The biggest bang for your health may not be on the treadmill.
By, Bill Kranker
The other day I was watching an old episode of a TV show called “Magnum PI” which stared Tom Selleck. In many of the episodes Tom’s character was shown doing some type of athletic thing like jogging or swimming or running a marathon which is all really great but often he would also be shown reaching for a beer just after a run or as he was drying off after a swim. Back in the 1980′s, when the show was popular on TV, I would have thought nothing of this as I was not much better myself. I would go for a run or workout and then have a steak and potato dinner with ice scream for dessert. The theory back then was that it did not matter much what you eat because you could just work it off later. But is this really the case? Can you just work off any type of food that you put into your mouth? Let’s look at a few facts:
First, what about working off those excess Calories? According to runnersworld.com, running uses up about 105 net calories per mile (this is net calories over what you would use just lying on the couch. For women it would be about 74 calories net). I have seen people (Including myself!) easily consume over 800 excess calories per day on a regular unhealthy diet. So using the above formula we would need to run about 8 miles in order to burn up those 800 extra calories. In reality how many of us are really going to do that much running every day? Or maybe, you think that just walking will burn off that extra indulgence. Walking only uses up about 52 net calories (43 for the ladies) so you would need to walk the equivalent of a half-marathon in order to remove the caloric excess! That is a good amount of exercise for the average person. And as for Mr. Magnum he would need to run about an extra 2 miles just to work off that 200 Calorie beer. (Calories of beer courtesy of beer100.com)
Second: Not all calories are created equal. When people take in too much it is usually the fat calories that they add in excess. 800 Calories of fat such as animal foods or even healthy fats like avocado are much harder for humans to use up because we are not very well equipped for digesting fat (we lack the required digestive enzyme) so any extra calories from fat will get set aside (around our waist and hips) for later disposition while the body concentrates on the useful carb calories it needs for energy. So a run on the treadmill is likely not very effective against these fatty calories.
Third: a lot of the calories we take in are pure chemical junk and will have to go through a much more complicated process than simple digestion and conversion to energy. Often these bad calories are stored in our fat layer or diluted with water for later disposal when more energy is available. Often this extra energy does not become available and these bad chemicals just hang around in our padding. In essence, we become a storage unit of toxic waste! So what are these junk calories? How about “artificial flavors” or anything on those ingredient labels that you can’t easily pronounce. Again, this type of calorie is not easy to “Work Off!”
So if you are really interested in becoming healthy I would start with making the necessary dietary changes first as you will get much more accomplished by changing your diet than you will with all of those hours spent on the treadmill!
So what are some of those dietary changes you ask? The following are my basic rules for food:
1) Stay away from packaged and processed foods as much as possible. If it comes in a can, box, bag or bottle you should probably try and avoid it. Also if it has a nutrition label on it, don’t bother reading all of that fine print, just pass it by!
2) Make the majority of your food intake from fruit. Fruit has the highest calorie to weight ratio of all of the fresh unprocessed foods. Fruit is also composed of healthy carb calories that provide us the cellular energy we need. In this case these calories are the good calories!
3) Make sure to also get some greens and healthy fats into your diet. Greens, such as spinach, collards or kale, have the minerals you need and the fats such as avocado and nuts provide fuel for your brain. Just keep the fats to a minimum though (about ½ avocado or a small palm full of nuts per day average at most)
Don’t just take my word for it. Keep studying and researching. A good place to start is with some of Frederic’s great books that have a wealth of healthy info and recipes in them. It is better to learn from the success and failures of others than by trial and error yourself!
So change your diet first and then let the workout begin!
Until next time make at least one change for the better each and every day!
Christmas is over, and the new year is upon us. Next December we’ll get to here the “12 Days of Christmas” song again, but have you heard the First 12 Days of the Year song?
You can sing it to the same tune, but it makes different gift recommendations!
Or better yet, use the recommendations for every month of the year, and you’ll transform your health in 2013.
1- On the first day of the new year my true love gave to me: 9 minutes of meditation. Brain scans have proven how much meditation can do wonders to remove stress and create a peaceful state that can last. I will start this year incorporating 9 minutes of meditation a day. How about you?
2- On the second day of the new year my true love gave to me: a green juice — I used to drink a daily green juice, but like most people life got in the way and I stopped the habit. In 2013 I vowed to get back on track with a green juice 4-5 days a week. The main benefit of green juices is to get those powerful vegetables and greens in your diet in a super absorbable way. It’s a great way to keep your body alkaline. And the two keys to green juices are: 1) No need to go overboard. 8-12 ounces is plenty. 2) Clean the juicer right after you’re done juicing!
3- On the third day of the new year my true love gave to me: 1-2 ounces of almonds — Almonds are the best nuts to stay thin, according to a new study! Apparently it’s because they keep you full, but are not fully digested and therefore help you stay thin. Eating 1-2 ounces of almonds a day can do wonders.
4- On the fourth day of the new year my true love gave to me: 8 or 9 hours of sleep — Sleep is my new priority, after having battled with insomnia in the past. Getting a good 8 hours of sleep a night is essential to well-being and probably as important for your health than a good diet. Some people need less than 8 hours, some need more.
5- On the fifth day of the new year my true love gave to me: a standing or dreadmill desk — If you work from home and sit a lot, incorporating 2-3 hours a day on a standing desk can do wonders for your health. A new study showed that sitting more than 4 hours a day can be as dangerous for your health than smoking, and than exercising separately does not “undo” the damages from sitting. Consider a standing desk, or a treadmill desk (which Is what I now use). Or at the very list an exercise ball instead of a chair and frequent standing breaks!
6- On the sixth day of the new year my true love gave to me: a dry brush. Dry brushing every day, before you take a shower or bath, will do wonders for your skin. It activates circulations, removes dead skin, and will give you younger looking skin.
7 On the seventh day of the new year my true love gave to me: A blender to make a daily green smoothie. Last year I discover the OmniPowerBlender (http://www.omnipowerblender.com), a heavy-duty blender as good as many competitors, but half the price. Use it or any other blender to make yourself a green smoothie for breakfast every morning.
8 On the eighth day of the new year my true love gave to me: 15 minutes of yoga. Most people who hang out at yoga classes don’t really need to be there. They’re already so flexible that doing hours and hours of more yoga won’t really make a big difference. But everyone that’s NOT going to yoga classes probably need to do some to stay flexible. I can’t commit to a full yoga class, but I’ll start doing 15 minutes of yoga every day in 2013. What about you?
9- On the ninth day of the new year my true love gave to me: A roller. I started using a firm foam roller to massage my sore muscles last year, but I wasn’t very disciplined. Soft tissue work is very important, and a simple 5 minute roller routine before going to bed can your muscles and soft tissues stay healthy. I’ll commit to 5 minutes of “rolling” every day in 2013!
10- On the tenth day of the new year my true love gave to me: A piece of fruit before every meal. Studies have shown that eating an entire piece of fruit (not juice) before each meal makes people eat less of the meal. This is a simple way to make a positive change in your diet almost effortlessly. Eat a big apple or orange before every meal (unless of course, your meal is just fruit…)
11- On the eleventh day of the new year my true love gave to me: a travel goal. Last year is the year that I discovered how to travel the world on pennies. I created a course on the topic (http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/travel), on sale this month. A travel goal can keep you motivated, as a reward for all the good things you’ll be working on this year.
12- On the twelfth day of the new year my true love gave to me: 12 weeks of strength training — This is by far the best physical activity most people can do as they get older, and to prevent many of the problems that come with aging. Lower back pain, lack of strength, slow metabolism and belly fat can be a thing of the past if you start doing some weight training. I got back on track a few months ago and gained 10 pounds of muscle! Pictures will follow as soon as I muster the guts to take my shirt off… And women, don’t worry you won’t start looking like Hulk anytime soon. So no excuse not to do it.
You can make this year your healthiest year ever.
Upgrade your body to a new level in 2013…
Looking forward to helping you along the way.
PS: This article was inspired by one written by Shelli Stein, from http://www.activemenopauselifestyle.com/
Before I get started with today’s ezine, I need to apologize about something first.
Last Tuesday, I was traveling from Hawaii to Vancouver and I sent out my last ezine with my friend Roger Haeske’s article on fitness. I gave you a coupon code for his program to save $20, but unfortunately I gave you the wrong link so the coupon code didn’t work on the page I sent you.
Roger sells his Lighting Speed Fitness program on a number of websites, and I got confused and sent you to the wrong page where the coupon didn’t work.
I’m really sorry about the mistake!
Night flights and sending ezines don’t seem to mix well together for me…
The good news is I managed to fix the issue and talked to Roger, who’s agreed to extend the promo. So here’s the revised information:
Check out his website where he’s set up special for his Lightning Speed Program, just for my readers, at:
Use coupon code: LSFPCOUPON
Normal price is $47 and Roger has dropped it down
to $27 for my subscribers with the coupon.
How to Get Fit Without Quitting
For me, exercise and fitness have always been a struggle. When I was younger, my brother was the active kid, involved in sports of all kinds, while I was the book worm. When we would go on skiing trips, I preferred to stay warm inside to read books with my grandma while my mom and my brother went out skiing!
I wasn’t a lazy or overweight kid. I just didn’t like sports. And to be honest, I still have very limited interest in most sports!
During the summer, spring and fall, I got lots of exercise by riding my bike everywhere as my sole mode of transportation.
When I first got into raw foods at the age of 20, I became aware of the importance of fitness. I knew that getting fit and staying fit was absolutely necessary for optimal health.
Just eating raw foods wasn’t enough. I needed to exercise.
Yet, exercising was not my natural state! Over the years, I found it extremely difficult to stick with any exercise program.
I tried various types of exercise, like weight lifting, running — but I never stuck with them for very long. Something would always get in the way of my routine.
As I progressed in my twenties, I always tried to figure out another way to renew my commitment to exercise. I would give it up for months at a time, and then try again. It felt like a constant series of failures! But without realizing it, I was making progress nonetheless.
When I dramatically changed my raw food diet in 2005 to eat an 80-10-10 approach of mostly carbohydrates (fruit) and limited fat, I became even more desperate to make fitness work in my life.
I was impressed by the shape of some long-term raw foodists like Dr. Doug Graham, and I ended up studying with Dr. Graham and attending all of the live programs he did, like his annual “Health & Fitness Week.”
Year after year, I accumulated more information about exercise, but I still had trouble finding a routine that worked in my life.
I would go through periods of committing to a workout schedule, and then as soon as my routine was perturbed — for example by traveling or lack of sleep — my entire program would fall apart and I would revert back to a sedentary lifestyle.
As I became older and moved through my thirties, it became clear that I needed to find a better approach.
Now at 36, I find that I’m the best overall shape I’ve ever been in!
After lots of trials and errors, I’ve finally identified why so many people, like me, can’t commit to workout schedule and get so out of shape as they get older.
My insights are a combinations of things I already knew, but finally was able to integrate at a deeper level.
Here’s how to get fit — long-term —without quitting, and get amazing results.
Get fit slowly
This is a basic idea, but a very important one.Realize this is a long-term process. Abandon hopes of quick results. The fitness industry would like you to believe that you can get fit quickly. On the cover of every single fitness magazine is the promise of quick results. The truth is that there are no quick results if you seek a fundamental change in your body. Building cardiovascular capacity or muscular strength is something that takes time. So enjoy the ride! See it as a long-term commitment.
Don’t wait too long
As we get older, it becomes more and more important to stay fit and maintain muscle mass. Most people exercise a massive physical decline in their overall fitness in all categories: flexibility, cardio ability, coordination and muscular strength.
This decline generally begins between the ages of 30 and 35, and gets worst with every year.
If you’re young and you find it hard to exercise and stay fit: realize you better get going now and find something that works because it’s only going to get worst with time.
If you’re older and you haven’t stayed fit, start now and think of it as the most important thing you’ll do to keep your body young as you get older.
At first, try lots of different things. In my twenties, I would attempt different disciplines but fail to stick with any of them for a long period of time. I tried running, ashtanga yoga, weight lifting, interval training, and many other things.
However, I’m glad I did because it allowed me to discover what I liked best and what I needed to work on.
If you’re not sure what to do, go with your instinct and try something new. In fact, try many different fitness activities and eventually you’ll find what works best for you!
Pick an exercise you love
Dr Graham taught me that “the best exercise for you is the one that you’re willing to do!”
It’s critical to pick activities that will motivate you. For me, running has always been something that I enjoyed because I enjoyed being outside, getting fresh air and I also love the runner’s high!
Focus on your weaknesses too
When I say to pick something you love, I don’t mean to pick something you’re just naturally good at.
If you just focus on things you’re good at, you’re not going to make progress in areas of fitness that really need work.
For me, running is a great exercise because I’m not particularly good at it, so I get a lot out of it — but I also enjoy it enough to do it on a regular basis!
My friend Shelli Stein is an awesome fitness instructor and trainer in Honololu (see her website http://www.joyinmotion.com. On a recent visit to Hawaii, she laughed as she told me that “most women who go to yoga classes have no business being there.”
What did she mean by that?
Many women, who are extremely flexible to begin with, take yoga classes — you know, the skinny ones who make everyone else feel uncomfortable about being there! They get an ego boost out of being able to do all the pauses with ease.
But at their level, do they really need to sit through an entire hour of yoga?
“I mean, how flexible do your hip flexors have to be!” My friend Shelli jokes.
The yoga chicks love their yoga classes because it makes them feel good about themselves. However, they could probably maintain their flexibility in just a few minutes a day of targeted moves, and instead spend the extra time working on things they should really focus on, like strength training or cardio.
Don’t overly complicate things
The more information I accumulated about fitness, the more I tried to complicate things. I wanted the perfect mix between cardio, strength, endurance and flexibility! I was trying too hard to create the “perfect” exercise program, but failed to implement it.
So instead, I just relaxed and focused on a few things at a time.
It’s almost impossible to improve every single aspect of your fitness at the same time. So focus on just doing one or too things, and then improve as you go along.
Beware of the experts
Just like in the field of nutrition, fitness expert often bring more confusion to the table than useful information.
Nowadays, all sorts of theories are floating around in the fitness world, such as:
- All forms of cardio (like running) are bad
– Only bodyweight exercises are good
– The only way to built muscle is through high intensity training
– “Hot” yoga is the best form of exercise
– Interval training is the most natural way to do cardio
Although not all of these ideas are 100% wrong they are often too advanced or complicated for the average person. And in many cases, experts are totally wrong!
Many people are afraid to run because they’ve heard that long-term endurance runners are not healthy. Many women are reluctant to lift weights because they’ve seen pictures of “She-Hulks” and are afraid of looking like them!
But the truth is… Are we really talking about running ultra-marathons on a regular basis here, or just moving your body? Almost, everybody can benefit from running, but that doesn’t mean that everybody should become an ultra-marathon runner.
Most women have really pathetic muscular strength and would dramatically benefit from lifting some weights. And there’s no way they will start looking like those women on the cover of body building magazines anytime soon! That would require a particular kind of training, and I can assure you won’t risk inadvertently doing it!
It would be like a 300-pound man saying that he’s afraid to go on a diet because he will then starve himself and look like the survivor of a concentration camp. So instead, he’d rather play it safe and keep the weight on, that way he can make sure looking like this will not happen to him!
Set realistic goals!
By far, this is the most important thing I’ve learned over the years about making a fitness program work.
For many years, I had the goal in mind to be like some of my fitness heroes, like Dr. Doug Graham. I tried to exercise for an hour a day, and have the perfect combination of cardio, weight training and flexibility.
But it just didn’t work!
My program was too difficult for where I was at, and I couldn’t stick with it.
Last year, I was fed up with my mediocre progress so I decided to just start running four times a week and not worry about anything else!
Once I did that, everything became easy. I could focus on one thing at a time, and keep it simple. Before I knew it, it was easy to add other activities like bodyweight exercises, into my routine.
A few minutes a day are enough. You don’t need much to get started with an exercise routine. A few minutes a day are enough! Consistency is key.
Some people get great results by walking 10,000 steps a day consistently.
If you think you don’t have the time to get started, you’re wrong!
My friend Roger Haeske is a great example of that. In his forties, he looks better than most guys in their twenties, and he only exercises about 20 minutes a day!
He’s created a program based on bodyweight exercises you can do anywhere, called Lightning Speed Fitness. You can even get started with just 5 minutes to spare. To find out more, go to:
Use coupon code: LSFPCOUPON to save $20
Rebounding is not only a great cardiovascular workout, it’s low impact and fun as well. Rebounding can burn the same number of calories as jogging- and rebounding does it without the huge risk of injury! The small trampoline used in rebounding provides resistance and a soft landing.
Rebounding offers relief from osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. This form of exercise is generally less stressful on the body than most other systems. Similarly people who experience back pain can benefit from rebounding, without the negative effects of exercising on a hard surface.
NASA research has shown rebounding to be the best form of exercise to rebuild lost bone mass, common for astronauts due to the weightlessness in space. In one study, NASA called rebounding the “miracle exercise.” Thus, the possibility of preventing osteoporosis, and reversing bone damage is great.
Noteworthy benefits of rebounding
- The nature of rebounding with its flexible surface increases balance.
- Exercise of any kind is key to fighting the negative effects of diabetes. Rebounding is an effective and gentle approach to exercise, that can be part of a healthy program to control weight.
- With rebounding you can experience higher levels of energy.
- Dr. Morton Walker authored a book titled “Jumping for Health” in this book he outlines thirty different anti-stress benefits of rebounding.
- Increase endurance by regular rebounding exercise.
- Improves muscle tone, especially in the legs, hips and core.
With all the benefits available from such a low impact aerobic work out, it’s easy to see why there is a growing trend in rebounding. Any exercise that can be done by people who suffer from joint pain or asthma, as well as provide an intense cardio workout is really well worth giving a try.
I recommend purchasing your rebounder with a stability bar, and using it until you are confident. For some, this takes a day, and others two weeks or more, so go at a pace you are comfortable with. Wearing shoes is a good idea to reduce chances of injuring yourself. Also, look for a trampoline with six legs as this will make for a more stable surface.
Rebounding is so easy to get started. Begin with some light bouncing, when you are ready you can move up to jumping, walking or jogging on the rebounder. You may increase the benefits by adding different arm movements. There are so many possibilities, almost any aerobic exercise can be done on the rebounder. I like to do yoga, pilates, kick boxing and ab workouts on the rebounder. The mini trampoline really lends itself to your creativity.
Albert Carter is founder of AIR Inc. and the pioneer of rebound exercise. As a lecturer and educator, Carter has shared his findings on health and rebound exercise all over the world. He is also the designer of what is arguably the best-built, most innovative rebounders available. Although, I have also seen great reviews of the Needak rebounder. This is the one that I use. What ever rebounder you choose your sure to enjoy the fun and the health benefits.
Let me tell you that I’ve had quite an adventure in Fiji so far! The trip started with a visit to an island called Nanuya Lailai, about five hours by boat from Nadi. On the way to that island, we passed the island where they shot the movie Castaway with Tom Hanks.
Being on Nanuya was quite something, as the island is so small I could run around it in 45 minutes! Nonetheless, it was beautiful there, and we even visited the cave where they shot the movie Blue Lagoon.
Being on such a small island can be an adventure, and that’s exactly what happened. A power surge occurred when they restored their generators and fried both of my computer adapters! So now I’m without computers for about a week, which is a mixed blessing…
I must say that the Fijians are some of the happiest and friendliest people I have met, and they seem to all have a wicked sense of humor! I will be back with a video update from Fiji as soon as I can get my computer up and running again, so this is just a quick update.
Last week I was featured on Kevin Gianni’s Great Health Debate, and since then it seems that now some people are more confused than ever about what to eat! Many are thinking of going back to meat or are afraid to go vegan because of what they heard from the different speakers.
I have to say that all of these concerns are valid and are fully answered in my new book Raw Food Contoversies, available at: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/rawfoodcontoversies
I will also be back next week with my complete thoughts on the Debate.
In the meantime, check out this video that my friend Doug Graham, author of The 80/10/10 Diet, sent me:
Doug, now 57, is a proof of how incredibly fit you can become on a low-fat, fruit based diet.
Although I am not nearly as athletic as Doug, I have found that my fitness has really increased on this diet, something I never found possible on a diet filled with animal protein and fat.
Remember there’s always two sides to the same story!
If you haven’t read “Raw Food Controversies” yet, make sure you grab your copy while we’re still having the launch special. Go to:
Yours for heath and success,
Life is beautiful when you have nothing to limit you or curtail your confidence. Often times, being overweight, obese or simply lacking your desired level of strength can erode your confidence and give you a looser mentality.
A proper diet is essential for keeping fit and staying health, but the role that exercise plays in helping the body to be at its best is equally valuable.
Having a well-built physique and a solid core is a product of a combination of a healthy diet, regular exercise, and a beneficial workout routine.
When it comes to exercising to keep fit and healthy, push ups are one of the surest ways to go.
How to perform a Push Up
A push up is a calisthenics exercise that is traditionally performed by laying face down in a prone position. The exercise is such that it entails the lowering and raising up of the body with the aid of the hands to achieve an upward and downward movement of the body.
Of course, there are many variants of push ups, so one should never be limited to the standard variety.
You may begin with wall push ups, and progress as you increase in strength, to push ups done on the knees, traditional push ups, and even beyond that you will find there are plenty of variations to keep push ups relevant and challenging.
One of the most difficult I have found is the Planche push up, with your whole lower body raised in the air as you do the pushup, you put focused tension on your chest, shoulders and back.
The Benefits of Push Ups
Push Ups are an excellent exercise and offer many benefits to the body that are quite remarkable. Exercising with push ups is quite valuable because the push up, in all of its variety, is an exercise that puts strain on many different muscle groups. With push ups you can build strong abdominal (core) muscles, improve the triceps, build a strong chest and back, even your legs and buttocks will be strengthened. By increasing your overall muscle tone through push ups, you will more readily burn fats.
Push Ups are certainly the recommended form of exercise, they are convenient, require nothing but a little space and your own body weight, and provide over all results.
Increase your energy with Tibetan Rites
by Jennifer Townes
The Five Tibetan Rites are said to be over 2500 years old and originated as a form of yoga.
These are not your typical yoga poses, these rites are about movement and are meant to flow together at a moderate to quick pace.
It is widely believed that they are a key to prolonged youth that has been so sought after throughout history.
It may come as a shock to hear that five exercises done daily taking no more than 20 minutes to complete can have such a profound impact on your life, health, vitality and appearance, but that is precisely what these rites can do if practiced daily.
There are indeed varying tales and theories surrounding the history of the Five Rites. As it stands,Peter Kedler was in communication with a man known as Colonel Bradford. Bradford, it is stated, traveled to Tibet in search of the monastery he believed heald the secret of youth, which he first learned of years before while in India. In Tibet, he located the group of lamas that he preached held the secret of youth. As the lamas explained to him this consisted of five exercises done daily, that operate with the Chakras.
Although that story is probably not entirely true, what we know for sure is that we have these exercises are available now, and the impact they will have in your life is profound. Consisting of five exercises performed in twenty-one repetitions, some of the benefits claimed by people who practice are as follows:
- increased physical strength
- relieve stress
- improve respiration
- enhance bone mass
- improve digestion
- eliminate fat around midsection
- strengthen core muscles
- heal back pain, strengthen spine
- oxygenate the body
- think more clearly, become more alert and improve memory
- improve sleep quality
- improve eyesight
- reverse signs of physical degeneration, look younger
- arthritis relief
- enhanced sexual performance
- increase endurance and stamina
- attain a great boost in energy of the body and mind
Science: Why the Tibetan Rites Work
Many in the scientific and medical community have come to conclude that meditation and exercise has profound and direct benefits on the seen and unseen forces at work with in our bodies and minds.
Regular deep meditation changes the brain in positive ways, research is now showing. This type of meditation seems to be associated with gamma waves (the electromagnetic rhythm of neurons firing very rapidly in harmony).
“These findings may help explain the beneficial health effects of mindfulness meditation, and suggest, for the first time, an underlying reason why mindfulness meditation programs improve mood and health,” said UCLA psychologist. From the standpoint of neuroscience, meditation can be characterized as a sequence of mental exercises by which one strengthens their command over the workings of their own brain.
In fact, science went as far as to invite the Dalai Lama in 2005 to lecture at the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in Washington, D.C. In his speech, the spiritual leader of Tibet highlighted the areas of similarity between neuroscience and Buddhist teachings about the mind.
To learn more about the Tibetans rites, I have found the out-of-print, old edition of Peter Kedler’s book, originally titled “The Eye of Revelation.”
This e-book comes with a 100% money back guarantee, so I’m really happy to point you to this classic in the natural health field. The exercises work for me, and I bet they’d work for you too. Click here for more details.
I know you’re used to hearing from me about the latest in the raw foods and health movements, but I wanted to talk to you a little bit today about stress reduction. You can be eating all the right foods and following my plans perfectly, but if your mind and body are constantly under stress, it’s not going to do you as much good as it can.
One of the best ways to counteract stress is to exercise. We’ve talked before about the importance of daily exercise. Now, I want you to consider doing yoga as part of your exercise plan. Yoga is a great way to exercise because it utilizes all of the different muscle groups of the body and helps keep you flexible and toned and less prone to injury. But, more importantly, it’s meant to be a way to prepare your mind for relaxation and meditation.
The deep breathing that accompanies each yoga pose is intended to clear your mind and get you to focus on the physical movements you are doing. In the process, your body responds by releasing the tension and stress you might not even realize you have. Let’s try a simple exercise right now. As you are reading this line, breathe in deeply through your nose at a count of four. Hold slightly, and then release your breath slowly through your nose at a count of four again. You might already be feeling a sense of relief!
That’s because yoga has physical and mental benefits. It helps lower your blood pressure and heart rate and increase your intake of oxygen. As a result, you feel less anxious and tense. As your body gains strength and flexibility, you experience a slowing in the aging process and an enhanced feeling of well being.
Although some practitioners want you to believe that yoga is hard or mysterious, it really isn’t. In fact, like the breathing exercise you just did, you probably have already naturally done some yoga poses without even knowing it! Yoga involves stretching the body and forming different poses while breathing slowly and steadily. You feel relaxed yet energized at the same time. There are many different types of yoga, some which involves moving through the poses quickly (often referred to as *power yoga*), which other types require you to stretch deeply into a pose and hold it before moving on to the next pose.
Most yoga classes at fancy studios last 90 minutes, with about 60 minutes devoted to doing all of the poses and 20 to 30 minutes meditating. I know that sounds like a long time, but you can get some of the same benefits from doing just 20 minutes of yoga poses and 10 minutes of relaxation/meditation. So why not give yoga a try today?
I’ve received a lot of questions from you, asking “Frederic, I work behind a desk all day. I love my job, but I feel so stiff and out of shape by the end of the day. What can I do to offset sitting 8 hours a day?”
I’ve got some great exercises you can do right at your desk that will have you feeling better and staying more flexible, so no excuses! Also, take a look at some other products that I offer to get you on the road to fitness and health http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/products.html
Now, here’s my 3-part daily plan for you:
1. Stand up!!
At least every hour, you should at least just stand up. Reach your arms in the air, and get on your tippy toes, trying to elongate yourself as much as possible. Then, come back down on flat feet and reach your right arm up as high as possible and slowly bend over to your left side. Come back up straight, then reach your left arm up as high as possible and slowly bend to the right side. Shake everything out, and slowly bend forward, letting your arms dangle down. Don’t worry about keeping your knees straight or being able to touch the floor, that will come with time. Just use this time to get the blood flowing. Be sure you’re letting your neck relax and hang loose. Shake your head “yes” and “no” and let it release. Slowly, come back up to standing.
Do this at least every hour. It does not take a lot of time, and you will soon feel much better.
2. Relax your neck
Those of you working at a desk all day, probably on the computer most of the time, probably hold a lot of tension in your neck. It’s really important to try to ease that tightness. First, while working, try hard to keep your shoulders down and your back straight (good posture means a lot for easing tensions and also for good digestion!). Be sure your chair is at the right height so that you can comfortably have your feet flat on the floor and your arms parallel to your keyboard.
Here’s an exercise specifically for your neck: either standing or sitting, drape your right arm over your head and touch your left ear. Slowly lean your head towards your right shoulder. Be sure your left arm is held straight down (after a while, you might want to flex your left hand, so that your palm is parallel with the floor for an added stretch). Hold and slowly count to 10. Now, do the other side. Slowly and gently, roll your head clockwise one or two times; then, roll it the other direction.
Try to do this at least 2 or 3 times a day, especially after being at the computer for an extended period of time.
3. Stretch and flex your arms and hands
Another danger of sitting and typing too much is carpal tunnel syndrome, an ailment where you start to feel pain in your wrists and you experience numbness in different parts of your hands. Anyone who does repetitive motions for long periods of time needs to be very careful about this.
Here are some exercises you can do to ease the effects of too much typing or writing. First, hold your arms out parallel to the floor, with your palms facing the ground. Flex your hands up, as though you’re about to push against the wall in front of you. Hold while counting to 10 (for an added stretch, you might want to use one hand to push the other hand back towards you, and switch sides, but be very gentle and don’t yank or push too hard). Now, point your hands and fingers down towards the ground (again, you might want to very gently push the opposite hand toward you for more stretch). Now, hold your arms out to your sides and repeat the hand stretches up and down. Push outwards with your arms. Now, raise them up and interlock your fingers and face your palms to the ceiling. Push upwards, try to reach and push the ceiling. Bring your arms down and shake them out. Make fists with your hands, then stretch out your hands and fingers and wiggle them.
See, that didn’t take very long either.
Try to be more aware of sitting for too long periods of time. Get up and do these simple exercises. Or go for a walk down the hall and get a glass of water (you can never drink too much water!). Walk up and down the hallways for 10 minutes, then get back to work. You’ll feel better and ultimately be more productive in the work you do!