Archive for health

Matters Of The Heart …..

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PREVENTING  HEART  DISEASE  —  ALARMING TREND:   MORE  WOMEN  UNDER  45  DYING  OF  HEART  DISEASE

An alarming trend is emerging in the fight against heart disease.  More women under 45 are dying of heart disease due to clogged arteries, despite the fact that the overall death rate from heart disease has decreased.

A study by researchers at the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and Britain’s University of Liverpool shows the worrisome trend for women of that age group.  Experts think that increasing rates of obesity in younger adults, among other factors, are to blame.

Many diseases that are common today are a reflection of our unhealthy lifestyle, along with a combination of bad diet and lack of exercise.  If that is true, then it is also true that you can decrease the risk of disease or even early death, by improving your eating habits and increasing your daily physical activity.

According to the American Heart Association and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number one killer today is heart disease, which accounts for about 700,000 deaths each year, about 29% of all US deaths. 

The CDC recommends that maintaining a healthy weight by eating an overall healthy diet in combination with regular physical activity (at least 30 minutes on most days of the week) can help lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels and prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

The American College of Sports Medicine and The American Heart Association released new guidelines encouraging Americans of any age to strength-train at least twice a week on top of a regular cardio workout to build a healthier body.

It is recommended that adults perform eight to twelve repetitions of eight to ten exercises using appropriate weight for their individual fitness level.  By exercising all major muscle groups (arms, shoulders, chest, back, upper legs and lower legs) regularly, we also prevent losing muscle mass and gaining fat as we age.

Research by Tufts University found that bone density can be improved through strength training, potentially preventing osteoporosis.  So the benefits of adding weights to your workout routine are endless.

For simple suggestions on how to transform to a healthy lifestyle by creating healthy eating habits, increasing physical activity, de-stressing your life, and generally having a more positive mindset, please visit my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com

On a personal note:  The prevention of heart disease is very dear to me as my mother passed away at an early age after suffering a stroke related to her blood pressure being too high.

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CHANGE — As in ‘Lifestyle Change’

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“Hey, come here–Let me tell you a little secret:  You’ve probably heard the slogan  ’40 is the new 20, 60 is the new 40.’  How do some people manage to look and be so young no matter what age they are?  Well, are you ready for this?  It’s a mindset and a matter of attitude.  There are  ‘old’  thirty-year-olds and there are  ‘young’  fifty-year-olds.

“Listen, if you’re sitting at home right now just vegetating from day to day, feel bad frequently and your attitude stinks and you want to feel better but just don’t know how to get started,  GET OFF THE COUCH!  SHAKE THINGS UP!  CHANGE THE STATUS QUO!  Change to a healthy lifestyle, get in shape with a fit body, de-stress and simplify your life and you will find out, you’ll get an attitude adjustment in the process!  I’ve done it and so can you!  Get ready to declare:  45 is the new 25! — Or for that matter:  55 is the new 35! — Or:  65 is the new 45!

“Bottom line is this:  Everything happening outside you is a reflection of what’s happening inside you!  Believe it or not, there is a  FIT, SEXY and HAPPY  person already inside you just waiting to be awakened.  So what are you waiting for?  Wake her up!  Visit my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com   and find out how!”

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“Hi, I am Andrea and I am happy that your search has led you to my blog and website.  Let me share with you why I have chosen the butterfly as my logo.  Every time I see a beautiful butterfly fluttering by, I instantly smile.  Just watching that little creature brings joy to my heart.  It symbolizes lightheartedness, joy, love, happiness, a free and independent spirit, and most of all, it is a symbol of transformation.

“One of nature’s great mysteries is the metamorphosis from a crawling caterpillar, after going through chrysalis, to a colorful and beautiful butterfly.  Fighting its way out of the old form, the butterfly emerges free to explore the world from a completely new perspective and to flutter through life in joy.

“One day we may find ourselves desiring a better, more meaningful life.  At that point, we may not even know what this  ‘something better’  exactly looks like.  But if we have patience, it will come to us and we will find ourselves on a path of transformation very similar to that of the butterfly.

“Maybe you are in the  ‘caterpillar stage’  right now, feeling like you are just living from day to day and are stuck in your old mold.  But you also have the desire to change circumstances or behavior, or you want to shake up your life altogether.  Then again, you may find yourself already in the  ‘chrysalis stage’  but are impatient with the slow pace of transformation or you are lost at what change of your current circumstances you are actually seeking.

“It does not matter where you are at this point in your life.  What is important is that you have already taken the first step in your desire for change which has led you to my blog and website.  As I went through this transformation some time ago myself, I want to inspire and motivate you on your journey, and I will be with you every step of the way, until you get to the final stage, becoming a beautiful butterfly.  🙂

“By starting to live a healthy lifestyle which includes good eating habits and increased physical activity, limiting stress and maintaining a positive outlook on life, you will be well on your way to reaching your goal!  As body, mind and soul are interconnected, you will find many simple suggestions on how to de-stress, have a more positive outlook on life and generally become a content and happy person when visiting my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com.” 

Life is truly beautiful!  Enjoy your journey! 

                butterfly11

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De-Stress At Work

If you’re like me, you feel a little stressed out lately.  While we can’t avoid stress completely, it is important that we find ways to deal with it more effectively as it can be a contributing factor in more than 80% of illnesses.  The following are simple suggestions on how to deal better with stress at work.

*  Create a neat and organized workplace

Keep your workplace always neat and organized.  Nothing is more stressful than if you can’t find something one minute before you have to go into a meeting.  Surround yourself with beautiful things that give you joy, make you feel good and inspire you, like pictures of your kids and pets, plants, a cartoon, smiley face or anything that makes you laugh and smile.

*  Have an active lunch

Instead of sitting in a crowded restaurant for lunch, why not take a healthy lunch you prepared the day before and opt for physical activity instead?  The easiest exercise would be to take a brisk walk.  You can do it anywhere and only need some comfortable shoes.  Depending on the time you have, you could also go to the gym and work out, etc.  Whatever suits you–and take your co-workers with you!

*  Get a chair massage

Make a suggestion to have a massage therapist come to your office from time to time to give fifteen minute chair massages.  Not only will it relax your tight neck and shoulder muscles and improve your overall well being, but statistics have also shown that it will increase productivity levels in employees (which provides a great selling point to your boss).

*  Delegate as much as possible

If you are the boss/manager/supervisor, you don’t have to do it all yourself!  Delegate as much as you can in good conscience.  Not only will the people you work with appreciate the trust you place in them and will feel that they also have a stake in the success of the business, but it will help de-stress your life and you can concentrate on what is important to you while others work on issues they are perfectly able to handle.

*  Stay away from toxic co-workers

In every workplace, there seems to be somebody, sometimes more than one person, who radiates negativity, tries to engage people in vicious gossip, tries to play one against the other, tries to drag people down.  Stay away from that person as much as you can.  If you think you are that person, please read my suggestions on how to become happy, by visiting my website  www.FitwithAndrea.com  and click on ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy!’  

*  Recharge your battery

Take a few minutes from time to time throughout the day to take a break.  Get up and walk around, stretch your body and do some deep-breathing exercises.  Your body and mind will thank you for it.

*  Limit emails

Find ways to limit email use.  Don’t let email take over your life!

*  Carpool

If possible, try to find other people to carpool with, use public transportation or ride your bike.

Most of all:  Enjoy life!  Life is truly beautiful!   🙂

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Show Off Your Sexy Arms!

     

A lot of us aren’t genetically predispositioned to have toned and sexy arms.  Combine that with the loss of skin elasticity as we age and it’s really a double whammy.  There’s good news, however.  With a little persistence, you will be able to get shapely, toned and sexy arms.  The first thing to emphasize here is regular cardio workout of at least 30 minutes on most days of the week (treadmill, exercise bike, brisk walk, jogging).  This will help you with losing fat all over your body.  In conjunction with the cardio workout, experts suggest strength training with appropriate weights for your fitness level on 2-3 days a week targeting each muscle group.  The following two exercises are effective in giving your arms the well-toned and sexy look you desire.  If you are persistent, you will notice positive changes after a relatively short time.

1.  KARATE  PUNCHES

Hold 1-2 pounds dumbbells in each hand, raise arms to shoulder level and start punching up to 50 times.  After a few weeks, do two sets of up to 50 punches and increase it to three sets after yet another few weeks.

2.  SHOULDER  PRESSES

Hold your hands next to your ears, holding 5-10 pounds dumbbells, elbows to the side.  Raise weights up and then straight back down.  Start out with two sets of 12 repetitions and add a third set after a few weeks.

So, are you ready for your little strapless dress?   🙂

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The Connection: Mind, Body and Soul

Sometimes, when giving somebody with very tense neck and shoulder muscles a massage, I joke around, telling them that I can see names of people engraved in those tense muscles, and that usually serves as an icebreaker or provides for a light moment.  Of course, there is some truth to it.  Because body and mind are interconnected, stress of any kind (involving people and/or circumstances), especially over an extended period of time, can influence our overall health tremendously in a negative way.  Just think about various statistics showing upward of 80% of health problems being stress related.  Imagine by how much that number can be reduced once we know how to decrease stress in our lives and discover ways to deal with stress that will work for us!

You will find various suggestions and tools on that subject when navigating through my website   www.FitwithAndrea.com.   Try out the approaches appealing to you and use the method(s) of stress relief that works for you.  The key to achieving and then maintaining good health is a comprehensive approach.  It includes healthy lifestyle choices, a healthy diet, self-responsibility for your wellness, regular physical activity, and a positive mental attitude and mindset.

Research has shown that negative emotions of fear, frustration, blame, hate and anger cause disorder in the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and can have a negative effect on your immune system.  On the other hand, your immune system can receive a boost and the efficiency of your heart can be increased by positive emotions of joy, appreciation, care, compassion and love.  On matters of the heart, studies have shown that in general, being in a loving relationship of any kind, especially in happy marriages, can help your heart and your overall health.  However, beware that the opposite can be true for negative and toxic relationships.

I believe the following shows the connection between mind, body and soul perfectly.  One of my first massage clients was a sixty-something, very nice gentleman to whom I gave massages on a regular basis.  I sometimes joked with him about his neck and shoulder muscles being like a “brick wall.”  After the massage, his muscles were relaxed and he felt good and was in excellent spirits.  However, when I saw him the next time, his muscles again were like a “brick wall.”  I knew from talking to him that he was retired and his personal life seemed to be okay.  So I had no idea why his muscles stayed pretty much tense most of the time, to the point where he almost couldn’t move his neck from one side to another.  Naturally, I knew that there had to be a reason for that.

And then, one day he opened up to me, telling me how he was still angry at his parents (who were deceased) for him not having had a happy childhood and always feeling like they preferred his brother over him.  When I listened to him, I could hear his anger in his voice and realized that he was still blaming his dead parents for how he felt and probably for most everything that went wrong in his life.  I thought that he most likely had never been able to enjoy life to the fullest, because he ended up blaming his parents for everything that went wrong, and therefore hardly took responsibility and didn’t feel the need to change things himself, because it was his parents’ fault.

Now, this man carried that blame with him his entire life.  And it showed in his tense neck and shoulder muscles.  After hearing his story, I paused for a moment, and then suggested to him that in order to get to a better and more balanced place, he needed to let go of these negative feelings and forgive everybody involved:  his parents, his brother and finally himself.  I told him that if I was in a situation like that, I would seek counseling.  After that we parted and I didn’t see him for some time.  But one day, out of the blue, he called to make an appointment and when working on his neck and shoulders, I noticed how much more relaxed his muscles were.  I was about to make a comment about it when he told me, “You know, I took your suggestion and talked to a counselor and I’m feeling so much better now.”

He didn’t have to tell me at all; his body had told me already.

I lost him as a regular client, because from that time on he got massages more infrequently–as he called it:  for maintenance and preventive health care only, but not out of necessity, as before.

Somehow, I felt happy losing him as a “regular” client.   🙂

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De-Stress Your Life

If you’re like me, you feel a little stressed out lately.  Even though I de-stressed and simplified my life several years ago, and as a massage therapist don’t let stress overtake my life, there are times when it can be a little challenging.  We cannot avoid stress completely in our lives, but it is important for us to find ways to deal with it more effectively as stress can be major factor in upward of 80% of illnesses.  The following are simple suggestions which may help you manage stress a little better.  For more information, please visit my website  www.FitwithAndrea.com

1.  CREATE A NEAT AND POSITIVE LIVING SPACE

Fill your home with positive energy to feel comfortable when spending time there.  You can create a “feel good atmosphere” with very little effort:  simplify and de-clutter.  Get rid of “stuff” you don’t need, especially those things with the sole purpose of collecting dust.  Add color, plants, candles, beautiful lighting, peaceful music in the background, scents if you like, and keep it generally clean and organized.  By the way:  people who visit will also appreciate the positive energy coming from your home and will see it for what it is–a reflection of you!

2.  MAKE APPOINTMENTS WITH YOURSELF

Make regular appointments with yourself.  Exercise, get a manicure, meet with a friend for lunch, visit an art gallery, read a book, take a yoga class ….. and keep the appointments!

3.  FIND A WAY OF RELAXATION THAT WORKS FOR YOU

There are many different ways you can relax.  Try them out and see what works for you:  yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, getting a massage, taking a walk.  It doesn’t matter which one you settle on.  Each will help you relax.  Pick one you feel comfortable with and practice it regularly.  Ideally set aside some time for relaxation every day, and put it on your schedule!

4.  PLAN AHEAD

You don’t have to be obsessive about it, but some planning will help you keep the stress level down.  Write down and plan for important things that have to be accomplished the following day or week.  Also, plan your meals and prepare them ahead of time whenever you can.  Then you have a good breakfast, even if you get up a little late; a healthy lunch, so you can also take a walk during your lunch break; and a nice dinner you can enjoy with your family, even if you had to work a little late.

5.  HAVE FUN!

Make time for fun things.  It’s mandatory!  Take a bike ride, play in the park, go to the zoo, take a trip, have a party for no reason at all.  Enjoy life, it pays great dividends!  By the way:  nobody will remember whether your kitchen floor was mopped on the last Sunday in July of last year but you (and your family) will have wonderful memories of a visit to the park, enjoying a picnic and playing around that afternoon.

6.  SLEEP WELL

How well you sleep at night can make the difference in how stress-free and productive you will be the next day.  Find out what ensures you to have a good night’s sleep, whether it is exercising, cutting back on alcohol, coffee and cigarettes, taking a relaxing hot bath before going to bed, having a quiet and dark bedroom or a combination of all of the above.  Limit your news intake, especially before going to bed.  Sleeping well is very important to your stress level and overall well being.

7.  PRACTICE POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS AND VISUALIZATIONS

Give yourself messages as to how well you can cope rather than how horrible everything is going to be.  Learn to say “Yes, I can,” no matter what it is.  The phrase “I can’t do it” is not even part of your vocabulary.  From time to time, especially when in a bad mood or feeling stressed, lean back, close your eyes and visualize something you associate with a positive experience or feeling–an event from your childhood, a sunny day at the beach, a beautiful garden, getting a massage.  It will give you a feeling of joy and put a smile on your face.   🙂

8.  LEARN TO SAY “NO” ….. IN A NICE WAY

There is only a limited amount of hours in the day and you are already trying to de-stress and simplify your life.  If somebody asks you to do something, it’s nice to say “Yes” from time to time, but it is also necessary to be able to say “No” and not feel guilty about it.  Don’t overburden yourself with “stuff” just because you are not able to say “No.”  Learn how to say it, in a nice way!

9.  GET YOUR FINANCIAL HOUSE IN ORDER

Financial disarray can be a constant source of stress (and can be a major contributing factor for divorce).  So make it a priority to get your financial house in order.  Here is a simple guideline.  Find ways to have more money coming in than going out.  That can be achieved by either increasing your income or by cutting your expenses or a combination of both.  And don’t forget to save some money in the process for emergencies.  Life happens, so be prepared for it.  Being from Germany, I grew up with this financial advice, instilled in me by my late father, and it is a general rule to this day:  unless it’s a big ticket item (like a house or a car), if you can’t pay cash for it, you probably don’t need it.

10.  LIMIT CELL PHONE USE

…If you can.  Unless you are a doctor on call, you probably don’t need to be reached on your phone at all times.  So, leave it at home if you really don’t have to have it with you, or at the very least turn it off.

Most of all:  ENJOY LIFE!  LIFE IS TRULY BEAUTIFUL!     🙂

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Tough Guys Don’t See The Doctor

You’ve probably heard the notion that some men literally have to be almost dead before they see the doctor.  There is certainly some truth to men being reluctant to go to the doctor’s office when a problem first arises.  You can speculate about the reasons; some people think it is related to society in general imposing expectations of being tough and ignoring pain, first on boys and then later on men.  It could also be related to men in general maybe being more hesitant speaking freely, even with a physician, about a condition they deem to be embarrassing, not realizing it could be a symptom of a serious health problem.  Even when seeking advice, some men may leave out those important but embarrassing details and therefore delaying diagnosis and treatment.  One perfect example could be a man experiencing the urgency of urination to the point of wetting his pants from time to time.  Being embarrassed about that, he may not mention it to the doctor, possibly delaying a diagnosis that could involve bladder cancer, especially if the person had been a smoker.

MORE EMPHASIS ON PREVENTION

See your doctor ….. Not only for treatment when you are sick, but get regular check-ups for prevention, including blood pressure, cholesterol, etc.  The goal is to find out whether something is out of balance before it becomes a serious health problem.  Unfortunately, our entire health care system up to this point is based on treating health problems, rather than trying to prevent them in the first place.  But you can certainly make the individual decision for yourself to put more emphasis on prevention and living a healthy lifestyle.

YOU WANT TO GET A MAN’S ATTENTION?  LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX!

Is it just me or have you also noticed lately that commercials for medication treating Erectile Dysfunction start to involve the notion that serious conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease in general could also lead to Erectile Dysfunction?  And you can just picture men all across America staring at the TV in full attention.  Naturally, these are self-serving commercials by the drug companies.  However, studies have shown and experts agree that there can be a connection between Erectile Dysfunction and serious health problems.  A high percentage of men who suffer from diabetes already know that Erectile Dysfunction could be related to that condition.  But it could also be a good indication of heart disease because just like arteries in the penis fail to expand to stimulus, so do certain arteries around the heart.  Because arteries in the penis are smaller, that condition may show up earlier and may make the prevention or treatment of heart disease much more successful for that person.

Bottom line:  If the newly found openness talking about the once taboo subject of impotence leads more men to the doctor’s office and in the process serious health concerns can be discovered and treated, more power to them!

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