PT 360 December 2018

Getting you back to the life you want to live.


D ecember 2018

In Touch

B ack in the D ark

brain. For all of our amazing parts, the brain is the most so. The boss that lives at the top of our shoulders runs the show. For some, winter does not hold much allure. Maybe there were bad memories associated with holidays, overt and many stressors, maybe the lack of light or cold temperatures send the brain into a tailspin that seems too oppressive to pull out of. Brain chemistry and genetics seem like too much of a burden to overcome in the dark. My monkey brain runs with this thought and a research study on mice about epigenetics. Adaptation to environmental stresses is one of the most fundamental biological functions. Our brains don’t have to work at it — it’s a lower-level process. The more automatic, the better for saving higher function. There was an awesome study on mice a few years back, looking at the change in DNA — epigenetics — with exposure to high levels of stress. The amazing thing is, the mice DNA, once changed from overstress, could change back with nurturing. We are never immutable, as much as it might feel epically so sometimes. My wish for you is that you spend this time in the dark energizing your spirit. Make sure to get outside for those “sun breaks,” write letters, read deliciously inventive books, commit to be an instant pot soup champion — anything that brings you joy in a peaceful space. Even in the dark, the light always shines through. Shelly Coffman –-Shelly Coffman

Here we are, back in the dark. We’re approaching the winter solstice, and the dreaded (for me, at least) shortest day of the year. I, like most folks, thrive on sunlight (between 68-72 degrees, please). Winter is hard — go to work in the dark, come home in the dark, try to get motivated just to get motivated. And then there’s the fact that we are square in the middle of sugar season — starting with Halloween and ending with Easter. Dark plus too much sugar is a bad combination. The natural flow of life dictates that we slow down in the winter. It strains our systems to fight against it — the struggle is real. In Thoreau’s words, “Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.” You can run, but you can’t hide from the influence of winter, in your bodies, your minds, and your spirit. Winter is a time to look inward, reflect on what has been and what is to come. What I love about winter is both the silence and the opportunity to connect with others — family gatherings, winter parties, snow adventures. One of my favorite things to do is to snowshoe on a calm day, with fresh powder making everything hush. This quiet is productive too — it refills the tank of the spirit. When we are running on empty, which happens all too often this close to the holidays, taking the opportunity to fill the tank with quiet, silence, peaceful respite is a treat not to be missed. Many of you who have spent time with me know that I like to chat about the

Fitness fads come and go rapidly, but one decade-old trend is still growing in America and all over the world. It’s rise in popularity comes at a great time too, given the shocking obesity rates in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 40 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese. With the litany of workout and dieting options all over the media, choosing where to start can be just as confusing as deciding what to do. Luckily, some U.S. cities are starting to develop outdoor gyms in convenient locations to help their residents to get fit, shed extra pounds, and have healthier lifestyles. Outdoor gyms have been popular since China began installing them in its cities to promote physical fitness ahead of the 2008 Olympics. The fad traveled to parks across Europe and is blazing its way through the U.S. Are these gyms worth the hype? For most residents, the answer ADULT PLAYGROUNDS T he B enefits and D rawbacks of O utdoor G yms

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