Apr 7, 2013 / 5:00 am
Movement is fundamental to human life. In fact, movement is life. Contemporary physics tells us that the universe and everything in it is in constant motion. A living body is a moving body. The poet and philosopher Alan Watts eloquently states a similar view, "A living body is not a fixed thing but a flowing event, like a flame or a whirlpool." Or it should be anyway.
A TED talk from neuroscientist, Daniel Wolpert, a self-professed movement chauvinist, typifies this idea with his theory that says “the only reason we have a brain is to create movement.” He uses the computer chip then robotics to forward his argument. He uses the game of chess as an example. Both can play chess equally well, but both cannot move the pieces equally well. This then moves his investigation to robotics – a computer placed within a manipulative form - manipulation robotics. We have seen robotics move; they are not very smooth, or fast, or move at all when an external disruption impacts them. Nothing can compare to the human brain and its ability to move our bodies.
Therefore, if we want our brains to be healthy, we have to create movement. The whole brain, the fore-brain, the mid-brain and the hind-brain, are all involved in motor control. It is not a surprise that children move so much. Because their brains are growing, their bodies have to move. Scientists now know that to achieve the precision of the mature brain, stimulation in the form of movement and sensory experiences during the early developing years is necessary (Greenough & Black, 1992; Shatz, 1992). Movement and sensory stimulation strengthens bonding synapses, which are the connections that are made between neurons. Connections that are not made by activity, or are weak, are “pruned away,” much like the pruning of dead or weak branches of a tree. If the neurons are used, they become integrated into the circuitry of the brain (Chugani, 1998). The less movement kids have, the less their brains have the chance to develop. We could move this argument to the other end of the age scale to say that the less an elderly person moves, the faster the brain deteriorates.
So let us not take movement for granted. Our brain health depends on movement. Instead, let us celebrate our ability to move. Move in as many different directions as you can. Take a dance class, move around a swimming pool, take a pottery class, play with your dog, try yoga, wrestle with your kids, just get up and move.
For comments, please visit www.sculptpilates.ca
Feb 20, 2013 / 5:00 am
Do you need accountability with your exercise program?
I know I do. I think most of us do if we really want to accomplish challenging goals. For many, adhering to their exercise program is challenging. Despite the onslaught of research supporting the fact that physical activity improves health, people still let their fitness programs slide to the wayside. Rod Dishman, head of the exercise psychology lab at the University of Georgia, shows that 50% of new exercisers drop out within six months of starting a fitness program. Research shows that only 20% of the population exercises moderately, and only 10% performs vigorous activity. Unfortunately, these statistics haven’t changed since the fitness boom started. And these statistics are not good for the future of North America.
Over the last 10 years, research has been done to investigate motivation and commitment principles in regards to exercise programs. Knowing that exercise increases self-efficacy, mood, physical self-concept, self-regulatory skills, glucose levels and waist circumference, how do we adhere to our exercise program?
There are many factors that help us stay with our exercise program, but one that Dr. J.J. Annesi shows in his research, and one that has worked for me for years, is the psychosocial supportive model – The Coach.
Annesi trademarked the Coach Approach protocol for successful exercise adherence. Among other things, he is the director of wellness for the YMCA in Atlanta, Georgia. His findings suggest that an increase in exercise volume is associated with proposed psychosocial pathways (The Coach Approach, Annesi, 2012). Psychosocial pathways or support refers to the process of people needing people to overcome their barriers for health (mental, physical, emotional or spiritual). This means that people need people to help them accomplish their goals for a happier, more successful, increased energy, more capable, more joyful and peaceful life.
Fantastically, there is a program available to all of us who need help sticking to our exercise program – and its FREE.
1. The provincial government offers a program called Active Choices, www.selfmanagementbc.ca, that helps people get active, and hopefully stay active. This is a paid-for-by-the-goverment program to help you live fit. As far as my vote counts, I will vote for some of my taxes to be spent on health prevention programs. This is one of those programs.
The Active Choices (A.C.) program recruits people who want to make activity a part of their regular life. Call or email Angela at 604-522-1492 or firstname.lastname@example.org It is a 6-month commitment whereby the program provides you with a coach that will provide you with telephone mentoring and support for your physical activity goals. There is an initial 60-90min, in-person meeting with an A.C. coach. It is at this time that you will review your physical activity history, your short term physical activity goals, set the agreed upon time for phone calls, and make a 6 month commitment to each other.
The A.C. program asks for a 6-month commitment from the participant in hopes that within 6 months, the participant has created an exercise habit and will carry on with their exercise program on their own.
2. This program provides another benefit. It provides free coach training for those who want to volunteer to help coach people who want to get active in the A.C. program. You will learn skills in the area of facilitation, (helping the participant to take ownership of their behaviour and goals), review the stages of change, basic exercise information (e.g FITT model), coaching, listening to understand, the art of questioning to gather information, summarizing for confirmation, tips for handling difficult emotions, tips for handling challenging situations, and a review of community resources. These are skills that every person needs to be a successful friend, a successful parent, a successful employee/er, and a successful coach.
The A.C. program matches a coach up with a participant. And for 6 months, you volunteer 15min/week/2weeks of your time, energy and passion to the health of our community. How irresistible is that?!
A.C. training happens in Kelowna Saturday, February 23, 10-4 at Evangel Church on Gordon.
Please call or email Angela today at 604-522-1492 or email@example.com today.
Dec 29, 2012 / 5:00 am
I know it's hard to maintain your healthy regimen over the holidays, but if we don’t keep some measure of discipline over our choices during this festive, celebrative, social time we will be trying to reign it back in ‘til Spring. We don’t want to have to be struggling with trying to make right choices for the next four months, so let’s try to keep health at least in the back of our minds if it's not at the front of our minds during our holidays.
1. Eat only when you are hungry
Problem: Food may be around you all the time. Stop and think before you put that cookie, or that chocolate, or those cheese and crackers and chips in your mouth – “Am I hungry? Do I really want that?” If you find yourself picking at food all day throughout the day, recognize it and STOP.
Solution: Put a timer on yourself and don’t eat or drink anything except water for that amount of time. Notice how many times you think about reaching for some food. Recognize how habitual and thoughtless your choices have become. Becoming aware of your actions is the opportunity to make a change.
2. Eat only until you are satisfied
Problem: Food is both really yummy and really social. It is easy to just keep eating, especially when there are so many choices. But you know that if you eat past your full point, your stomach will compensate by stretching itself to accommodate all that food. And that translates to tight pants and shirts.
Solution: Have a large glass of water 10-15 minutes before eating your meal. Then put your food on a plate and be done. No more looking around to see what you can pile on the plate. Eat slowly, putting your utensil down in between bites so that you give your brain time to catch up with what’s going on in your stomach. Take that time to notice whether or not you have the hunger capacity to eat more or if you are satisfied, happy and content and can therefore, STOP
Problem: Yes, many problems can arise, but in the context of making health choices, alcohol inhibits our ability to make healthy choices. Here’s a scenario; you’ve been having a great day of making healthy choices and you are feeling successful and good about yourself. You are going over to your best friends’ for dinner, just you, your partner and your two best friends; the four of you. Before you know it, four empty bottles of wine are sitting on the counter and you’re opening a couple more bottles to finish dinner with. Now the veggies aren’t looking that appetizing but the butter, the bread and potatoes, and the chips and the cheese, and the dessert looks really good. After all, it’s the holidays!
Solution: Somehow, you have to limit your alcohol consumption. Be a DD and carry around a breathalizer, alternate wine with water and lemon, don’t have anything to drink before you go out, or … indulge and start up again the next day. If you find that the next day never gets started, then you simply have to jump on the wagon for at least a week and know that you will survive, and may even like going dry. I know for me, after many years of celebrating with alcohol, now it's kind of a “been there, done that, don’t really want to keep doing that.”
Problem: There’s not enough time or, I can’t leave my visitors or, I’m too full or, I don’t feel like it or, I’m traveling and don’t know where to go or, what to do for exercise or …
Solution: Honestly, you’ve got to move your body. If you don’t move your body, your body will hurt. Your body is worth 30 minutes every day! Plan a walk, plan some stretches, plan to go to an exercise class you’ve never gone to before, plan some sit-ups and pushups and squats, put on some music and dance, buy a hoolahoop, 10 full inhales and exhales every hour of the morning, pull a sleigh, clean your house, take the stairs, play Pictionary … there are lots of ways to get 30 minutes of movement into each day. Then make an exercise plan for the upcoming New Year.
I hope these suggestions help you.
Please comment at www.sculptpilates.ca
Dec 2, 2012 / 5:00 am
Why do you exercise? Is it because you like it, or maybe ‘cause it helps you fit into your jeans, or is there a social aspect that drives your choice to exercise, or maybe you exercise because it makes you feel good? Those are all great reasons to exercise. But have you thought about exercise for good brain health? Yes, for our brain to remain flexible, it requires physical exercise.
It was originally thought that once we reached adulthood, the brain stops growing, changing or adapting and therefore, is a static organ. This could not be further from the truth. Neuroplasticity is the term reserved for the brain’s ability to change throughout our lives. The ability for the brain to remain flexible plays an important role in shaping our distinct personalities.
Brain plasticity is a physical process. Gray matter can actually shrink or thicken; neural connections can be forged and refined or weakened and severed. Changes in the physical brain manifest as changes in our abilities. Without plasticity, the brain would remain static, frozen at a particular point in time. Brain plasticity allows the brain to do everything from learn how to speak to refining physical movements such as those associated with playing a musical instrument. Every time the brain encounters information, it reworks itself to accommodate it, and creates a map of the information it contains so that it can readily retrieve information when it is needed. People always need to be able to store and interpret new information, making brain plasticity critical to function at all ages.
Numerous studies have been conducted on brain plasticity to explore the changes in cellular structure which occur in the brain over time. A number of factors appear to contribute, from hormones generated inside the body to shock therapy. One of the most effective and least compromising is exercise. Studies show that people are able to enhance the flexibility of the brain by “exercising” it, much like exercising the musculoskeletal system can be improved or modified with exercise.
The growth of new brain cells and nerves – neurogenesis – happens when the brain blood volume increases. Blood volume increases during moderate exercise. The hippocampal area of the brain, the area responsible for memory and learning, is the area primarily affected by increased blood volume. This is good news for us with aging brains where memory seems to deteriorate and learning new things like language or music also seems to be fairly challenging.
What’s good for the heart, they say, is good for the brain. So get that heart pumping to grow your brain ‘til the end of your days.
Read more Moving in the Right Direction articles
- Improve immune & detox systems Nov 18
- Posture Nov 4
- Detoxify Oct 21
- Pilates vs. yoga Sep 23
- Naked yoga Sep 9
- Joseph Pilates Principles: Part 3 Aug 12
- Joseph Pilates' Contrology: Part 2 Jul 29
- Joseph Pilates memoirs: Part 1 Jul 15
- Mind, body, soul and spirit Jun 3
- Vigour and vitality Nov 20
- Pilates and our body: Part 1 Oct 23
- Strength for life Oct 9
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