Archive for August, 2010

Stress in Middle Age Could Lead to Dementia

Recently, Medical News Today reported that stress in middle age could lead to late life dementia. In this study from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, almost 1,500 women were followed for 35 years and this is the first research in Sweden to indicate a link between stress and dementia. Stress has numerous definitions, but in this study, stress was defined as a sense of irritation, tension, nervousness, anxiety, fear, or sleeping problems lasting a month or more due to work, health, family or other problems.

Stress can be good or bad and the way you respond to a situation could also be a form of stress. We are constantly making choices and we can choose to stress ourselves or we can choose not to. For example, you can choose to get angry over something like catching all the red lights on the way to work when you’re already late or you can choose to ignore it or embrace and acknowledge it and move on. Many people like to blame others for their stresses, but only you can make that choice to be angry. I don’t know about you, but I know it’s not worth being angry. Life’s too short.

One of the things we know about dementia is that keeping your immune system strong is extremely important. Current Alzheimer’s disease research is targeting the immune system. What happens when you’re stressed?

  • Blood pressure rises
  • Breathing becomes more rapid
  • Digestive system slows down
  • Heart rate (pulse) rises
  • Immune system goes down
  • Muscles become tense

Over time, diseases may develop — diabetes, depression, obesity, tooth & gum disease, cancer, ulcers, etc. It’s been estimated that 90% of visits to doctors are stress-related! There are many Web sites devoted to stress and stress management. Click here or here for some ideas.

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As you can tell from previous posts, I love new experiences. Not heart-stopping ones like riding a roller coaster or sky-jumping (not on my bucket list to do either of those), but those that allow me to remain grounded or at least close to the ground. Since becoming a Cellular Response energy healing practitioner, I am now very interested in other energy healing modalities. My previous posts have talked about Quantum-Touch, Reiki, Hypnotherapy, Polarity Therapy and now my latest experience, CranioSacral Therapy (CST).

I was the fortunate recipient of a gift card to Massage Envy. I checked out their Web site and noticed that they offered CST. I was very excited because it is something that I wanted to experience. I had heard from CranioSacral therapists that CST was similar to Cellular Response. However, the one I experienced at Massage Envy was not anything like Cellular Response which is light-touch healing. What I experienced was definitely much like a massage.

According to Kelly Price in an article, craniosacral massage is a gentle, hands-on method of evaluating and enhancing the function of the craniosacral system and this type of massage involves a very light touch. The goal is for the body to heal itself, similar to Cellular Response. Other similarities included breathing and holding two points, but overall, it was just a massage. Perhaps I will get to experience it again from someone who specializes in it.

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Line Dancing for Seniors in Fairfax County

Susie Thomas

Last week I talked about the fun I’m having in senior aerobics. How about doubling the fun? It’s line dancing for seniors. I’ve always wanted to take line dancing lessons, but now that I’m retired and have the freedom to travel, dance lessons would be difficult because each week would build on the previous week and I would be totally lost were I to miss a week or two. Enter line dancing for seniors in Fairfax County, Virginia — a huge class with an enrollment of over 100. However, each week perhaps two-thirds of the enrolled show up, according to an enthusiast in my aerobics class.

A light goes off in my head … even if I were to miss some classes, I could hide in the back and still try to follow someone and have fun. The tuition: a whopping $5 for for eight sessions!

The Washington Post recently had a small article that said …

Who’s getting a better workout in a step class: the gym junkie who knows the moves and fluidly mirrors the instructor, or the klutz who’s frantically jumping all over the place in a desperate attempt to keep up? If you said the klutz, you are right.

Quite an apt description of me because I definitely feel like a klutz amongst the mostly experienced students, but who cares. It is so much fun and I know my brain is getting a workout as well! The enthusiasm and smiles you see in the group are contagious. If you’ve never tried it, I highly recommend that you check to see if it’s available in your community or recreation center.

The program I’m enrolled in is part of the Fairfax County Senior Center Without Walls. It is a public-private partnership amongst the residents, local businesses, places of worship, and the County Government. It is an innovative program initiated by determined volunteers and the classes are held mostly in churches in the community. In addition to line dancing, yoga, tai chi, running-walking club, and karate are also offered.

I will miss it very much in the fall when my yoga class resumes. So line dancing will be a wonderful summer activity I can look forward to.

My classmates

Check out this video from a former class and see if you agree that it looks like a lot of fun and excellent exercise as well. Enjoy!

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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 ( 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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