Heels to Laces Menu

Balance

Permalink:

Give To Live

giveThe holidays are synonymous with giving – which is often more about the gifts under the tree.  I have tried to make it a point to teach my children to be grateful and to appreciate what they have, recognizing that others are not as fortunate. I explain that doing an act to help others can be so fulfilling. What I have found in this journey is that every deed connects to another and has beneficial effects to our health and the health of others.

It can be as simple as holding the door open for someone, smiling at the cashier during the insane Christmas buying rush and maybe even buying someone a cup of coffee in line next to you.

Recently, my daughter bought and made presents for the members of Sage Eldercare in Summit to help brighten their holiday. The reaction from the elderly was tranquilizing. One woman, who was the spitting image of my grandmother, did not hesitate and smothered both my children in kisses and hugs as if they were her own grandchildren – even so much as trying to offer them money! I left the facility bawling.

There is a scientific benefit to good-doing. A “helper’s high” could help you live a longer, healthier life. Think about the rush you get after helping someone – and the effect it has on that person’s life. Research shows that when we act on the behalf of others, we help them feel greater comfort and less stress. The same goes for the do-gooder – along with a sense of gratification of helping someone.

The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love (yes, that’s a real thing) created a comprehensive investigation of altruism. Two large studies found that those who volunteered were living longer than non-volunteers. In fact, there was a 44% reduction in early death among those who volunteered a lot.

When we stress, physiological changes happen to our bodies that cause our heart rate to increase and our immune and cardiovascular systems to be weakened, making us more susceptible to abnormal cellular changes. Good deeds help us reduce stress by thwarting this effect. The high we get from helping creates a lowered stress response and improved immunity (higher levels of protective antibodies). It is said to also affect beneficial brain chemicals. Oxytocin, a feel-good hormone, levels go up when we do something good, which helps relieve our stress hormone levels. It has also been proven to lower blood pressure and have an overall calming effect. Ultimately, creating a positive emotional state through do-gooding may help lengthen your life.

So for this holiday season, counteract any negativity generated from the hectic-ness of the holiday season with positive emotions and good deeds – it will change you and the world around you. Just think of the trickle-down effect.

Happy holidays.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces

  • Cara

    The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer someone else up – mark Twain

  • maria

    This is a great blog entry! Merry Christmas to you and your family! Oxoxox

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

    Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Permalink:

F The Holidays

So yes, the holidays are coming up. Do. Not. Panic.

I always find it interesting that people feel they need to “prepare” themselves for the holidays and surrender themselves to inevitable weight gain. Why? What’s changed? We are faced with temptations every day – what makes one day of Thanksgiving and one day of Christmas (or, in some cases, 8 days of Chanukah) so different?

It’s all hype, people.

It is society creating a situation that only helps them later find perfect topics for main stream gossip magazines or the next “diet” craze. There’s a reason January finds a surge of New Year’s resolution gym memberships and new clients for Weight Watchers. We are supposed to gain weight. We are supposed to lose control. According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the holidays – the pounds just add up year after year making holiday weight gain a contribution to adult obesity.

Stop the madness.

Two months out of the year should not dictate a loss of control. I’m gonna re-tell a little secret I have revealed in the past: It’s a lifestyle, not a diet. It’s about making the right choices 80% of the time and indulging the other 20%. It’s about balance, self-control and discipline; wanting to feel good inside and out. It’s about portion control. It’s about choosing the foods that make you feel good, not the ones that make you irritable, exhausted and bloated.

So, you eat a bit more on the actual holiday. Eat less the next day and balance it out. Or exercise an extra day that week. The same you would do on any other regular day of the year. Eating should be an enjoyment in life – not something we forbid ourselves and then binge when we finally allow ourselves to eat. Binging is an unfulfilling cycle that will never end.

I have been the same size for nearly 10 years (minus 2 pregnancies with extremely large babies). And, there are days I have single-handedly done some damage on a ½ gallon of ice cream. The difference is it didn’t send me off on a binge. I had what I wanted and moved on. I realized I feel better when I am in control of what I eat and when I feed my body with good foods and nutrients. I feel lighter, happier and healthier.

It’s not rocket science. Enjoy the holidays and rock that crab dip. Then get back on track.

To leave a comment on this article or any other blog entry, please fill in the “Leave a Comment” box under each blog entry on our site: Heels to Laces

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

    Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

Permalink:

Go Figure

Leg-Lift-on-BOSU-BallIt’s been a couple of months since I have truly had a good workout post my knee debacle. My biggest concern was what would happen to all that hard work and results I had achieved with my hard core fitness routine?

My schedule went from 5-6 days/week of working out to 2-3 days of PT only. Although both intense, not the same.

I have, once again, become my own science experiment.

So what changed? I slowed down and focused on my form and strengthening specific muscles through contraction and concentrated movements. And my body is just as strong, if not stronger, than pre-surgery.  I actually believe my physique has improved. I’m not saying my cardio has not completed suffered – that is one area I will need to rebuild and is a priority for me going forward; but, I didn’t gain weight, I didn’t lose muscle tone and I didn’t stop eating.

This only confirms what I have learned:

Form Is Everything.
In PT, most of your efforts are based on slow, methodical movements – contracting and building muscle, strengthening and focus. Something I was never a big fan of…moving slow.

Evidence continues to support that form is the utmost important. Without proper form, you will overcompensate with the wrong muscles and support systems. I knew this already – as I am sure most of you have experienced first-hand – without proper form, you are not getting the maximum benefit of the movement (not seeing results) and you are more prone to injury.

One of my major pet peeves throughout the years attending fitness classes was watching most of the class trying so hard to keep up and complete the routine by sacrificing form. Without proper form and movement (“just getting through it”) they were only getting a fraction of the benefit of the workout. Proper form is always more important than speed and is the key to training successfully. Maximum muscle contraction is critical in seeing effects.

I even find myself on the days I don’t have PT, standing a little taller, contracting my body a little tighter and overall, being aware of my movement.

Rest
We have written previous posts about the importance of resting your body: (http://heelstolaces.com/give-rest/).

The body needs time to repair and strengthen. Continuous training can actually weaken the strongest athlete. During recovery, the body adapts to the stress of exercise and the real training effect takes place – meaning, this is where you build muscle. In addition, rest helps maintain a better balance between home, work & fitness goals (and healing ACL’s ;-).

Changin’ It Up
Your body can very easily get used to the same routine every week and become very efficient. This adaptation (we’ve used this term in previous blogs!) causes you to burn fewer calories, even when you’re doing the same amount of exercise. The solution is to challenge your body in new ways. Your body will have to work harder as it adjusts to the new activity, which means that you’ll burn more calories when you work out.

So, there you have it. The combination of focused form, rest and change in my workout has truly had a beneficial effect on my body. And surprisingly, had the reverse reaction than what I expected.

 

  • Thanks for leaving a comment, please keep it clean. HTML allowed is strong, code and a href.

    Comment moderation is enabled, no need to resubmit any comments posted.

close
Facebook IconTwitter Icon