Touro Infirmary

FALL 2013

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T he Trust for America's Health (www.healthyamericans.org) reports that adult obesity rates have doubled since 1980, from 15 to 30 percent, while childhood obesity rates have more than tripled. Oddly enough, the fitness and weight-loss industries in the United States report the same kind of double-digit growth in the same time period. If there is more interest in weight management and physical exercise than ever before, why are we, as a nation, growing bigger and less healthy? There is mounting evidence and scientific research that the hormones created by stress can make you fat and unfit. Can it be, perhaps, that the stress of striving to be perfectly "fit" at the gym or to weigh in at your perfect body size can make you unhealthy in body and mind? Feel-Good Fitness Is it possible that beating yourself up about not eating right or exercising enough is actually contributing to your unhealthiness? Shouldn't feeling fit feel good? What would happen if you took a more relaxed attitude toward getting healthier, more like planning a family picnic with those you love than a formal dinner party for potential business clients? If we begin to view fitness and better health as feeling better in mind and spirit as much as in body, how would our "fitness" activities change? BREATHE YOURSELF FIT GET IN THE ONE Most professional athletes describe experiencing the transcendent feeling of being "in the zone," where extreme effort does not feel like effort at all, where everything comes together and is totally enjoyable, and there is no choice but to succeed. To practice feel-good fitness, you need to find an exercise or activity that makes you get "in the zone." If going to the gym makes you feel this way, by all means use that as your fitness foundation. But if you are like many people and find it hard to get motivated and truly enjoy a 2 SPI RIT O F WOM EN FA L L 2 013 regular routine at the gym, find what you love that moves your body, relaxes your mind and pushes you into the zone. S wimming. Dancing. Yoga. Housekeeping. Gardening. Walking. Playing hopscotch with the kids. Joining a softball team, golf league, or even playing bowling or tennis on the Wii with your family. w w w. s p i r i t o f w o m e n . c o m So many of us forget that breathing right uses and strengthens core muscles in your chest and abdomen. Find a video on how to breathe for your health, take a qigong class, or just sit and inhale deeply through your nose and exhale gently through your mouth. Try breathing "healthy" smells. The science of aromatherapy demonstrates that smelling peppermint can help to reduce appetite and increase energy, while vanilla scents can squash a craving for sweets. Burn a vanilla candle after dinner for dessert. Use a peppermint mouthwash before sitting down to a meal.

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