Sharon's Pontifications
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Fall 2013 Newsletter Volume 3 Issue 3
In This Issue
Life Energy Blog: Why You Should Use a Nutritionist
Pain: Is It Sending You a Message? You Should Listen!
Memory: What Was I Going to Write?
Realistic Resolutions: Fall Check-In
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Where has the year gone? Almost a year ago, I opened my studio, and what an exciting, challenging, and fun experience it's been! It's been fun to bring some of my ideas to reality, fun to play around on the Kinesis and other really cool fitness equipment, but most of all, fun to support you in meeting your health and wellness goals!

I'm deeply honored that you have stuck with me on this journey. You've read my newsletters and blogs, attended my workshops and Healthy Happy Hours, and/or entrusted me to guide you in meeting your personal goals. This
is why I do what I do--help you connect with and care enough about your health to be better.

Be on the lookout for my email blast announcing a celebration of the 1 year anniversary of the studio!  

You will not want to miss it!

In Health and Happiness,

Life Energy Blog: Why You Should Use a Nutritionist

 Many people think nutritionists are a waste of time. Having experienced some, I might agree. But ask yourself: "Do I feel good?" And what does it mean to "feel good?" A
reputable nutritionist can help you find out. Read More 



Pain: Is It Sending You a Message? You Should Listen!
Most of us grew up in the "no pain, no gain era," which seems to have resurfaced with a vengeance. We push through pain to get results, because we believe the end always justify the means. We put a Band-Aid on our pain and just keep on going. (Energizer Bunny anyone?) So our bodies are like the "beautiful" egg on the left. Would you agree? 
Could our lives be different if we learn to pay attention to and respect pain? Learn how to distinguish between good pain (yes, there's good pain, believe it or not) and bad pain, which we need to do something about.
Pain signals the brain that something is not right. Our bodies have nociceptors, a fancy word for nerve endings that detect damaged tissue or a threat of tissue damage (interesting). Nociceptors also respond to chemicals in the body, such as globulin, protein kinases, ATP, histamine (we should all know this one), and serotonin (5-HT)--any one of which can cause nociceptors to become excited. When that happens, you guessed it, we are in pain. Nociceptors fall into categories depending on which type of noxious stimuli (isn't that aptly named) they respond to. For our purposes, we are going to focus on the noxious stimuli of movement, and computer terminal stimuli (which is basically holding still in a really, really bad position for prolonged periods of time).

We are bombarded by media with high intensity exercise programs that are designed to help us lose weight faster, increase our cardio capacity, and make up for our lack of movement during the rest of the day. As we participate in these programs, we start to feel aches and pains (those nociceptors at work), but they go away within a day, or after two to three sets of an exercise. We tell ourselves it's all good; we're getting fitter and healthier. But as days, weeks, and months go by, our joints feel stiff or achy in the mornings, or we have a nagging neck or lower back pain.
This is the time to pay attention. Our bodies are not happy with what we are doing. Any pain that continues, or gets worse needs to be looked at by a medical professional (not me, I come after that). The problem with nociceptors is like everything else in the body; with practice, they get better at reacting. So when we continue with the noxious stimuli of 100 situps every morning (for example) even though our back hurts, or lunges with 200 pounds loaded on our shoulders
(I actually know a competitive cyclist over age 50 that does this), we're actually making our bodies adapt to pain.  

Now, let's look at how the stimuli of nonmovement affects us, which are the computer terminal stimuli I mentioned a little earlier. Many of us spend hours slouched over a computer or some other small device while working on a project or connecting with our 500+ friends on Facebook. Just because we're not moving doesn't mean our muscles aren't working, or our spinal disc isn't getting compressed. In this case, the inability to move tightens our muscles and puts stress on our joints, which in turn stimulates the nociceptors.
When we're sitting, some muscles shorten; others stretch, and they get accustomed to being in those positions. We put more pressure on our vertebral discs while sitting than we do standing.
So when we stand up, walk, run, or go paddle boarding while on vacation, wham! There's pain!
Is there good pain then? Maybe it's all good. It's an alarm that tells us "Stop, this is not going to end well." This is good! We need to learn to listen to it.

Memory: What Was I Going to Write?


As we age, we know that our memory is not what it used to be. At least mine isn't. The good news is that new research shows we can improve our memory. Even an aging brain can form new neural networks. AWESOME! There' hope for us all! This process is called neuroplasticity (sounds like a new Silly Putty), and there are ways to support our brain in this process. Here's how:


Play brain games. Games like FreeCell, Sudoku, and crossword puzzles, tend to help with recall. Online sites like Lumosity are specifically designed and tailored to individuals who want to improve their neuroplasticity.


Eat the right foods. Antioxidant rich foods protect our brain from harmful free radicals. A recent study in Neurology found that people who had low levels of omega-3s appeared to be 2 years older in MRI scans. A diet rich in legumes, nuts, fish, fruits, and veggies, does a brain good.  


Quit multitasking! Studies show it takes 8 seconds to fully commit a piece of information to memory. Pay attention to even the small things like where you put your keys, or the name of the person you met a moment ago. In other words, be fully present in the moment.


Master a new skill. Any skill that requires daily practice has been shown to improve neuroplasticity. It's never too late to take up something new like piano lessons or another language. (Knitting anyone? 


AND MY TWO FAVORITES: Get more sleep and exercise: Research has shown that losing 3 hours of sleep a night can erode memory. During 8 or more hours of sleep, the brain switches temporary memories to longer term storage. Most of us do not get even 7 hours. A study done at the University of California at Irvine showed that even with just 6 minutes of biking, a huge improvement in memory occurs. Exercise increases our brain size: the bigger the brain the better. Apparently, nothing beats exercise!

Realistic Resolutions: Fall Check-In

Check yes noWell, it's way past the half and three-quarter year milestones. I should be well on my way to meeting my goals. HAH! I'm not going to be too hard on myself; it's not all doom and gloom!
See for yourself:  


1. Hire a new massage therapist - Done! In fact,
I have two!

2. Hire a another trainer - Done! 

3. Complete the workout database - It's in the works, but I'm a little behind. By next year, it should be fully functional.

4. Complete new programs- Two are on schedule to roll out in January!

5. Get Ageless Grace up and running - This is not going to happen; there's not enough interest.
I'll reconsider if there's enough interest later.

6. Begin Healthy Happy Hour - Done! In fact, I'm gearing up for number three!


I'm now going to give myself a pat on the back. I'm doing better than I thought! This check-in list thing actually works! Where are you with yours? 

In Health and Fitness,
Sharon Bourke
Grand Poobah
Life Energy Fitness LLC