Posts Tagged Women’s 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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Endorphins – The Body’s Natural Painkiller

‘ENDORPHIN’ — A combination of ‘endo’ and ‘morphine’ – meaning endogenously 
                        produced morphine, or internally produced painkiller

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ENDORPHINS AND EXERCISE

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Have you ever asked yourself why you are generally in a good mood and feel great after exercising?  Well, one answer certainly is an overall feeling of accomplishment, but there is also something to be said about the power of these little, hormone-like substances called ‘endorphins.’  When you exercise, endorphins are being released in your body, giving you a feeling of well-being and a state of euphoria.  These feelings can be so powerful that they actually mask pain (the body’s natural painkiller). 

Maybe you have heard the term ‘Runner’s High’ or have experienced it yourself.  All it takes for most people is moderate-intensity exercise of at least 30 minutes to be in high spirits and feel the elation and joy of a ‘Runner’s High.’  Short, high-intensity workouts have proven to be of little value when it comes to experiencing those benefits.  So the most effective stress relief and improvement to your mood may indeed be exercise–who would have thought!

ENDORPHINS AND LOVE

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With so much power influencing your mood during and after exercise to the point of giving you a ‘Natural High,’ you probably think that endorphins are also responsible for the incredible feelings of infatuation, falling in love, and then being in love with that ‘special person.’  Well, yes and no.  Infatuation or feeling an almost unbearable attraction to someone, when the pure sight of that person can make your heart beat faster and your eyes sparkle, and can make you talk for hours (the same person may seem boring later  🙂  ), is caused by an explosion of neurochemicals similar to adrenaline.  At that point you’re basically in love with the idea of being in love. 

This passion can last between six months and two to three years and is nearly gone after that for most people.  At that stage, if the relationship is not strong enough, it will usually end.  However, if it is strong enough, it will advance and then other chemicals, mainly endorphins, play a key role in long-term relationships.  Endorphins don’t induce the giddy high you feel when you are first infatuated with someone, but give you a sense of well-being, peacefulness, calmness and stability.  They literally are one of the reasons why people stay married because of their addictiveness.  Endorphins are the reason why we like loving someone.

ENDORPHINS AND CHOCOLATE

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Eating a bite of chocolate will trigger an endorphin release and can impact your mood in a positive way.  There’s a reason why I call chocolate my ‘soul food.’  But be sensible; you don’t have to eat a large amount, a little will do.  The darker and more bitter the chocolate, generally speaking, the better for you.

BY THE WAY:  THINK ‘HAPPY HORMONE’

Looking for an easier way than exercise to release endorphins and get in a good mood?  Try a good laugh, think happy and positive thoughts, or make passionate love (or all the above)!   🙂

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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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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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In A Bad Mood? Get Some ….. Sun!

Next time you’re in a stinky mood, try this little but very effective mood changer:

Soak up the sun by
a.  Opening the drapes or blinds, or
b.  Having breakfast/lunch/dinner outside, or
c.  Walking or exercising outdoors, or
d.  All the above

It will
a.  Lift your spirits, or
b.  Boost your energy, or
c.  Improve your attitude and frame of mind, or
d.  All the above

AND LET THE SUN BRIGHTEN YOUR DAY!

While traveling all over Europe I noticed that people in the Southern European countries like Spain, Italy and Greece seem to be more cheerful, colorful, are generally in a better mood, and seem to get more enjoyment out of life than their Northern European counterparts.  You think that them having much more exposure to the sun could have something to do with it?  I certainly do.  And their enjoyment of and passion for life is reflected in their beautiful music, passionate dances and colorful fashions.

ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH SUN?

Exposure to the sun is probably the single best way to help our bodies produce Vitamin D.  A Vitamin D deficiency can cause serious health problems like osteoporosis and rickets and is more common than some people realize.  Eating foods containing Vitamin D (like salmon and eggs) or taking a Vitamin D supplement is good but pale in comparison to simple exposure to the sun.  So what do experts suggest?  Just exposing your skin (face, arms, hands or back) to the sun for about 10-15 minutes twice a week without using sunscreen is sufficient to provide adequate Vitamin D.  Drinking your morning coffee and reading the paper on the deck or a walk around the block will do the job.  Naturally, if you’re exposed for longer periods (doing yard work or watching an outdoor game, etc.), apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 to protect your skin as too much sun can have negative effects as well, including skin cancer.

“A PERFECT SUMMER DAY IS WHEN THE SUN IS SHINING, A BREEZE IS BLOWING, THE BIRDS ARE SINGING, AND THE LAWN MOWER IS BROKEN.” — JAMES DENT

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No Motivation To Exercise?

So you made the decision to make increased physical activity part of your new approach to a healthy lifestyle but feel a lack of motivation sometimes.  These four tips will help you to stay motivated while you’re going through this transition:

1.  Goals
Start by setting small, precise, realistic goals that lead to larger goals.  If you have been mostly sedentary and are just starting out, tell yourself this: “I will walk for 30 minutes a day, three times a week, so that my jeans will fit looser.  After a few weeks, I will make it 45 minutes a day, three times a week and add weight exercises twice a week in order to loose one dress size over the next two months.”  You get the picture.

2.  Role Model/Workout Buddy/Journal
Get inspired by somebody who started out where you are and successfully kept it going.  If you know that person personally, keep in contact for continuous motivation.  Look for a positive person to be your workout buddy and make keeping a journal part of your journey.  Here you can put down (and later read) your progress and what works or doesn’t work for you.  One thing I want to emphasize here:  Don’t obsess about scales and numbers.  Ideally only weigh yourself every other week or even more infrequently.  As you are going through a transformation of loosing fat and building muscle at the same time, your weight may fluctuate.  Rather concentrate on your clothes fitting better, your body looking more toned and you feeling more energetic.  If you see those changes occur, you are well on your way to reaching your personal health and fitness goal!

3.  Not just another item on your “To-Do-List” …..
Connect your emphasis on more physical exercise to a deeper level.  Make it part of your new approach to a healthy lifestyle together with better eating habits, limiting stress and a more positive mindset.  Try not to focus on what you are giving up but rather on the rewards and new options you’ll have after becoming more fit.

4.  JUST DO IT!
Before thinking this to death, JUST DO IT!  Get moving!

Running is the greatest metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put into it. — Oprah Winfrey

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