Baby It’s Cold Outside!

The Autumn Equinox has come and gone, the leaves on the trees are doing their brilliant redesign, and colder weather has arrived in the Berkshires. I have already started wearing my fleece lined jeans.

While I do love the colors and the brisk air in the fall, I do not like the idea of heading into winter. In my classes this week, that was a topic of conversation, and most of us are not looking forward to winter. Being the Pollyanna that I am, it made me think of things that we can do to help ourselves enjoy the colder weather more, and be less stressed by it. The result of that thinking is a new video I've added to my YouTube channel.

Tapping is something I not only recommend and teach, but use myself on a regular basis. So, I have created a tapping routine for enjoying the cold! I plan to use it this winter and hope you will, as well!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Sept is Yoga Month!

I've been trained in Integral Yoga, a traditional form of yoga which includes a meditative practice, breathing practices, deep relaxation, and service to others, along with the physical asanas (yoga poses). 

This, to me is Yoga. There isn't any aerobics, or use of weights, etc. Yoga is a lifestyle of healthy habits!

I specialize in helping people with back, hip, knee pain.

Below is a great yoga asana that opens the hips and makes walking easier! Try it - you'll like it.

And if you want more help with your chronic pain issues, contact me HERE for your very own personalized coaching plan!

Piriformis Syndrome Or Pain In The Butt…

If you suffer from Piriformis Syndrome, you know how painful those spasms can be!

Not to mention that the pain makes your lower back ache, can cause headaches, and most definitely causes your body to release more of those dreaded stress hormones!

Well, here's a simple technique that uses an Acupressure point to ease the pain. Now keep in mind that it will most likely hurt like the dickens when you begin, (what's a dickens anyway?) but trust me on this one - breathe through it and after about a minute, you'll feel the spasm release. That will bring that smile back to your face!

Keep smiling!

Best of Health,

Kathi

 

Shoulder Injuries on The Rise!

Countless people have come in to see me lately with shoulder problems.

Forearm plank for book better

Some have injured themselves doing push ups or plank, so we'll talk a bit about the correct way to do those - without injury!

Let's cover correct form. Most people know by now that you can't let your lower back sag down toward the floor without causing injury to your lower back. Keeping the body as straight as possible is the way to go. Unfortunately, there are many other incorrect ways to do a push up that are not so well known.

  • Do your push ups in front of a mirror, or have someone watch you, to make sure your shoulders are level. This is the most common problem that I see with my clients (mainly women). We usually have one arm that is stronger than the other and when we lower towards the floor, the shoulder of the stronger arm goes lower than the other, causing an imbalance. The action of pushing back up from this imbalance can cause injury. I recommend doing knee push ups, with your lower legs up off the floor, to begin with. This position uses the same muscles but it's a little easier to feel whether one arm is going lower than the other. Once you are stronger, and sure of your good form, you can go back to the military style.
  • Also, When doing a push up, make sure that your elbows do not flare out from the body. That is most likely how we learned to do them as kids, but it's really bad form as an adult when we are lifting over 100 lbs! This position puts a lot of stress on the rotator cuff, leading to injury. Keeping your elbows tucked closer into the body might make your push up a little more difficult, but it will most definitely help prevent rotator cuff injuries. One of the ways I teach people to remember to do that is through using a heavy hand barbell. Place the barbells on each side of the body so that when you grab the barbell your palms are facing each other. Complete all of your push ups with hands grabbing the barbells and this will make it easier to keep the elbows in while at the same time, saving your wrists from strain - A win-win solution. 
  • Another common bad habit is letting your body simply drop toward the floor. Don't use gravity, use your muscles in a controlled movement both down and up. Ignore all those TV shows where you see guys doing push-ups so fast, you can't even count them. For proper form, you need to go slow and concentrate on using all of your back, shoulder, abdominal and arm muscles. Keep those abs tight so that they can protect your lower back.

Pay attention to HOW you do your exercises and your body will be much happier!

Best of Health,

Kathi 

Outdoor Exercise

quad stretch at tree cropped

 

Summer is short - let's get out there and EXERCISE!

One thing that I never go without doing, is, stretching before and after a hike. When we walk, run, or hike, often, our leg muscles tighten up. There are a couple of simple stretches that can make all the difference between an enjoyable next day and a painful one. Sometimes, our tense leg muscles can even keep us awake at night. Here are a few recommended, excellent, stretches:

Best of Health,

Kathi

Are You Getting Enough Fiber?

kale salad

Here are some more simple and fun ways to detox your body:

  1. You may recognize this popular Maple Detox Cocktail, as it's been around for a number of years. The reason for that is - it works!
  • Pour a dash of cayenne pepper into a 10 ounce glass (experiment with your threshold for cayenne)
  • Add 4 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Fill the glass with warm water and stir thoroughly
  • Add ½ tsp. of organic maple syrup to sweeten the mixture

Drink on an empty stomach to help cleanse your colon. Cayenne pepper breaks down mucus in your colon, while lemon juice eliminates toxins

Speaking of fiber, here are some foods high in fiber that we should all be eating daily. Most of us do not get enough fiber in our diets.

  • Legumes - beans, lentils, peas. These are the highest in fiber, containing 10-16 grams per cup
  • Cooked artichokes have about 10 grams per cup
  • Raspberries, about 8 grams per cup
  • Barley, 6 grams per cup
  • Broccoli, brussel sprouts, and turnips have about 5 grams per cup
  • Medium pears and apples, 4-5 grams each

The daily recommendation of fiber intake for optimum health is 25-40 grams (less for women, more for men). Most of us don't get anywhere near that amount. Try to build up to this during the spring - trust me on this one, you need to build slowly! 🙂

Best of Health,

Kathi

Detoxing Is Good For You!

Today feels like spring so let's talk about detoxifying our bodies from the long cold winter; spring is the perfect time for a good internal cleaning. Here are some tools to detoxify your system from the winter so you can flourish into the summer! Now, I know the word, "detoxify," scares some people, but I'm not talking about any extreme detox regimens that will have us living on the toilet for the week... Here are some simple and fun ways to detox your body:

  1. Sweat it out! Get outside and do some running, jumping, dancing or anything you like to do that makes you sweat. Exercise makes us feel refreshed AND some experts agree that sweat can flush toxins out of the body quicker than most commercial detoxifying products.
  2. Fasting for a day or two and replacing foods with natural juices made from fresh fruits and vegetables is a good idea for spring. Giving your body a chance to rest this way, gives it time to recuperate and rejuvenate. When our organs don't have to be focused on digestion and breaking down our food, and more toxins, they have a chance to recharge, and that means that you are getting back to your natural energy and a more effective digestive system. Cool!
  3. Hydrate more! Yes, drinking more water is good for our bodies. The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse reports that drinking plenty of water helps prevent constipation and makes your dietary fiber work more effectively in the body. 

Once your body is operating at full speed again, you'll feel much more energized and want to take advantage of Mother Nature for more outdoor activities!

Best of Health

Kathi

Natural Remedy For Chronic Pain

In my home, arnica gel is the go-to pain remedy for bruises and sore muscles, and now, research has shown it can also help soothe arthritis aches and pain. Several studies, including one with 204 people who suffered from osteoarthritis in their hands or knees found that using arnica gel for 21 days worked better than ibuprofen or anything else they’d tried!. Arnica gel is a non steroidal anti inflammatory. 

I highly recommend picking some up for your medicine cabinet!

Best of Health,

Kathi

P.S.Here are some studies if you are interested.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18607237

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12539881

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12539881

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17318618

Hip Pain? Here’s Help

Hips are essential for walking, sitting, moving, but they can certainly also cause a lot of pain!

Have you ever seen those little old ladies walking, or more accurately, shuffling down the street with their tiny 6 inch steps? Think about it for a moment. The reason they take such tiny little steps is because they can no longer move their hips more than that!

If you don't want to have that problem, then start taking care of your hips today!

Here's an exercise that can help!

Best of Health,

Kathi

Are You Too Attached To Your Machines?

running-treadmillsEverywhere you look these days, you see people attached to their cell phones, tablets, etc., but have you thought about the machines you use at the gym? If you love spending all your gym time on the weight machines, you are not getting the most from your workout.

Weight machines usually focus on one muscle group at a time, and more importantly, they don't replicate the way we move in our daily lives, says Vonda Wright, MD, a Pittsburgh-based orthopedic surgeon who specializes in injury prevention and mobility. "Functional fitness" exercises, on the other hand, mimic the moves we do every day and strengthen the muscles we use regularly to help us avoid injury. After all, how many times a day do you lie down on your back and push a heavy object up with the soles of your feet, like you would on a leg-press machine like this one?

This is not an efficient way to build muscle. You'd have to use three different machines (leg press, back extension, overhead press) to work the same areas you would with one total-body dumbbell move like squat with an overhead press, and you still risk injury. What's more, these machines are usually designed to fit men's bodies, with their longer legs and extended reach, so women are at even greater risk!

If you are serious about improving your strength, try squatting, bending, and lunges You can even add a bit of cardio to your strength training by doing your walking lunges while carrying a small weight, or raising that small weight as you lower into your squat. At the very least, alternate your machine workouts with some strength training classes.

Best of Health,

Kathi

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