Getting you back to the life you want to live.
F ebruary 2020
L ove is the drug ... It’s that time again—hearts and chocolates everywhere. I’m certainly not complaining about the chocolate. My daughter’s school does a Valentine’s Day-related dance every year, and, in typical fashion for my daughter, dress shopping, hair style planning, and overall“event planning”started some months ago. She is so excited to participate in this annual tradition and is now curious about the symbolism for the event, not being“in love” and all. (My kiddo is a little too deep for her own good.) It startedme thinking about the holiday, and, inmy typical fashion, what is the true“non-hallmark”holiday about? For me, and certainly independent of Valentine’s Day, I know love is lots of things. I am loved whenmy loved ones try to do the things that make me feel loved. I know they love me, but feeling it unequivocally by some action? That definitely hits my love language. What’s evenmore interesting tome is that there is even a recent study for that. There are some universal truths to what makes someone feel loved. One of my personal“love” favorites is when someone shows compassion towards another in difficult times, how that makes one feel extra loved. Inmy personal and professional life, I like to think l live there. There is not enough compassion in the world —more is definitely better. People feel loved in a big range of settings, outside of romantic relationships, in everyday interactions, and in experiences with friends, family, and even pets. Studies have even shown that simply making eye contact with dogs makes you feel loved. That eye contact increased the owners’ level of oxytocin, the“love hormone.”Oxytocin promotes bonding and connection. When someone is told that they are loved, well, of course that hits the mark. Also, when a child snuggles up to you, that makes you feel loved
MAXIMIZE YOUR GAINS
A nd O ptimize G ym T ime W ith T hese T ips
According to The New York Times, muscle mass starts diminishing during your 30s and keeps diminishing over time, even if you stay active. Given that greater muscle mass can help prevent chronic diseases and improve your overall health, it’s no surprise that the federal government recommends incorporating two sessions of strength training into your weekly exercise regimen. The benefits of strength training are broadly accepted and understood, but what scientists don’t agree on is how to weight train. Traditional weightlifting wisdom tells you that the best way to get stronger is to lift the heaviest weight you can 8–10 times in a row to optimize gains in both strength and muscle size. But researchers at Ontario’s McMaster University challenge that wisdom. Their study (which focused on men) found that gains in both strength and muscle size were the same, regardless of if the men did 20–25 reps with lighter weights or 8–12 reps with heavier weights. The number of reps compensated for the heftiness of the weights and vice versa, and the total amount lifted and subsequent muscle fatigue is what drove muscle growth.
with a big hit of oxytocin. Anyone who has had a friend call them after a bad day or exchanged an“I love you”with a close friend or family member can tell you these small gestures are meaningful and powerful. My family is on the slow but steady path to dog ownership. I have been looking at rescue sites endlessly. (I’mnot sure why, because I don’t have the required fence yet.) My daughter falls in love with each and every one she lays her eyes on. I’ve asked her what are the qualities she wants in a dog. She has identified only three things: kind, loving, and small enough to cuddle with her andmove around our tiny house. I think she has identified some of these universal truths about love— that there aren’t a lot of extra requirements. I often describe my daughter as all soft parts. She lives with her emotions right at the surface and unprotected. I amhoping in fact that the love of a dog will let her stay a little soft around the edges and be an external protector of her soft parts. My wish for you is that you live a little closer to your emotional edge, so you can be seen, and loved, more freely. –-Shelly Coffman
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That said, exclusively focusing on high-rep workouts can lead to injury and burnout. To optimize gains and avoid injury or burnout, mix up your schedule by doing both high-weight, low-rep days and low- weight, high-rep days. By switching back and forth, you’ll always be fatiguing your muscles and maximizing your weightlifting benefits.
WorkWith a Professional
More often than not, most people who attempt to implement a weightlifting regimen into their routine do it poorly. According to The New York Times, most people aren’t lifting enough weight to see gains. One study found that women lifted only about half the weight they needed to see considerable improvements. If you’re not sure whether you could be going a little harder, consider working with a trainer certified by the National Strength Conditioning Association. By working with trainers who have studied exercise, you can develop a program that provides the right mix of heavy and light days, continually adjusts as you get stronger, and emphasizes injury prevention and proper form. Strength training is one of the most powerful tools we have to delay aging and prolong good health. The skeletal muscle we build at the gym can help lower our blood pressure, improve insulin sensitivity, and shed excess pounds. Don’t be fooled by all the misinformation out there; there are plenty of organizations with certified personal trainers who can help you learn everything you need to know to get those gains. Research published in The Scientific World Journal found that climbers can burn up to 10 calories a minute —without even getting drenched in sweat during their workout. It improves your shoulders and your mind! Physical strength alone won’t get you to the top of a wall. Rock climbing is a physical and mental challenge. Some problems call for fancy footwork, creative problem-solving, or going for a rock that seems out of reach. Teaching your mind and your body to work together while rock climbing can also build endurance and reduce stress. It strengthens your relationships. Rock climbing, especially top rope climbing, is one of the best workouts to do with a partner. Top roping is a type of climbing where you strap into a harness, tie yourself to a rope, and climb up a wall while your partner holds the rope, ready to catch you. In other words, your partner “belays” you. It’s the ultimate trust fall. Facing the challenges of rock climbing with your partner also teaches you how to overcome adversity together and improves communication as you both work to conquer the wall. The best part about rock climbing is that it’s easy to try out. Most climbing gyms rent out the supplies you need for a small fee. And with hundreds of climbing gyms open across the United States, there’s no wall blocking the way of you and your favorite new workout.
So, what does that mean for your own workout routine?
Lose the Bigger Barbells
Loading up the bar with a daunting number of pounds or grabbing the huge dumbbells can officially be a thing of the past. Some people prefer to lift large loads, but if you find that intimidating, you can stick to your lighter weights. Just be prepared to do more reps.
T his W orkout ROCKS! 3 R easons to S tart R ock C limbing
No, these aren’t strange magic spells. They’re basic safety commands rock climbers use before they start their ascent. Rock climbing as a hobby and a workout has been growing in popularity over the last few years, thanks in part to popular
documentaries like “Free Solo” and “Meru.” But if you’re still not ready to chalk up and start climbing, here are a few more reasons to add “belay
on” to your vocabulary.
It’s a fun full-body workout. Getting a full-body workout usually means hating every second of it. This isn’t the case with rock climbing, though. Most people take up rock climbing because it’s fun. Reaching the top of a wall is like solving a puzzle with your whole body. That said, fun doesn’t mean easy. An intense climb works out your back muscles, biceps, abs, and legs.
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The human brain is an incredibly powerful organ. It solves complex problems, recalls forgottenmemories, and triggers a dizzying array of emotions. But its most incredible power is the effect it can have on the rest of the body. When it comes to love, well, our brains certainly love it, and our bodies reflect that. Less Stress Human beings thrive on a sense of connection and belonging, and studies have shown that love actually has positive effects on a person’s physical health as well as mental. The security and commitment felt in a loving relationship are shown to reduce stress by stunting the production of cortisol, the body’s stress-inducing hormone. Less stress means lower blood pressure, a healthier heart, and a lower risk of stroke, especially inmen. Healthier Immune Systems Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University found that calm, happy people can fight common colds and the flumore easily than those who are anxious or depressed. The physical benefits of love even go as far as healing wounds quicker. Small injuries inflicted on a wide test group at Ohio State University Medical Center healed nearly twice as fast on people who experienced consistent warmth and care than those who experienced hostility. In fact, the latter group needed almost a full additional day to achieve the same amount of healing as the first group. C an Y ou F eel the L ove ? T he S ecret to L iving a L onger , H ealthier L ife
better health as they age when compared to peers in unhappy partnerships. In fact, the blog asserts, “People in stressful, unhappy marriages may be worse off than a single person who is surrounded by supportive and caring friends, family, and loved ones.”
So, it seems the results are in: Loving someone is a healthy lifestyle choice. Even having a strong network of friends and family boosts your odds of living a long life by 50%. So, get out there andmake the healthy choice for yourself and those around you by leading a life full of love. D ate T ruffles
Longer, Happier Lives Being surrounded by love may even save your life. A statistic from
the National Health Interview Survey states that single people face a 58% higher risk of mortality. Further bolstering that claim is the Harvard Health Blog, which claims happily married participants experience
Valentine’s Day is all about love … and chocolate. Enjoy these chocolate peanut butter date truffles with your date this Valentine’s Day.
• 1/4 cup peanut butter • 1 cup bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
• 1 lb medjool dates, pitted (about 1 1/2 cups) • 1/2 tsp sea salt • Warm water Directions 1. Using a food processor, into a ball. Slowly add enough warm water to mixture to thicken dough. 2. Roll dough into tablespoon- sized balls. Freeze for 20–30 minutes. 3. In microwave, warm 1/4 cup peanut butter for 30 seconds, then drizzle blend dates and sea salt until dough can be formed
peanut butter on top of balls. Freeze balls for another 20 minutes. 4. Meanwhile, in microwave, warm chocolate with coconut oil until melted. Stir well. 5. Coat balls in chocolate and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. 6. Top with additional salt and freeze for 30 minutes. Serve at room temperature.
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Love Is the Drug ... How to Upgrade Your New Year's Resolutions Page 1 I nside T his I ssue
You CAN Have Fun While Working Out Page 2
The Effects of Love on Your Physical Health Date Truffles Page 3 Don't Live in Pain Any Longer With Somatics Page 4
C onnecting M ind and B ody H ow S omatics C an O ffer H ealing for L ongtime P ain S ufferers
part of aging and don’t understand that the body can heal from everyday pain and ailments. Somatics involve short, hands-on movements to correct the body’s posture and mobility, which can then stimulate proper healing through further movement and therapy. The technique retrains the brain on proper movement, function, and positioning to align your body and your mind so you can heal instead of just living with pain. Somatic exercises come in two forms. The first method is done with the help of a physical therapist — or in some instances, a massage therapist — who pinpoints the areas of tension and guides you through hands-on exercises that relieve the pain and
Studies show that 1 in 10 Americans lives with chronic pain for more than one year. When you’re in pain, you seek a way to cope. Some might attend regular physical therapy appointments to find the source of the pain and resolve it. Others might ignore the pain and adapt their lifestyle to avoid making it worse. Either way, the body continues to sustain real damage with these adaptations, which compounds pain and can make things worse. Fortunately, this doesn’t mean healing is a lost cause. Somatic exercises can offer a solution to long-term pain sufferers. Dr. Thomas Hanna taught the first class on somatics in 1990. He had discovered a disconnect between the industrialized world and healthy, pain- free living. Many people in industrialized countries have accepted pain as a natural
align the body. The second method involves exercises patients can do at home according to their physical therapist’s guidance. You don’t have to live with pain. Healing is possible, and somatics may help you get on the road to recovery. To learn more about this therapeutic technique, visit Somatics. org or talk to your physical therapist.
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