THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU CAN DO FOR YOURSELF

There is nothing more important to our lives than caring for our health. With each passing year we lose strength, muscle mass, brain neurons, and the ability to acquire knowledge. Medications do not always work to retain muscle mass and brain health. There is one treatment that is far more effective than meds and that is exercise. Resistance training (weights) is the most effective way to retain our strength and muscle mass no matter our age. Research has shown and I have personally witnessed people as old as 92 become stronger and retain the ability to function in a strong way. I regularly witness people in their 50’s. 60’s, and 70’s increase strength levels by triple digit percentages. There is nothing more important to our lives than keeping our strength.
We also lose our brain neurons and cognition as we age and again medications are not always effective. Brain research shows that we do not have to accept the fate of brain decline and there is a way to create neurogenesis, or the building of new neurons. Yes, you can re-build neurons and prevent brain decline! The treatment found to be most effective in rebuilding lost neurons and IMPROVING brain function is aerobic exercise. As little as three hours a week of brisk walking has been shown to halt, and even reverse, the brain atrophy (shrinkage) that starts in a person’s forties, especially in the regions responsible for memory and higher cognition. Exercise increases the brain’s volume of gray matter (actual neurons) and white matter (connections between neurons). Our overall quality of life and happiness is determined by our ability to retain brain function and neurons.
Many people are looking for the magic pill that will help them live healthy, happy, and strong for decades. The magic pill is exercise and the wonderful thing about it is that you do not have to do crazy workout routines or be sore for days to see the positive results. Less than 30 minutes a day can yield benefits that could last a lifetime. You do have to do both strength and aerobic exercise to see the results and the sooner you begin, the sooner the positive results begin. If you need help or safe instruction email is at miraclesfitness@gmail.com There is nothing more important. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

Statistics on Premature Death Due To Lifestyle Choices

“Each year, nearly 900,000 Americans die prematurely from the five leading                           causes of  death – yet 20 percent to 40 percent of the deaths from each cause                         could be prevented, according to a study from the Centers for Disease Control                     and Prevention.

 The five leading causes of death in the United States are heart disease, cancer,                     chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries. Together                   they accounted for 63 percent of all U.S. deaths in 2010, with rates for each cause               varying greatly from state to state. The report, in this week’s issue of CDC’s                           weekly journal, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, analyzed premature                       deaths (before age 80) from each cause for each state from 2008 to 2010. The                       authors then calculated the number of deaths from each cause that would have                   been prevented if all states had same death rate as the states with the lowest                       rates.

             The study suggests that, if all states had the lowest death rate observed for each                   cause, it would be possible to prevent:

  • 34 percent of premature deaths from heart diseases, prolonging about 92,000 lives
  • 21 percent of premature cancer deaths, prolonging about 84,500 lives
  • 39 percent of premature deaths from chronic lower respiratory diseases, prolonging about 29,000 lives
  • 33 percent of premature stroke deaths, prolonging about 17,000 lives
  • 39 percent of premature deaths from unintentional injuries, prolonging about 37,000 lives”(Source CDC.gov)

Please know the impact you are having on yourself and those who care about you. Our health and lifestyle decisions will impact everything; finances, loved ones, happiness-everything. If you struggle to do so, please get help as soon as possible. Your change can begin as soon as today. You can BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com

THE OTHER BENEFITS OF EXERCISE

Most people know common exercise benefits such as improved strength, endurance, and weight management. Researchers now are discovering that exercise has far more benefits than just the traditional beliefs. In fact, I read somewhere that if exercise were a pill, it would eliminate many medications people use and would be worth more than any pill on the market. There is nothing more important that we could be doing for ourselves than staying strong through exercise. Here are some little known benefits of exercise.

    1. Exercise benefits the gastrointestinal system.  Exercise can relieve constipation and promote healthy digestion when you are at rest. In fact, exercise over time will even strengthen the digestive tract.
    2. Exercise helps slow brain decline. People who reported doing more physical activity showed higher scores on cognitive tests—consistent with previous studies linking more exercise to better brain health. But when the researchers adjusted for the effect that factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease can have on brain function, the link disappeared. Conditions like these could impair blood flow to the brain and therefore compromise cognitive functions, says Dr. Clinton Wright, associate professor of neurology and public health sciences at University of Miami and senior author of the study. “That suggests that people with low physical activity levels also had a greater burden of those risk factors,” he says. (Time)
    3. Exercise can decrease pain.  Exercise can help lessen chronic pain in several ways. Research is showing neuropathic pain is reduced with exercise because it helps to lower inflammation in the body. Exercise has also shown to reduce joint pain, lower back pain, and other pain associated with aging. But you must be careful and seek professional advice before beginning.
    4. Exercise can help finances. We know that exercise can reduce our chances of getting many forms of cancer, colds, heart problems, immune system issues, bone degeneration, brain decline, and depression. Disease and poor health can cost us a lot of money out of pocket in both lost income and dollars spent on co-pays and doctor bills. Our goal (I hope) is to reduce the amount of time we are in life’s disease span and increase the time we spend in a healthy life span. Exercise is the key to this.

Exercise has ENDLESS benefits and the importance of staying strong in every way possible cannot be overstated. If you are a beginner to exercise, find someone who can help you learn how to do strength, flexibility, and aerobic training. It could be the most important decision you ever make. Begin as soon as possible. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

www.miracleofphoenixfitness.com

HEALTHY RESPONSES TO UNHEALTHY LIFE EVENTS

There are lots of reasons to care for your health as you age. Whether you are 19 or 60, what you do the next 10-20 years of your life with the health choices that you make will matter more than what you did the last 10. And I am not just speaking about your physical health. How you care for your emotional, mental, and spiritual health will also matter. There is more and more research listing the importance of self-care in today’s world of stress and unhealthy temptation around every corner. The pressures of career, family, and education can be overwhelming at times. I work with many clients that have high pressure 60 hour a week jobs, others who are working on their PhD’s., and many others who combine work, school, and family commitments into a weekly calendar. We all know of the consequence of stress on the body. High blood pressure, heart issues, and other unhealthy outcomes are the result of stress not handled in a healthy manner. Depression also causes us physical problems if not addressed in a healthy way. The outcome is similar to stress on the body and will eventually lead to coronary artery disease, stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Stress, depression, and anxiety can even increase some people’s chances of developing dementia and other mental disorders prematurely. Thankfully there are healthy options to help those who are suffering from too much stress, depression, and anxiety.

Not Being Judgmental

With my background in mental health, I fully understand that people have different issues in life. I watch people with “great jobs” that are under a tremendous amount of stress who know the importance of self-care. I work with people who have experienced tremendous trauma or loss in life that are happy in all areas of life. Really? Yes really. I have also studied extensively self-care practices and have found that people who respond in the healthiest ways are similar in many of their daily practices. I have compiled a short list of what I have discovered.

  1. They all exercise. You do not have to work out with the latest insanity program to practice self-care with exercise. Moderate strength training, walking, hiking, yoga, bicycling, swimming or any other form of healthy exercise can have benefits for the brain, the body, and the physical impacts of stress, anxiety, and depression on the body. Try to get 20-50 minutes of exercise daily and see it as beneficial and you will have a healthier physical response and quality of life as you get older.
  2. They all do things unrelated to food, drink, or television that bring pleasure. Reading, playing with pets, gardening, helping others, creating something and spending quality time with friends and loved ones will lead to better health in response to life’s stress. Be proactive about doing things that bring you pleasure and you will be healthier in the long run of life.
  3. They all continue to move forward. Ruminating on past negative life events will serve only negative health consequences. I am not trying to downplay past traumas. There is research where as many as 85% of us have suffered from some sort of trauma. That is almost all of us. Whether you need professional help or are able to accept those portions of your life that have been difficult to go through, it is healthier to move past the things that have happened to you and “give energy” to the present and how you can be successful with good health and happiness for the future.
  4. They all are resilient. Everyone that I have witnessed respond to life in healthy ways all understand that things happen in life that we would not like to happen. People who are the best with self-care continue to “get back on” no matter how many times they have fallen off. And you can too.

If you continue to struggle in areas of your life that you wish to change for the sake of happiness and health then I beg you to do so beginning today. What you do today can affect you in a positive or negative manner when it comes to your health. Your health impacts those who love you and how happy you will be as you age. Treat yourself with care and your physical health will respond with the quality of life you deserve. And you do deserve to BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

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HEALTH SPAN AND DISEASE SPAN IN LIFE: THE IMPORTANCE OF STAYING STRONG

The importance of staying strong cannot be overstated as we age. If we are inactive, we could lose as much as 3-5% of our muscle mass with each year we get older.  A body that is weak will experience more pain, disability, brain decline, and unhappiness. The majority of us will experience a health span in life and a disease span. Our health span is when we are healthy, high functioning, strong, independent, and have minimal physical and mental disorders. Our disease span is when we have illness that affects our everyday life, disabilities, physical limitations, and cannot function like we used to. The health span can last for decades and we can live high functioning, healthy, and happy for many years. The disease span can do the same. What matters is how we treat ourselves. And when I say treat I do not mean sweet snacks that we deserve because we worked hard today. Treat yourself well means just that. Good exercise (strength training and aerobic), managing food and drink with boundaries, and minimizing stress are key components to treating yourself well. And when stress occurs, handle it with your health in mind. If we struggle in any of these areas, our health is at risk and the disease span is sooner. One of the biggest areas where I see people struggle is staying physically strong. While walking is important and should be done, keeping the rest of your muscles strong is just as significant. Research continues to show the benefits of strength training for people over 50. It helps prevent brain and body decline, improves liver, stomach, heart, kidney, and joint function. Weight training helps improve arthritic pain, spine and lower back strength, and mood. In a few words, doing what you need to stay strong will keep your health span long and disease span short. If you are over 50 and do not currently weight train, please start as soon as possible. If you do not know where or how to start, consult or hire someone that specializes in over 50 strength training. Keep your health span long and your life happy.

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Interesting Health Facts

Thank you http://crazyhealthfacts.com/interesting-fun-facts/fitness-and-nutrition/ for the cool info.

  • It is estimated that only 22% of American adults participate in regular, sustained physical activity for at least 30 minutes 5 times a week
  • On average, it takes about 12 weeks after beginning to exercise to see measurable changes in your body.
  • Approximately 25% of American adults are sedentary
  • There is a plant based supplement, rhodiola rosea, that can naturally combat and alleviate whatever stress response (anxiety, fatigue, stress, etc) your body is under.
  • No matter how poor your current level of fitness, you can start an exercise routine and become fitter and healthier at anytime.
  • Walking at a fast pace burns almost as many calories as jogging for the same distance.
  • The word ‘gymnasium’ comes from the Greek word “gymnazein”, which literally means “to exercise naked.”
  • It is scientifically suggested that walking at a fast pace for 3 hours or more at least one time a week can reduce your risk for heart disease by up to 65%.
  • Just adding any type of movement into your daily routine can increase your level of overall health and wellbeing.
  • Strength training involves training both the muscles and the nervous system. Together, they make what is called the “neuromuscular system.”
  • Men who workout with a female partner are shown to lift heavier weights and get better results.
  • Wearing steel toe boots will burn more calories than normal shoes.
  • To lose one pound of fat, a person has to burn roughly 3,500 calories.
  • When the body is at rest, it takes in about 10 litres of air per minute.
  • There are over 640 muscles in your body.
  • Muscle is about three times more efficient at burning calories than fat, even when at rest.
  • You should always breathe correctly when exercising. It is said that underwater swimming is the only time you should hold your breath during physical activity.

Fitness consists of 4 main components:

  1. The body’s ability to use oxygen as a source of energy.
  2. Muscular strength.
  3. Endurance
  4. Flexibility and body composition
  • Since your brain is distracted by what you are hearing when you listen to music, you don’t concentrate on what you are lifting. This causes you to lift more weight.
  • Exercise is more effective at increasing your energy levels than caffeine.

 

  • It takes about 12 weeks after beginning to exercise to see measurable changes in your body.
  • You burn more calories sleeping than you do watching television.
  • An Italian research team found out in 2003 that people who ate pizza on the regular were far less likely to develop esophageal, colon and mouth cancer.
  • Seafood is a nutrient rich food that is a good source of protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • Eating breakfast regularly will also help keep weight off because it gets your metabolism going
  • One can of soda contains 10 teaspoons of sugar.
  • Experienced bodybuilders do it in two phases. First, they build up body bulk, including some fat, by overeatingand weight training. In the second phase they trim the fat and maintain the muscle with a carefully constructed diet while continuing their muscle development program.
  • The average American adult drinks 500 cans of soda every year.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  does not require manufacturers to list trans fats if they are present in amounts less than .5 grams.
  • An unhealthy diet can lead to diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies.
  • You can drink too much water. “Hyponatremia” is when a person consumes too much water, usually during endurance sports, which causes their sodium levels to be very low and can even result in death.
  • Ten healthy, filling snacks…banana, hard boiled eggs, nuts (almonds & pistachios), peanut butter, oatmeal, cottage cheese, plain greek yogurt, sunflower seeds, apples and watermelon, and natural fruit smoothies.
  • A study done by American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition states that eating a bowl of  ice cream 2 hours after a workout triggers your insulin, which is a hormone that is essential in the muscle building process.
  • One gram of alcohol equals 7 calories.
  • Half of the carbs you consume should come from whole grains.
  • Weight can have an effect on a woman’s ability to conceive.
  • Need a quick healthy snack at the gas station? Bananas, raw almonds, beef jerkey, pretzels, string cheese, protein bar and a giant water.
  • Bottle water contains more bacteria than tap water.
  • Olive oil can help in lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing the risk of heart complications.
  • An unhealthy diet leads to diseases like diabetes, hypertension, certain cancers, obesity, and micronutrient deficiencies.
  • Over 1/3 of adults and 12.5 million children and teens in the United States are considered obese.
  • In 2007, heart disease was the leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Examples of iron rich foods are red meat, fish, chick peas, tofu, beans and lentils.
  • There is the same amount of sugar in a McDonald’s fruit smoothie as in four Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.
  • 8 foods you should consume on an everyday basis: yogurt, red tomatoes, walnuts, spinach, oats, carrots, blueberries, and black beans.

Other Interesting Fitness & Nutrition Facts

  • Most American models are thinner than 98% of American women.
  • 1,668 gallons, on average, of water are used by every single person in the S. daily.
  • Drinking normal amounts of beer can gives you a healthy dose of silicone, which will help strengthen your bones and teeth.
  • On average, it only takes three years after one quits smoking to have their chance of having a heart attack the same as someone who has never smoked before in their lifetime.

www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF FEEDING OUR MIND

It is such a crazy world right now. Political and religious conflict. Racial and economic tension. Something changing all of the time to continue or grow the conflicts. It is a tough time for America, the world, and for people who desire a world of peace and cooperation. For those of us who desire to be happy on a daily basis, it can be a tough task to maintain happiness and peace in a world of conflict. And as we know, happiness is healthy. Just as what we eat and put into our body matters, what we put into our mind also matters. I personally struggle and have struggled with depression since childhood. I have learned through much suffering that what I put into my mind first thing in the morning and throughout the day really matters to my daily happiness. First thing in the morning when I feed myself negative things like world conflicts, personal battles, past wrongs, or future worries I struggle all day with sadness, anxiety, anger, lack of clarity in my mind, and conflicts. I also tend to binge eat, become unproductive with my time, and consumed with self-pity. I can go so many directions based on what I watch, listen to, read, or feed myself with self-talk.

Intentional Feeding of The Mind

I had a close friend ask me once why I had quit exercising like I once did. Since I own a gym and design exercise programs, the importance of getting enough exercise is paramount to me. The answer I gave my friend was that I was too depressed and lacked the energy to exercise. And it was true because that is what I fed my mind with my own self-conversation. When this happens to most of us, me included, it is an autopilot action and not intentional. And that is the key to managing the things we put into our mind; it has to be intentional. Like finances, business operations, weight loss programs, and addiction recovery, the way we manage what we put into our mind through media and self-talk HAS to be intentional. If we operate with reactionary auto-pilot behavior, our chances of struggle grow. If we plan what we are going to read first thing in the morning, how we are going to manage negative self-talk in our work day, what we listen to in the car, and how we are going to spend our free mind time after work, our chances of being happy, fulfilled, and healthy also grow. Before going to bed each night, plan on how you will begin the day tomorrow with things that will feed your mind positive food. I currently start each day with the 20th anniversary edition of Chicken Soup For The Soul, and The Bible. Both have positive messages and reading helps to engage and activate my brain which helps me with clarity. I spend 10-15 minutes or so reading (5 minutes of each) before heading out for my walk/jog. During the exercise time, I try to intentionally focus on gratitude and things that are great in my life. For years I have had foot pain and this helps me to focus on the good and not the pain. On my way to work, I listen to audio instructional or motivational material that will help me to grow as a person, communicate clearer, improve my business, or focus my energy. Intentionally feed your mind good food.

Help Yourself To Some Good Food

I do not share with you how I begin the day because I am great. I am certainly no better than anyone who struggles in life. I have just studied and learned through experience how to manage my struggles differently. And I hope you do too. Intentionally feed yourself good mind food from the beginning of each day. Intentionally monitor when you are feeding yourself things that oppose your happiness and change that to the things that do. Intentionally take care of you. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

                        www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com

HOW TO BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE

Darla

As most of you know, “Be Your Own Miracle” is what I end every blog with and what defines our mission. The words are self explanatory and has individual meaning to all of the people who choose miraculous over lifelong behaviors. Darla is a prime example of how one person’s health journey becomes a miraculous celebration of a strong and high functioning life. Darla was told to walk only short distances and to “take it easy” with exercise due to knee, back, and shoulder issues. She decided to take a different approach and to see how exercise could benefit her and not hurt her. She sought to lose weight, get stronger, and reduce pain. She struggled at first due to her age, metabolism, and being new to resistance training. And even though she ate perfectly, she did not lose one single pound for three months. Darla became her own miracle when she decided to NEVER give up on her goal of strength and great health. She kept fighting and slowly began to lose weight. She remained consistent and gained physical strength she had not experienced in years. Darla eventually lost about 70 lbs and is feeling much less pain than she has in years. She walks daily and still works as a teacher, helping adults new to this country read and write. And she did all of this after age 65. What does it mean to be your own miracle? Darla defines it and you can too. Please take care of your health and stay as strong as you can. There are many like Darla out there. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com

HELP IF YOU STRUGGLE TO MAKE THE HEALTHIEST CHOICE

Our health is so complicated yet so simple. Years of research have shown that our health is more than just the food we eat and the exercise we get. The way we were conditioned to believe as children, income, education level, genetics, coping skills and even traumatic experiences in our youth all play a role in our health choices as adults. There are many other factors that affect our health as well. Current home and work environments, friendships, and even what we put into our mind with television and social media will greatly impact our long term health, according to research. So given all of this, how does a person that struggles with making the healthiest choice live in a healthier way? Here are some tips that I have found to work through research and experience.

  1. Become intentional with your health choices. Plan your exercise, how you will cope with daily stress, and meals for the day. Manage your life and your health instead of letting it manage you. Stick to the daily plan and start over each day.
  2. Have people in your life that are supportive and hold you accountable. It is so necessary for our own personal development and health to have people in our lives that can help us grow. This does not mean “haters” but instead have our best interests in mind. I love my circle who is there for me in an honest way and I would not have went back to college or have a business now without their guidance. I had to put hypersensitivity on the shelf and learn. Do what you need to do.
  3. Bring things into your mind that helps you to stay focused and motivated. Use social media, books, videos, and everything possible to plant seeds in your mind that cultivate you reaching your goal of good health and healthy life management. You can learn from people who have reached your goal, videos on resilience, and podcast that teach you how to work through life events differently. It is easy to lose focus if you have had long term struggles to make the healthiest choice. Stay in the game mentally by feeding your mind with good.
  4. Learn to believe in yourself. Many of us have perfected the art of not following through with things. Much of this is due to a lack of belief in yourself, especially when times get tough or challenges occur. You do have the skills to work through anything in a healthy way. Understand that life will occur and things will happen that will challenge us. Learn to work through the tough times and give full energy to how you can be successful in your goals.

If you have struggled at all to make the healthiest choice please know it is never too late. Whether you are 19 or 92, what you do from this day forward will matter to your other days. Do your best and learn from each day. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com

STRESS, OPTIMISM, AND YOUR HEALTH

I work with many different types of people. Some are athletic and have a history of exercise while others are just beginning. Some eat healthy most of the time and others struggle to manage food and drink with boundaries. There is no question that exercise and what we eat are important to our health but that is just part of being an overall healthy person. There are so many factors that impact our health in a positive or negative way and we do not include these factors enough when addressing our health. And these factors do not matter if you have exercised your whole life or have always eaten in a healthy manner. Here are just a couple of things that deeply impact our health.

Stress

It is so important to manage emotional reaction to stress and the thought processes you have when placed in a stressful situation. You notice I did not say that we should manage stress differently. I read a lot where we should manage stress differently but I like to be more direct and specific. The stress will never go away. From my experience and what I observe of others, there will always be stress no matter who we are. The way we manage our response to stress impacts our overall health in either a positive or negative way. For years I would get upset when stressful situations would arise, trying to control the situation instead of my response to the situation. It did not work well. Learn to manage your stress response for your health. Each healthy practice that we engage in will help to manage our stress response but it begins with intentional mindfulness and self-awareness that the way we are reacting to stress could be healthier.

Optimism

There are so many health benefits to an optimistic view of life. Pessimists tend to have more depression, physical ailments and disabilities, and struggle to work through life’s problems in a healthy manner. There is a direct correlation between depression and many diseases of the body including heart disease and many cancers. The ability to respond in a healthy way to difficult events in life such as a health scare will also be impacted by your outlook. Your overall quality of life and functioning improve with optimism.

“In a study on a population of elderly subjects of both sexes, aged between 65-85 years, Giltay et al. noted that dispositional optimism predicted less probability of mortality in general and of cardiovascular mortality in particular. These data have been confirmed in a subsequent longitudinal study on a population of males aged between 64 – 84 years in which an inverse correlation was reported between dispositional optimism and the risk of cardiovascular death.”

“It has been demonstrated that in the presence of severe pathological conditions, optimistic patients adapt better to stressful situations compared to pessimists, with positive repercussions on their quality of life. For example, in a sample of patients who underwent an aortic-coronary bypass, optimism was significantly and positively associated with quality of life in the six months following the operation [39]. The optimistic patients in fact presented a more rapid clinical improvement during the period of hospitalization and a quicker return to daily routine after discharge from hospital.”

Optimism is not what people traditionally consider positive thinking but rather a true belief system where the individual trusts that there will be a good outcome from events in life. Optimism has even been the key to people living healthy in horrible conditions such as concentration camps or as a prisoner of war. Believe that you have the skills to work through life’s curves and remember that you have worked through things in the past that were difficult.

It is so important to take care of your physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health. I was told once that our lives are like a table, with those four areas the legs that hold us up. When one of those legs are out of balance, the whole table (our body and mind) is out of balance. Please exercise and stay as strong as you can. Manage your emotional responses to life events by being present with yourself and by management from the inside out. Improve your mental health with the first two, through study of self and by being honest with what you struggle with. Be careful with what you give energy and focus to and check yourself often to make sure you are giving energy to love, success, service, and learning. If you struggle get help like I did. Do it as soon as possible. BE YOUR OWN MIRACLE!

www.miraclesofphoenixfitness.com