Walking Archives

How to Energize Yourself in Two Simple Steps

In my last post, I wrote about the grueling hike in the Cascades Recreation Area of the Jefferson National Forest. I definitely needed a lot of energy and tenacity. Senior hikers were in the extremely small minority. Being close to a college town, most of the hikers looked to be college students. In the video below, I want to share what I did to energize myself in two simple steps.

How to Energize Yourself in Two Simple Steps


 

Virginia Tech and Cascades Recreation Area

It was time for an out-of-town adventure and time to check off Virginia Tech from my bucket list. But a 4+ hour overnight trip would not be filled with just a visit to a university campus. In researching things to do in Blacksburg, Va, the Cascades Recreation Area in the Jefferson National Forest seemed like a worthwhile and fun place to visit. What seemed enticing was not only the hike, but the reward of seeing a magnificent 69 foot waterfall. (Seniors, you can get in free with your National Park Pass).

To get to the falls required a round trip four-mile hike which I thought would be a piece of cake considering I had done an 8.15 mile walk in the Great Aloha Run. Studying the map at the beginning of the hike, it appeared that the lower trail would be more scenic and “easier” because the upper trail was described as being more challenging because of the hill. Hence, we chose the lower trail and began our hike along the lovely Little Stoney Creek.

“Easier” is a relative term — easier if you’re younger and “grueling” in my book with having to step over all shapes and heights of rocks, twisted roots, numerous steps, and narrow pathways. Knowing what was at the end of the trail, I could not give up. Truthfully, I could not have done it without my husband. Well, maybe I could’ve, but it would’ve taken all day and there were dark clouds above and a thunderstorm looming. As we passed people coming down, they kept saying we were almost there and it was worth it.

There comes a point where the lower trail and upper trail meet and it becomes just one path to the falls. I asked a group if they had taken the upper trail (the one we had not chosen) and they said yes and a gentleman explained that it was a road that the park uses for maintenance. Therefore, it was wide and smooth. What a relief that we had an easier way back, but it was raining so the mud road was a little slippery. But, we could still walk much faster and get back to our car.

It took about 1.5 hours to get to the top and it was definitely worthwhile. I was drenched in perspiration on a cool day, but what an awesome view and an exhilarating feeling of accomplishment. I had an apple for nourishment which my body really needed. Unfortunately, it started to rain so we did not have much time to enjoy the view and had to start our descent on some slippery rocks and steps. However, once we got to the maintenance road, it felt as though we were home free.

It was a wonderful trip in every way — one of the best front desk people I’ve ever encountered (Ritz Carlton quality at a Hampton Inn), excellent service and food at Sal’s Italian Restaurant, and on the way home we stopped at the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum in Staunton, Va where we had an excellent tour guide. That was the icing on the cake. Oh, and yes, the visit to Virginia Tech and their hokie stone buildings was also awesome. Now I know why they’re called Hokies.

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Don’t you love it when you have a book in your hands that’s so exciting that it’s hard to put down? As previously written, I’m a Cellular Response energy healer so my clients are interested in healing their bodies naturally. In my constant quest for all-natural healing, one of my clients introduced me to Earthing which was published last year and written by Clinton Ober, Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., and Martin Zucker. Last month it was selected as the “Book of the Month” by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

The authors define Earthing as follows:

If possible, read this book sitting with your bare feet directly on the Earth — grass, gravel, dirt, sand, or concrete.

You will simultaneously experience what you are reading about — how contact with the Earth restores your body’s natural electrical state.

The positive shift you feel is the start of a process in which your body slowly becomes infused with the Earth’s omnipresent and ever-present healing energy.

This is Earthing, a remarkably simple, safe, and natural act of reducing pain and stress.

For those that need hard core scientific evidence, Earthing might not be acceptable to you. But for those that accept mostly anecdotal evidence and testimonies, this book is full of amazing results. There are also scientific studies included and many more are planned.

It’s a very simple concept and you can read a sample of the book at earthing.com.

All that I’m learning about electromedicine and healing energies is so exciting. This is the future of medicine. The planet Earth is giving us the greatest gift of all for our health. Let us gratefully accept it. With all of the chronic diseases of seniors  straining our medical system, it’s time to be pro-active and look for alternatives. You are responsible for your own health. Earthing can change the way medicine is practiced. Earthing changes the actual physiology of the grounded person in a healthier way.

So run to your favorite bookstore and buy the book or you can simply click on the Earthing: The Most Important Health Discovery Ever? link under Health Resources and Products to the right. To your health!

Whole Grains and Blood Pressure

Wheat

For many seniors, as we age, our blood pressure seems to creep up as well. Here’s one solution to lower blood pressure naturally. Refrain from reaching for any white grain such as white rice or white bread. Instead, replace it with brown rice and whole grain bread. In a study of overweight adults in their 50’s, those that replaced refined grains (rice, cereal, bread) with whole grains lost weight as well as a drop in their systolic blood pressure (top number) of five to six points.

High blood pressure can raise your risk for a heart attack, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and blindness among the many problems. Other diseases such as diabetes can raise your risk even further.

The study suggested that lowering blood pressure by eating three servings of whole-grain foods daily could reduce the risk of coronary artery disease by at least 15 percent and stroke by 25 percent or more.  Generally, refined or processed foods have more sodium which is known to contribute to high blood pressure. However, the study did not define exactly how whole grains might contribute to the lowering of blood pressure.

Check this Web site of the Harvard School of Public Health for more information on the benefits of whole grains.

With all of the known side effects of blood pressure medication which even includes heart failure, taking prescription medication should be your last option.  Pre-hypertension or even hypertension can often be controlled with diet and exercise.

February is American Heart Month. On the Web site of the American Heart Association, you will see some staggering figures: 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, it is the number one cause of death of women 20 and older, more women die of heart disease than the next four causes of death combined, including cancer. It is the number one killer in America, also known as the “silent killer.”Enhanced by Zemanta

Get Fit in Just a Few Minutes

A few months ago,  bottomlinesecrets.com ran an article on how to “Get Fit in Just a Few Minutes” by fitness expert Joan Price, author of six books including, The Anytime, Anywhere Exercise Book. Price is a fitness speaker, writer, and instructor whose specialty is helping beginning exercisers start and stick to an exercise program. It’s all about moving just as my new Gracefully Age Program (GAP) is designed to get you to do. Her passion is line dancing and she calls it the most fun you can have without a partner. I love it, too, as described in this post. So I share some of her suggestions to get fit in just a few minutes.

Joan Price says: Lack of time is a primary reason people give for failing to get the recommended 30 to 60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise most days of the week. Admittedly, it can be tough to find such a big chunk of time in your busy schedule.

Here are a few of her suggestions that I like when you’re out and about:

At the gas station — instead of sitting in your car as the gas flows, clean all your windows, alternating the hand that holds

When parking — instead of finding a spot close to your destination, get one a few blocks away.

Upon entering a store — if all the items you need will fit in a shopping basket, choose a basket instead of a cart.

As you shop — if you need a cart, do 10 bicep curls with weightier items — soup cans, juice jugs — before placing them in your cart. (If you feel silly doing this in public, do your bicep curls at home as you put the items in the pantry.)

While waiting in line — work your abdominal muscles. Suck in your belly and tighten your abs… hold for 10 seconds… relax. Repeat five to 10 times. And if that’s not enough, I would add, stand on one leg for a few seconds, then the other to hone your balance skills.

At the end of the day, close your eyes, breathe in and out deeply 10 times, feeling grateful for all that your body was capable of doing during the day. If you had worn a pedometer (which I always do) all day, you would also have an idea of how many steps you walked. Experts recommend 10K steps a day. Here’s a simple pedometer I love.

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Brain Rules: Part I

Brain Rules by John J. Medina, PhD, is an intriguing and interesting book published in 2008. Dr. Medina is a developmental molecular biologist and research consultant. He is the director of the Brain Center for Applied Learning Research at Seattle Pacific University. He also teaches at the University of Washington School of Medicine, in it Department of Bioengineering. In Brain Rules he talks about 12 principles of surviving and thriving at work, home, and school.

  1. Exercise: Exercise boots brain power.
  2. Survival: The human brain evolved, too.
  3. Wiring: Every brain is wired differently.
  4. Attention: We don’t pay attention to boring things.
  5. Short-term Memory: Repeat to remember.
  6. Long-term memory: Remember to repeat.
  7. Sleep: Sleep well, think well.
  8. Stress: Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
  9. Sensory Integration: Stimulate more of the senses.
  10. Vision: Vision trumps all other senses.
  11. Gender: Male and female brains are different.
  12. Exploration: We are powerful and natural explorers.

Chapter 1 immediately caught my attention with exercise boosts brain power. So all of my writing about “moving” and all of the hours I spend in various forms of exercise should pay off. He answers the question: Is there one factor that predicts how well you will age? Before answering the question, he profiles two people he met on television — Jim and Frank.

Jim is in a nursing home — picture him in a nursing home, in a wheelchair, his eyes vacant, lonely, friendless staring into space. Most people would not want to spend their last years of life in this way. On another channel, the author meets Frank … Frank Lloyd Wright, that is. He was amazed at his use of language and the clarity of his mind. Wright completed the designs for the Guggenheim Museum (his last work) when he was 90 years old in 1957.

Jim or Frank — which lifestyle are you headed for? Medina says:

Put simply, if  you are a couch potato, you are more likely to age like Jim, if you make it to your 80s at all. If you have an active lifestyle, you are more likely to age like Frank Lloyd Wright and much more likely to make it to your 90s.The chief reason for the difference seemed to be that exercise imporved cardiovascular fitness, which in turn reduced the risk for diseases such as heart attacks and stroke.

He goes on to say that a lifetime of exercises can also do amazing things for cognitive performance in areas like long-term memory, reasoning, and problem-solving, but the area that’s not improved by exercise is short-term memory and certain types of reaction times. Also, over-exertion and exhaustion can also hurt cognition. So, folks, we continue with our “senior moments.”

Medina says, “Your lifetime risk for general dementia is literally cut in half if you participate in leisure-time physical activity. Aerobic exercise seems to be the key. With Alzheimer’s, the effect is even greater: Such exercise lowers your odds of getting the disease by more than 60 percent.” Now this is amazing — “… a 20-minute walk each day, and you can cut your risk of having a stroke — one of the leading causes of mental disability in the elderly — by 57 percent.”

Exercise opens up your blood vessels so it can feed your brain. In addition as the blood flows more freely, the body makes new blood vessels, which penetrate deeper into the tissues of the body.

He concludes the chapter by saying, “Our brains were built for walking — 12 miles a day! To improve your thinking skills, move.”

In order to have enough energy to exercise, we must get enough sleep. In Brain Rules: Part II, I talk about sleep.

Senior Aerobics

Stretching in Senior Aerobics

In my last post, I told you about my very close friend, my pedometer. Getting the recommended 10K steps is now easier — at least 3 times each week — because I found a new love: a light aerobics class for seniors. I have never taken aerobics, so I did not know how invigorating and uplifting it is. I stumbled upon this class as I was looking for a substitute for my Friday morning yoga class which is on summer vacation.

Aerobics is not exactly a substitute for yoga, but we do stretches and balance exercises that we do in yoga. This particular class has been going on for well over 10 years and is run by volunteers. One session was even led by an  89-year old gentleman. The most difficult part of this class is ringing the alarm clock to be present for an 8:30 a.m. class! But you’ll definitely be awake by the end of class and the music will have you humming for the rest of the day.

So, if you’ve never tried aerobics, I encourage you to do so. It will work your brain and your body — what a great anti-aging formula. For those in the Washington, DC Metro area, the class meets in West Springfield, VA and you can send me an e-mail (info@noranagatani.com) if you are interested. There is no charge, but we make a $1 donation to the church for the use of their facility. What a deal!

And now, I’m going to use this class as a warm-up before my yoga class when it resumes in September. What an unexpected bonus in my life!

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I have a very close friend. I wear it very close to my body. It’s my pedometer — a Yamax SW-200 Digiwalker Pedometer. It’s very small and it has only one function — to count steps. Nothing else. There’s only one button to push to reset which I press every day. Extremely simple.

I had read the excellent reviews a few years ago and I loved the first one that I had. Unfortunately, the battery died and when I priced the battery, it was almost as expensive as buying a new one. I’d forgotten where I had bought it from, so I did some comparison shopping on the Internet and bought one. However, I found that it was not to my satisfaction — it seemed “looser” and counted more steps than I had actually walked.

So I went on another hunt and found one at Amazon that was more like the first one that I had — closer in accuracy in counting steps. I will keep the first one in case I find a reasonably priced battery for it.

This particular model is not for you if you’re into counting calories or other things like speed and distance. But I only care about steps. My goal is 50K each week. Experts tell us that we should walk 10K steps each day, but for me that’s somewhat unrealistic and I don’t want to feel bad about not accomplishing my goal. So for the most part, walking 50K each week is an attainable goal.

To order the same model I use, click here. Happy walking!

Dr. Oz and AARP Magazine 6-Month Plan

A couple of months ago, I told you in a post about how much I enjoy watching Dr. Oz. Now, according to Reuters, Dr. Oz has turned 50 and has teamed with AARP Magazine to create a six-month plan for increasing longevity among the 50-plus population.

According to Champagne Living, Dr. Oz’s program includes the following:

Daily Checklist

  1. Walk 30 Minutes
  2. Brush and Floss
  3. Drink Two Cups of Green Tea
  4. Take Omega 3s, Calcium and Vitamin D (links take you to what I recommend — read more about calcium here and Omega 3 fatty acids here)
  5. Sleep 7-8 Hours a Night
  6. Meditate

Dr. Mehmet Oz’s 6-month plan:

  • Month 1: Your Diet Makeover — Provides a three-day diet designed to jump-start your body to lose weight
  • Month 2: Tests & Numbers — Lists important medical tests and tests that readers can do at home to ensure that their health stays on track
  • Month 3: Ramp Up Your Exercise — Maps out a four-week exercise plan focused on weight-lifting, flexibility, and balance
  • Month 4: Manage Your Stress — Encourages readers to engage in daily activities such as deep breathing and meditation to reduce chronic stress
  • Month 5: Find Purpose — Challenges readers to define clearly what they want out of life to add to their overall sense of wellness
  • Month 6: Put it Together — Calls for readers to retake the tests from Month 2 to see how their numbers have improved considerably since embarking on the six-month plan

According to the editor of the AARP Magazine, if you follow these guidelines, at the end of the six month period, your blood pressure, healthy cholesterol, and blood sugar, will improve. I suggested in my very first post about getting started with a baby step such as walking. Topping Dr. Oz’s list is a 30-minute daily walk. If you haven’t started, let’s get moving! Remember, many of our diseases are lifestyle choices.

One of the member benefits is the AARP Magazine so if you are not a member of AARP, click here to join. Click here to find out other member benefits. Cheers to your wellness!

Fitness Required

six-flagsLast month I was in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas and spent a wonderful day at Six Flags over Texas. I enjoy the shows at theme parks so I was hoping to attend some. Also, it has been several years since I’ve been to a theme park, so I thought it would be fun and good walking exercise. Unfortunately, they were only open for the week of spring break in Texas and there were just a couple of outdoor live shows.

In walking the park, I made several observations about the senior population.

1. You need to be in good shape, specifically you need to be able to walk, sometimes up small hills.

2. You need to be able to afford it. Admission is costly although I found admission at the children’s rate on the Internet. Food is over-priced. A bottle of water is $3.50.

3. Many members of the senior population and their families are overweight, including children. That makes mobility difficult for them.

4. Considering the cost and the expansiveness of the park, you’d want to spend the day there, not just a couple of hours. Stamina is critical.

5. You can save on the cost of parking by staying at a hotel in the Arlington Entertainment District and taking the Hotel Guest Trolley. However, that too, requires walking a distance from the trolley stop to the entrance.

Summer is just around the corner … are you a senior who is ready to enjoy the outdoors? By now I know you’re no longer a couch potato and at the very least, you’re walking. Are you trying to lose weight? Have you heard of a weight loss system that includes eating delicious cookies? Check it out here.