and thick and meaty flesh

- Plum (or Roma): thick skin and flesh and contain less water than others

- Cherry: bite-sized and great in salads

- Grape: smaller than the Cherry tomato, but sweeter (my favorite!)

- Yellow & Orange: higher sugar content than the red variety; mild and sweet

- Green: a Southerners favorite, usually unripened and perfect for making Fried Green Tomatoes

Besides their delicious taste and attractive colors, tomatoes are rich in lycopene. Lycopene is one of nature's most powerful antioxidants and has even been found to be beneficial in preventing prostate cancer.

Here is a simple, quick, tasty recipe to satisfy your tomato craving: http://www.epicurious.com
 

 

August 2006

Plyometrics ? Hopping to Fitness

Plyometrics is a form of exercise that uses explosive movements to develop muscular power. It?s ?explosive-reactive? power training. While obviously a muscular contraction, plyometrics also involves the central nervous system ? producing a neuromuscular event.

Athletes can use plyometric exercises to develop a competitive edge in their specific sport ? increasing the basketball player?s vertical jump or the runner?s pace in a marathon. Make sure you warm up properly prior to beginning plyometric training and graduate from low intensity, to moderate intensity and ultimately high intensity exercises as appropriate.

Once you obtain proper instruction from a trained fitness professional, here is a low intensity plyometric drill you can try:

? Two-foot ankle hop: keep your feet together and remain in one place while you hop up and down using only your ankles and calves. Concentrate on getting as high as you can and exploding off the ground as soon as you land. When you land, make sure your knees are bent to take the stress off your joints.

Hop, jump and bound your way to strength, speed and power!

 

July 2006

The Joys of Massage

Massage therapy is recognized as one of the oldest forms of healing, and it is one of those pleasures in life that far too many people think of as a luxury and not a necessity. Bodywork such as massage therapy can be therapeutic, just like visiting the chiropractor or getting physical therapy. Massage can be healing for the entire body, since it can relieve psychological stress, help manage pain, better digestion and intestinal function, and improve circulation. Also, it just plain feels good!
There are numerous types of massage to try ? depending on your condition and what you are looking to get out of the session. Some of the more common types of massage therapy include Swedish ? the most popular form in the United States, deep tissue (not for the faint of heart!), aromatherapy, and sports massage. Some methods that are growing in popularity consist of hot stone massage, Thai massage, reflexology, and Shiatsu massage. Always talk to your massage therapist about what method is best for you.
You can enjoy massage at various locations, whether it?s a destination spa, a day spa, or a health center. You can even find a massage therapist who will come to you! For more information on massage ? from its history to how to dress for a massage ? check out this ivillage article on massage
In the meantime, prioritize your well-being and make an appointment for a massage today! Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it.

 

June 2006

Magnificent Green Tea!


There is an ancient Chinese proverb that says, ?Better to be deprived of food for three days, than tea for one.? While the Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea for thousands of years, those in the United States have only recently begun to catch on to this delightful beverage in very recent years. While all tea comes from the same plant, Carnellia sinensis, what distinguishes green tea from the others is the way it is processed. Its leaves are steamed, rolled and dried ? a method that preserves its antioxidant compounds.

The powerful antioxidant in green tea has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells, lower LDL cholesterol levels (the bad cholesterol), and inhibit the abnormal formation of blood clots. And did you know that there is more Vitamin C in a cup of green tea than in an orange?! Now that the summer temperatures are here, you can enjoy a nice brewed cup of green tea either hot or cold.

For more great information on green tea, check out The Book of Green Tea by Diana Rosen. Drink up!
 

 

May 2006

Food as Medicine
 

Food is one of those things in life that we must consume in order to survive ? like wate r and air. One of the blessings of living in the United States is that there is an abundance of food with plenty of choices. With all of the choices, however, comes a lack of understanding for many people of what are the best options for optimal health. Many people sustain themselves on nutritionally depleted foods ? and then cannot understand why they lack energy or never feel ?quite right.?

It?s time to take control of your health and well being, and you can start by making sure you are feeding yourself properly. The key to proper nutrition is consuming whole foods. Get rid of the processed foods and start eating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. Here are some other tips to help you make the best food choices:

? Eat whole grains - like quinoa, barley, brown rice and amaranth.
? Eat two servings a week of oily, fatty fish such as wild Alaskan sockeye salmon (for Omega-3s)
? Limit your intake of sugar ? including the kind you add to your coffee and the sugars you get from eating pre-packaged sweets.
? Get plenty of fiber from the whole grains listed above, as well as beans and legumes.
? Use extra virgin olive oil as the main oil in your cooking and salads.

Fresh, flavorful, organic foods can be healing for the body, and they carry an extra ?punch? when you prepare them with love. Bon appetit!
 

 

April 2006

Spring Fruits & Vegetables



It looks like spring has finally sprung, and one of the best ways to enjoy this season is to eat your way through it. In moderation of course! Sticking with the fruits and vegetables that are in season this time of year will delight your taste buds and awaken your senses.

Here are the top five fruits that are at their peak and also cheapest during the month of April:
? Apples
? Bananas
? Grapes
? Watermelon
? Figs

Vegetables include:
? Asparagus
? Broccoli
? Cauliflower
? Zucchini
? Carrots

Remember to buy organic (as much as possible) for a healthier, tastier and more wholesome dining experience. Eating fruits and vegetables when they are at their peak helps you to enjoy more of their nutrients. Asparagus alone is chock-full of Vitamins A, C, K, lots of the B vitamins, and folate. Enjoy the season!

 

March 2006

Stuck!


It?s hard to believe we are three months into 2006. The hours, days and years seem to roll by ? faster and faster. One of the great things about timing moving on is the ability to look back and see how things have progressed or haven?t?how life has changed or hasn?t. Hopefully we have grown as individuals ? maybe matured a little but ultimately remained true to ourselves and to our essence. Spring is a time of rebirth, and in preparation for spring we should all take the time to take a step back and evaluate our lives and take stock of what direction we are heading. Too often we become stuck ? in our ways, our thinking, our priorities, our values.

One way to regularly evaluate who we are is to practice the art of journaling. Take just a few minutes out of each day to sit quietly, collect your thoughts and pour your heart out onto paper. Journaling can be cathartic and freeing. It?s a great way to help you clear your head and dig deeper into old ways of thinking and being that might need to be changed ? or at least slightly modified for the moment. Perhaps you can journal what you eat, or how you feel when you eat to help you with your weight loss goals. Or try jotting down what triggers your anger or sadness or frustration. Putting pen to paper can help you thoughtfully reflect and make positive movement in your life.

Here?s a great place to practice journaling (and have a fabulous vacation!)-

MIraval Resort

 

February 2006

Checking In

Now that February is upon us, it?s a great time to ?check in? and see where you are in fulfilling those lofty goals for the New Year ? otherwise known as New Year?s Resolutions.  On December 31, many people decide to look back over the year and figure out where they have gone astray ? Have you gained weight?  Is your fitness routine off track?  Is your life unbalanced?  Do you need to find more ?me? time?  Now that you have established some well-intentioned goals, it?s time to review the past month and see where you stand.

Here are some tips to get the process started:

  • Review your goals and determine how realistic they are.

  • Did you start out enthusiastically with all of the best intentions, and your enthusiasm lasted all of two weeks?  If so, it?s time to redefine your objectives, adjust your goals and start anew.

  • Give yourself credit for setting new goals and move forward with a positive attitude. 

  • Check in periodically throughout the year and plan to readjust your goals if necessary.

  • Remember to stay focused, keep your chin up and continue to strive for your best!

 

 

January 2006

Letting Go and Moving On!


It?s hard to believe that a new year is upon us. As each year rolls by, I begin to believe that time really does go by faster as we get older. January of each year is an opportune time to reflect on our lives and establish a plan to make positive changes.
Besides developing the traditional ?New Year?s Resolutions,? we should focus on letting go and moving on at the beginning of each year. Let go of past failures, release your hurts and disappointments, let go of preconceived notions about life and love. Learn to move on this year.
Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Be honest and identify what?s holding you back in life ? fears, failures, bad relationships?only you know the answer to this question.

  • Focus on taking concrete steps to make those positive changes.

  • In the midst of everything, don?t forget to be good to yourself ? feed your spirit and your soul with quiet reflective thoughts and positive energy.

     

 

December 2005

Mindful Eating


It?s the holiday season (already!), and it?s that time of year when there are countless culinary temptations. Food symbolizes so many things to people ? comfort, love, power?the list goes on. A great method to dealing with food and the cocktail and holiday parties is to practice mindful eating.

Mindful eating is a wonderful way of taking time to enjoy your food ? its tastes, colors, textures, and aromas. You can learn to savor your food and appreciate it so that you truly feel satisfied. Ultimately the key is to slow down and stay in the moment.

Here are some tips to get you started:
? Look at the food on your plate and appreciate the various colors and textures.
? Eat slowly and savor the flavors of each food item.
? Take in the aroma of your food.
? Take the time to appreciate your meal and the nutrients it will provide you.
? Visualize your body becoming energized with each bite you take.

In the end, you may find that your eyes were indeed bigger than your stomach!

 

 

November 2005

The Skinny on Dark Chocolate! 

Is it true that eating chocolate can be good for you?  Well, it?s partially true.  Eating dark chocolate has been proven to have heart-healthy benefits, but not its close relative milk chocolate.  So, what is it about dark chocolate that makes it so healthy? 

Dark chocolate is made with a higher percentage of cocoa than milk chocolate, and therefore typically contains more flavonoids.  What?s a flavonoid??  A flavonoid is a plant compound that is commonly found in fruits, vegetables, wine, teas and cocoa.  Dark chocolate also contains micronutrients such as magnesium, copper, potassium and calcium.  These particular minerals have been associated with reductions in the risk for cardiovascular disease. 

Remember not to overdo it, though, since dark chocolate has lots of calories and saturated fat.  A 100-gram serving of Hershey?s Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 531 calories, while an apple (approximately the same serving size) has only 52 calories.  Check out the American Heart Association?s website for guidelines on fat consumption  (www.americanheart.org).

 

 

October 2005

Following Your Dream!

One of the many lessons that I have learned this year is the importance of following your dream and not being afraid to let your heart lead you. In the midst of all of the uncertainty in the world, the one thing that always seems to hold true is that ultimately life is very short ? and uncertain. At some point in all of our lives we all wake up one day and wonder with amazement where the time went and how so many seasons seemed to pass us by.

We all have secret dreams and goals that we know have the potential to ultimately make us happy. But how many of us actually step out on faith and make those dreams a reality? What is holding you back from pursuing your passion in life? Is it the stability and security of your paycheck from being a lawyer, when you never really wanted to be a lawyer in the first place?but your parents did?so you fulfilled their dream and not your own?

Step away from fear and start taking steps to fulfill your lifelong passions. Now is the time to start charting your path towards fulfillment!
 

 

 

September 2005

Reflections

The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina is devastating and heart wrenching for those affected in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The footage on television allows everyone throughout the United States and all over the world to see and feel the pain and sense of urgency that no one should ever have to experience. This catastrophe is yet another example of how people come together and reach out for one another during a crisis. Th is is a time when people will have to dig deep and renew their spirits in order to pick up the pieces and start over.

The lesson that we can all take away from this event is a lesson on rebuilding. Those who have been directly affected by the storm will have to rebuild various aspects ? if not all ? of their entire lives. Others who were not impacted by the hurricane should focus on renewing key aspects of their lives. For some it may be physical, such as losing weight or quitting smoking. For others rebuilding may need to occur in the psychological realm by changing unhealthy relationships or developing stronger resolve to let go of past hurts.

Take this time to make positive changes in your life?from within.
 

 

 

August 2005

Lifestyle Choices!

Many people are uncertain how best to take steps to living a healthy lifestyle and how to stay committed.  There is so much confusing information about what to eat and when to eat, and how much to exercise.  Is it really necessary to exercise 90 minutes a day?

The USDA recently implemented a new Food Guide Pyramid.  It?s no longer a one-size fits all pyramid.  The new pyramid now has 12 different versions with dietary recommendations customized for a person?s age, gender, and daily activity level.  Go to www.mypyramid.gov and play around with various options regarding your suggested caloric intake and food needs. 

Regardless of what food plan you decide to follow, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Watch your portions ? the bottom line is that 3,500 kilocalories equal a pound.

  • Eat whole grains ? stay away from refined ones.

  • Limit your intake of saturated fats ? fish, nuts and seeds are healthy alternatives to high fat proteins.

  • Savor your food ? take time to chew and really taste and enjoy your meals.

 

 

July 2005

Restful Sleeping!


Many people suffer from various types of sleep problems ? from insomnia to the inability to remain asleep throughout the night. Inadequate sleep can be debilitating. Everyone should strive for a minimum of six to eight hours a night, depending on individual needs. Many important bodily processes take place during the sleep cycle, and lack of sleep has been shown to contribute to weight gain.
 
 What are some steps you can take to guide you to a quality night?s sleep? Here are some tips to get you started:
 
 ? Keep your bedroom free of distractions and use it only for sleeping and relaxation purposes, i.e. don?t do work from bed.
 ? Eat early enough in the evening so your food has time to digest before going to sleep.
 ? Light exercise several hours prior to bedtime has been shown to help ensure restful sleeping.
 ? Take a warm bath with lavender oil to help you relax and prepare for a night of sweet dreams.
 ? Don?t stress about not being able to sleep ? that will make matters worse. Instead, practice some breathing techniques and some gentle yoga poses.

 

 

June 2005

Breathing Easy!


Breathing easy , without the inconvenience of nasal congestion, is something that many people take for granted. For those who suffer from allergies and the occasional cold, however, normal breathing doesn?t come easy. The Washington, D.C. area in particular is difficult for allergy sufferers and can even cause those who have never had allergies to suddenly experience the draining side effects. To make matters worse, there has been some strange cold/allergy/flu bug circulating for months, with some people unlucky enough to deal with two rounds of the illness.
While you should always visit a doctor when you are seriously ill, there is one key preventive measure you can take to help you relieve nasal congestion ? performing a saline nasal wash. It?s an effective way to maintain the health and function of the nose and sinuses. When performed regularly ? at least once a day ? you can flush excess mucus from the nasal passages and shrink swollen nasal membranes. What does that mean? You can breathe easy! Purchase a Neti Pot from any health food store and make a wash with non-iodized salt and water. Start enjoying life ? one breath at a time.
Purchase ONLINE @ 
http://www.himalayaninstitute.org/Shopping/ProductInfo.aspx?code=TANPP_PLC_B

 

May 2005

Balance

Balance is something we all should strive to achieve.  It?s easier to focus on and attain at various stages of our lives, depending on what issues we are faced with and how we deal with them.  The best-case scenario is that we adequately balance all aspects of our lives ? personal, work, spiritual and physical.  The worst-case scenario is that we emphasize one area over another, thereby neglecting a key component or components of ourselves.

Balance is a work in progress, and we should always approach it that way.  Here are some steps to help you lead a more balanced lifestyle:

  • Set aside time each day for yourself, whether it?s to meditate, read, exercise or whatever. < /li>

  • Work hard, but play hard too.  We all have to put in long hours sometimes, but don?t let that become the norm.  Take time to balance the hard work with some ?play? time.

  • Give of yourself, but learn when to say ?no.?

 

 

April 2005

Easing Into It

Spring is here, and the temperatures are starting to rise.  Those who have been hibernating are heading outdoors to enjoy the fresh air.  We are beginning to think about the potential for warm weather vacations, summer at the beach and all of the less forgiving attire that is so popular during the season.

With that in mind, many people will forget the need to ease back into an exercise routine.  We are a society of immediate of gratification, and therefore we believe that we should be able to pick up where we left off last summer.  Take it easy and slow down or you risk setting yourself up for injuries. 

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Start slowly ? don?t go for a run if you haven?t stepped foot in a pair of athletic shoes in six months; start with a walk/jog combo and build up from there.

  • Don?t forget to stretch ? stretch after you?ve warmed up and focus on all of your major muscle groups.

  • Temper your excitement ? don?t begin exercising seven days a week, quickly get burned out and then stop exercising completely; focus on getting in shape and make it a long-term commitment.

 

 

March 2005

Tips on Healthy Eating


Healthy eating is very difficult for most people. Temptations abound, and readjusting your taste buds away from refined sugars, white flour and heavily processed foods can be a challenge. The key is to take it one day at a time and set small achievable goals. Here are some tips to get you started.


?° Eat several small meals throughout the day
?° Drink lots of water ? aim for 2-3 liters per day
?° Replace heavily processed foods with whole grains and unrefined foods ?° Eat a different color fruit and/or vegetable each day
?° Stay away from artificial sweeteners
?° Make vegetables and whole grains the centerpiece of your meals
?° Eat lean cuts of meat
?° Slow down and chew your foods slowly and savor the flavors

 

 

February 2005

Women & Heart Disease

Too many women take the condition of their cardiovascular system for granted.  Most people are surprised to know that breast cancer is not the number one killer of women.  In fact, heart disease kills ten times more women than breast cancer.  Shocking but true!

Knowing this statistic is a first step towards understanding how to make healthy lifestyle choices.  Women must learn to prioritize their health and stop putting their family, careers and other aspects of their lives before their health.  Heart disease is a silent killer, and women must empower themselves by making smart decisions regarding diet and exercise.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Exercise regularly ? at least three times a week for ma intenance and four to five times a week to lose weight.

  • Make healthy food choices ? limit intake of refined sugars; eat plenty of fruits and vegetables; consume lean cuts of meat and whole grains

  • Eliminate stress ? find healthy ways to deflect stress in your life: meditate, deep breathing, yoga ? figure out what works for you.

 

 

January 2005

Renewal

The recent catastrophe in Asia reveals so profoundly how little control over our lives we have when Mother Nature is concerned.  A new year is upon us, and we should all use 2005 as an opportunity to give thanks, make improvements in our lives and implement some positive lifestyle changes.  Many people enter the new year with well-intentioned new year?s resolutions that quickly fade away.  This is the year to stop smoking, exercise at least three times a week, eat more nutritious meals?the list goes on.

Here are some tips to stay focused:

  • Only choose a couple of goals to work on.  You risk becoming overwhelmed if you aim ?too big.?

  • Select realistic goals.  Don?t decide to run a marathon if you don?t like to run.

  • Forgive yourself if you have a setback.  Quickly get back on track and only look forward?one day at a time.

 

 

December 2004

Stretching

As winter rolls upon us, many of us have a tendency to hibernate.  Winter has a way of making tepid outdoor exercisers want to crawl inside and never come out ? or at least not until the wind chill rises above 50 degrees.

So, if you won?t go out and play, then stay in and focus on stretching this season.  Many people discover the many benefits of stretching after they?ve been sidetracked by an injury and are forced to slow down and nurse themselves back into shape.  Stretching should play a critical role in your fitness routine.  If you?re feeling daring enough to venture out, then try out a yoga or pilates class for some guided stretching.

Remember ?

  • Stretch after you have thoroughly warmed up

  • Hold your stretches for about 10-15 seconds (never bounce)

  • Focus on all of your major muscle groups

 

 

November 2004

Fall Marathons!

Fall is a busy time of year for races of all distances, but especially a marathon. Whether it?s your first or your twentieth, it?s a momentous occasion, and there is nothing better than having your friends and family out there to cheer you on. Here are some tips for those who are watching and supporting your friends and loved ones during a marathon:

1) Go out and cheer ? find out the person?s pace, look at the course map, and plan to ?meet? at several points along the course.


2) Bring goodies ? take along candy, orange slices, bananas or whatever your marathoner prefers to use as a pick-me-up or sugar rush along the way.


3) Bring necessities ? carry Vaseline, Tylenol, body glide or other more critical items to help your racer ease the pain.
 

 

October 2004

Quick Tips for Staying Fit!

All too often we find excuses not to exercise and stay in shape. Becoming and staying fit requires effort, and the bottom line is that you have to prioritize staying in shape. Here are some secrets to fitting in some metabolism boosters into your busy schedule:
1) Park your car relatively far from the store entrance so that you are forced to walk that extra distance through the parking lot.
2) Invest in a pedometer and wear it. Aim for 10,000 steps each day.
3) Take the stairs instead of the elevator, especially if you are going up or down only one or two floors.
4) Thirty minutes of cardiovascular activity per day is ideal, but feel free to break your workout up into 10 or 15-minute increments. Try splitting your workout into hal f in the morning and half in the afternoon or evening if you are unable to allocate one block of time for the entire session.
5) Instead of taking that afternoon java jolt break, go for a short walk.
6) Don?t sit at your desk all day. Stand up for a few minutes to give your back and your body a break. Besides, standing burns more calories than sitting.
7) While you are sitting, pull in or tighten your stomach muscles for 10 seconds and release them for five seconds. Do this exercise eight to 12 times.
8) Trade in your chair and sit on a stability ball for a few minutes each day. Sitting on a stability ball helps to strengthen your core.
9) Use your lunchtime to fit in a quick workout.
10)  Are the kids keeping you from staying fit? Take them with you in a jogging stroller or a bike canopy for a family workout. Do overhead presses with your toddler and get a workout while they enjoy the fun.

 

 

September 2004

Last Taste of Summer!

 

Summer is quickly coming to an end, and fall is approaching. Despite the intense heat and humidity there are so many wonderful things about summer. It?s time to embrace those last minute things we love about this passing season.

Head for the beach ? ocean water and silky sand are therapeutic for the mind and the body. Grab your beach towel, sunscreen and sunglasses and take a weekend getaway.

Enjoy your favorite piece of fruit ? one of the best parts of summer is the delicious fruit ? melons, berries, peaches and so much more. It?s all juicy, sweet, delicious and great for you.

Go to an outdoor concert ? check out the line-up, pack a picnic basket and a blanket and catch one of the last opportunities to see an outdoor concert.

Warm up the grill ? cooking out is the hallmark of summer. Grill your favorite food, and invite your friends over to relish those last few days of summer.

 

 

August 2004

Living Life Stress Free!



Stress is an unpleasant part of life for most if not all of us. However, there are ways to deal with stress that can help us all to live healthier and more fulfilling lives. We all want to feel our best regardless of the circumstances. Here are some stress-reducing tips:

1) Focus on your breath ? there are a number of breathwork techniques that you can use to help you bring order and calm to your day. One simple technique is to follow your breath, or pay attention to it. Don?t try to influence your breathing, instead just notice it and follow it with your mind.

2) Meditate ? go to a quiet space and attempt to still the thoughts in your mind and give yourself permission to enjoy the stillness. Practice this a few minutes each day and you will find that you?re gradually able to increase your meditation time.

3) Imagery ? when negative things happen to you, create positive images in your mind of the situation. Recognize that things could always be worse. Imagine your life and situation a certain way before circumstances even arise. Create positive energy in your life.

 

 

July 2004

Summer Living!

Summer is a wonderful time of year to incorporate some positive lifestyle changes into your daily and weekly routine. Here?s a top-ten list of ways to make sure this season is fun and healthy:

1) Drink lots of purified water ? eight glasses should be your minimum
2) Try a new fitness activity ? get outside and roller blade or try that new ?yogilate s? class at the gym
3) Pick up a new fruit you?ve never tried ? ever had a kumquat?
4) Experiment with seasonings or herbs you normally don?t cook with ? add ?big? taste without extra calories
5) Buy a new piece of exercise equipment or an exercise video and use it diligently
6) If you normally workout inside in a gym, get outside and sweat for a change
7) Mix up your exercise routine ? add short bouts of intensity to stave off boredom and boost your metabolism
8) Get plenty of sleep ? lack of sleep can make you gain weight or make it difficult for you to get it off
9) Find ways to relax and fight off stress ? yoga, meditation, deep breathing?whatever works best for you
10) Take a vacation!

 

June 2004

Summer Eating!

Summer is a wonderful time of year to plan delicious, healthy meals that don?t require a lot of planning or preparation.  Fresh fruits and vegetables are bountiful.  Seasonal fruit such as various types of melons and berries are a perfect snack or can complement a wholesome breakfast with whole grain cereal or yogurt.  Instead of reaching for a candy bar or some other processed food, why not reach for a slice of watermelon or a handful of strawberries instead?  Many fruits and vegetables are rich in Vitamin C ? a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system, and potassium ? a mineral that maintains fluid balance in the body (critical during those sweaty summer months). 

Warm weather is perfect for lighter fare such as salads, fish and other types of seafood.  Better yet, get outside and heat up the grill.  The grill is ideal for cooking thicker fish such as wild salmon, which is also full of heart healthy essential fatty acids.  Grilled vegetables are also wonderful, with delights such as asparagus, zucchini, squash and all kinds of peppers ? hot and sweet.  There is no excuse not to eat well during the summer.  So, take advantage of the season, and make your heart and your taste buds smile.

May 2004

Exercise on the Go!

Staying diligent about your exercise routine while you?re away from home can help you stay on track with your fitness goals.  Don?t use your time on the road as an excuse not to exercise.  Leave home prepared and ready to sweat!  When you?re packing your bags, don?t forget to take along some portable workout equipment.

These are some great pieces:

Jump rope ? jumping rope is a great cardiovascular activity and can be used as a warm-up or the actual workout.

Rubber tubing ? use this lightweight tubing for strengthening and toning the entire body.

Strength and toning ball ? you can pack a lightweight 4lb toning ball without adding too much bulk to your luggage.  Tone your upper and lower body and your abs.

Don?t forget that you can do a ton of exercises using your own bodyweight, such as push ups, sit ups, pull ups, squats and lunges.  Also remember to take the stairs instead of the elevator.  And last, but not least, check out your hotel?s gym.  Many hotels offer a decent selection of cardio and strengthening equipment.  If necessary, use a combination of equipment at the hotel gym and your own portable equipment.

April 2004

Spring is Here!

It?s a new season, and it?s time to set a new health and fitness goal.  Think of the arrival of each season as an opportunity to work towards an achievable goal.  Adopting a healthy lifestyle should ultimately be a way of life forever, but for all too many people, this is not attainable.  Make it easier on yourself and take baby steps throughout the year so that you accomplish your objectives and feel good about yourself along the way.

Spring is an ideal time to step up the exercise routine or get committed to eating healthy ? or both.  Spring is a time of rebirth, so u se these next few months to focus on yourself and do something good for your body.  The days are getting longer and warmer, so that is a natural motivator to get out side and go for a brisk walk or jog, tend to the garden, play frisbee or do whatever feels good.  As the temperature heats up, start eating a little lighter and really prioritize eating fresh fruits and vegetables.  These are all little steps you can take to help you feel your best and prepare for the dog days of summer.

March 2004

It?s Almost Spring!

Spring it just around the corner, and it?s that time of year when we are all a little more motivated to exercise and eat well.  After all, once spring is in the air then summer is only a few showers away.  What does this mean for your health and fitness?  It means that you can set realistic goals for yourself and achieve them.

Here are some tips to keep in mind as Mother Nature gives us sunshine, warmer temperatures and beautiful blossoms instead of cold, icy and snowy days:

      1)      Move your workouts outside ? enjoy the fresh air and go for a walk or jog, play tennis, golf or whatever you like.  Just move it outdoors!  The beautiful weather should add an element of motivation.

      2)      Try something different ? experiment with a new form of exercise.  If you normally do more intense forms of exercise like running or skiing, try something more calming like yoga.  If you are the kind of person who can?t stand to miss your Pilates class, then try something more ha rd core like kickboxing.

      3)      Focus on your diet ? as you start exercising more, you have to feed your body  wholesome food so you will have adequate energy.  Go easy on meat and dairy and make vegetables, fruits and whole grains the centerpiece of your meals.  Be sure and hydrate yourself properly.  Drinking plenty of water is important, and it?s even more critical when you are exercising regularly.  Not drinking enough water can zap you of energy, but drinking the right amount can give you a big energy boost.

The bottom line is get moving (outside!) and feed your body good, wholesome food.  You will feel the difference in no time.

February 2004

Seasonal Workouts

Adopting a ?seasonal workout? approach can help you stave off boredom and keep you energized and excited about your workouts.  Think of winter as a time to get creative.  Many of us are experiencing a challenging winter filled with frigid and frequently inclement weather.  Because of this, and in spite of our best efforts, we are not always able to be consistent with our workouts.  Don?t fret!  Take advantage of this season and use it as an opportunity to get moving and do something different.

Here are some ways to stay in shape and have fun at the same time over the next few cold winter months.  1) Shovel snow (and ice!) and get a great full-body workout.  Be mindful of your form and protect your lower back.  2) Take your dog for a walk and take the long route to the park.  Play a game of chase or throw the ball and get moving with your furry friend.  3) If you don?t have hand weights or rubber tubing, grab some canned goods or a gallon of juice for a ready-made strengthening workout without leaving the comfort o f your home.  4) Turn up the radio and dance!  Dancing is a fun way to burn calories and stay in shape, and for those who are modest ? you can do it in the privacy of your own home.

January 2004

Recovering from the Holidays

You really are what you eat!  During the holidays it?s easy to consume extra calories and hidden fats that lurk not only in our food but in our beverages as well.  It only takes 3,500 kilocalories to add on one pound of body fat.  Excess food consumption and too little exercise is one of America?s biggest health problems.  What can you do to turn back the clock and add healthy and energetic years to your life?  After all, your goal should not be just to live, but to live well. 

Incorporate these five easy steps on a daily basis, and you should notice a difference in how you look and feel: 1) Don?t skip breakfast ? a bowl of fruit or warm cereal is the perfect way to start your day; 2) Drink at least eight glasses of purified water a day; 3) Eat a different fruit and/or vegetable each day for variety in terms of taste and nutrients; 4) Make your vegetables and whole grains the centerpiece of your meal instead of meat; 5) Find a form of exercise you enjoy and stick with it.