Walking on Sunshine

 

“But the beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations.”
-Gwyn Thomas

As summer temperatures begin to decrease, we can go out for a short mind-clearing walk, enjoy a brisk walk with a friend, plan a family hike on a friendly trail, or take the kids for a fun exploration of the park.

Walking can range from gentle, meditative to daily errands to rigorous and fast-paced. It’s great for prenatal/postnatal health and fitness. It can also help ease labor pains and help bring down the baby for birth. It is a wonderful, healing activity for mothers just starting their postpartum recovery and return to movement. It’s a great opportunity to practice breath work and kegels to gently strengthen the ab and pelvic floor muscles.

Wear comfortable, supportive shoes to prevent discomfort and injury.

Besides the pleasures of the fresh air, sunshine, natural scenery and stimulating our hearts and breathing, walking is one of the most accessible activities; it has the lowest dropout rate for exercise. And it provides countless benefits.

“The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance,” 1841

Walking is a reminder to get out of that car! Our bodies need to move themselves on a regular basis to function properly. The original purpose of movement is not to achieve an image at all costs but to survive and thrive in nature as a physical being.

We need to walk often to engage and strengthen our glute muscles which work with the core muscles—standing alone will not do it.  Excessive sitting causes glutes to become inactive and weak. In a healthy state, they provide stability to the body and keep our movements effective while helping to prevent injuries such as back strain.

To ensure that you’re engaging your glute muscles, place your hand on your glute as you take a step. Feel it tense a bit when you touch the ground and tense up with a “pushback” when you push off for another step. Squeezing each glute upon footfall further engages and strengthens them.

Research has shown the benefits of walking and just moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day…

Reduces the risk of:

  • coronary heart disease
  • obesity
  • osteoporosis
  • breast and colon cancer
  • type 2 diabetes
  • stroke

Improves:

  • blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • sleep
  • Maintains body weight
  • Prevents, reduces depression
  • Reduces joint pressure

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

Benefits for the brain include:

  • Slows mental decline
  • Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s
  • Improves memory and logic in seniors
  • Cognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents
  • Boosts creativity in the young and healthy

 

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness, into my best thoughts…” ~Søren Kierkegaard

Find Your Dry Ground in the Rapids

September is a month to ease ourselves into fall/back to school season and make sure that caring for our health, mind, body, spirit, keeps us strong for life’s demands. Stress alone can wear down our immune systems, short circuit our concentration and memories, conjure up anger, and depress our moods.

Stress is now recognized by the American Medical Association as the foundational cause of more than 60% of all human illness and disease. Additionally, 60% of doctor visits in the US are stress-based; 43% of adults suffer health issues from stress.

It heavily contributes to diastasis recti (separation of abdominal muscles) because cortisol, the stress hormone responsible for excess stubborn belly fat, also weakens the connective tissues which help to keep the belly in tact.

Common effects of stress include:

  • fatigue
  • muscle tension/pain
  • headaches
  • inflammation
  • poor skin
  • ADD/ADHD
  • digestive issues
  • weight gain/belly fat
  • sleep problems
  • grinding teeth/jaw tension
  • infertility
  • low libido
  • substance abuse
  • anxiety

When we dive into the “white water rapids” current of the modern world without respite or stepping back to get perspective, it can take us to the edge of the waterfall, and possibly, over the cliff.

And we wonder what’s wrong with us that we can’t seem to cope with the pace? IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT! We simply aren’t designed for constant input. The mind and body require decompression and detoxification in order to function properly long-term. Even if that means just a few moments in a day to be still, focus on our breathing, and count our blessings.

The current is not going to stop. These times are actually accelerating. It’s said that today there’s more information input and stimulation in ONE DAY than an ENTIRE LIFETIME of a person in the early 1900’s.

TAKE A STAND!

FIND YOUR DRY GROUND AND CLAIM IT.
FIND YOUR SLOW STREAM AND WADE IN IT WHEN YOU NEED TO.

Because the foundation of my business is to teach and model self-care, it’s actually my JOB to take care of myself. I block out, schedule time, and make boundaries for self-care, personal life, and creative expression to avoid over-extension and burn out.

A busy mother of a toddler told me: “I feel as though in some of your writing I could replace business owner with mother and feel the same about having to take care of oneself to truly be able to take care of others. Really powerful stuff. I hope you’re able to add those thoughts into future writings for the purpose of both business owners and mothers!”

The old paradigm of service based on self-neglect simply isn’t functional. No one thrives. We have to learn a new way in order to survive, prosper, and continue as a planet.

Find what works for you based on your own life’s circumstances and calling. It’s a living, creative process to develop and walk. Consider these five pillars of health: hydration, diet, exercise, mind-clearing relaxation, sleep.

Learning to listen to our bodies and intuition and actually following these messages is a vital part of self-care. When we take action before the crisis develops, we practice preventive health. We really are the key to our own happiness and well-being. I support you to take whatever steps you need to in order to make sure that this season is a time to flourish and enjoy.

 

“Hydrate This Summer!”

“By means of water, we give life to everything.”~Koran

Summer heat is no joke, especially in sunny, hot, and humid Southern Florida. Hydration is necessary all year but the summertime is the perfect opportunity to increase and improve the consistency of our water intake. According to a nationwide study from the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, more than half of children and teenagers in the United States might not be properly hydrated. One researcher stated, “I was surprised that almost one in four kids drank no water during the course of their day.”

We may think of dehydration as “dry mouth” under a scorching sun but this is not the case. It can sneak up on you if you aren’t aware of the need to hydrate regularly.

Though not usually deadly, mild dehydration can cause cognitive impairment, headaches and even nausea in severe cases. Symptoms in younger children may be fussiness, infrequent urination, dry mouth and a lack of tears when crying. For kids and teenagers, daily water requirements depend on several factors, including age and activity level.

Another study has stated that 75% of Americans tend to be mildly dehydrated. THIS IS AN EPIDEMIC AMOUNT. Our bodies are roughly 60% water by mass depending on age and body composition and adults lose nearly 4 cups of water a day through the skin and normal breathing, not to mention sweating and elimination.

Some Common Symptoms of Dehydration Include:

  1. Fatigue, Energy Loss
  2. Constipation
  3. Digestive Disorders
  4. High/Low Blood Pressure
  5. Gastritis, Stomach Ulcers
  6. Respiratory Troubles
  7. Acid-Alkaline Imbalance
  8. Excess Weight (Thirst is often confused with hunger.)
  9. Eczema
  10. Cholesterol
  11. Cystitis, Urinary Infections
  12. Joint Pain
  13. Premature Aging

Some Great Reasons to Drink Water Daily

  • Glowing, Soft Skin/Softer Hair/Healthy Weight-Health and Beauty go hand in hand!
  • Healthy Heart-A six-year study found that participants who drank more than 5 glasses of water a day were 41% less likely to die from a heart attack than those who drank less than two glasses (May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology)
  • Headache cure (in many cases)
  • Breastfeeding-increase hydration because breast milk production increases a mother’s water loss
  • Digestion-it’s necessary to digest food properly. Can help cure stomach acid problems and, with fiber, can cure constipation.
  • Cleansing/Immunity-it helps flush out toxins and waste products from the body.
  • Reduced Cancer risk-has been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45% and bladder cancer by 50%
  • Better exercise-Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate!

Form a routine: Drink a glass…

  • when you wake up (an optimum time to drink a lot to flush and detoxify the system)
  • with each meal,
  • in between meals,
  • before, during and after exercise

Carry a bottle:

  • Fill a large (20-32 oz) drinking bottle and carry it with you all day. When it’s empty, fill it and empty it again. 64 oz. is a healthy baseline.

Set a reminder:

  • Set your clock for once an hour, for example.

Substitute water:

  • For soda, coffee, etc. Try sparkling water at social functions.

Filter:

  • Purchase a filter for your home faucet to save money on bottled water.

Track it:

  • Keep a little log check for each glass you drink daily.

Infuse It!:

  • Add sliced fruits/vegies if you dislike plain water.

This basic habit that gets overlooked by so many people can make a huge difference in your health, well-being, and quality of life! Drink up!

Postpartum Massage: Recover and Replenish

“Nurture your health, both inside and out.” –Mary Buchan

In general, the first 6-8 weeks are considered the “postpartum” period when the uterus shrinks back to pre-pregnancy size and position. But the recovery process after birth can last for years, especially once the demands of parenting take hold and if there is not a strong support system in place.

Postpartum massage assists mothers in recovery and replenishment after giving birth. Some women are ready for it immediately and others may need several weeks or more. It is important to obtain the go-ahead from your health provider that ypostnatal massage oil candles smallour body is healed enough before receiving massage. It is equally essential to work with a therapist specifically certified in prenatal and postpartum massage.

This form of body work can be a vital part of the healing process as a woman walks through the tremendous transformation that comes with motherhood. It allows for a peaceful time to find balance for the self and meeting the challenges of caring for your little one/s.

The art of postpartum massage can include:

  • reducing pain, soreness, and stiffness
  • stress reduction
  • supporting hormonal balance/regulation
  • reducing swelling
  • assisting the uterus to shrink back to normal size
  • better sleep
  • addressing or prevention of postpartum depression
  • support for resolution of trauma during birth
  • checking for diastasis recti (separation in belly muscles)
  • supportive suggestions for diastasis recti, psoas muscle, and pelvic floor weakness
  • improved breastfeeding as it stimulates release of oxytocin.*

*Oxytocin triggers the milk ejection complex which pushes the milk out of the nipple, making it easier to breastfeed. The more you breastfeed your baby, the more milk you will produce.

C-section scar reduction massage, which includes instruction for self-massage, can help mothers to reconnect with their bellies and their bodies after the impact of surgery. The first 6-14 weeks postpartum is generally considered the ideal time to begin to address the scar tissue, however, only with a doctor or midwife’s approval. But recovery can absolutely still be addressed even years later.

If there was trauma at the birth, it can help soothe the nervous system, support release of painful emotions, and be a powerful therapeutic complement to counseling. We generally cope with trauma by disconnecting from our bodies so massage is a gentle road back to feeling and being present in your body again.

You may have the option to bring your newborn baby to the session. I’ve worked with newborns and mamas on the table together many times. Baby is nestled against mama’s breast in a protective cocoon of propping pillows while we work with the side-lying position. Babies of mothers that received regular pregnancy massage seem to be quite familiar and comfortable back on the massage table. They even seem to recognize and respond positively to my voice!

Therapeutic massage can be a fundamental aspect of the postpartum healing process; it is much more than a pampering luxury. In many traditional cultures, it is an essential aspect of regular care for mothers after childbirth. Healthy, happy mothers mean a healthy, happy society.