Thai Massage in Baltimore

massage

What if I told you there was something out that that combined acupressure, static and dynamic stretching, healing touch, and meditation? Sound too good to be true? Well, it is real! And it is called Thai massage.

Thai massage is one of my favorite ways to relax, heal, and recharge by restoring the body’s imbalances and relieving tension. Treating yourself to a thai massage can transport you, and sometimes it is nice to get away- even if it is for just an hour or two. But treating yourself does not necessarily mean breaking the bank. Here is a wonderful local option that helps promote wellness and stills allow you to be mindful of your budget: Thai Massage in Baltimore

Can Running Really Be a Form of Meditation?

Health News / Tips & Trends / Celebrity Health

Photo: Getty Images Photo: Getty Images

sonima-logo-185.jpg

A couple weeks ago, I came home from a run feeling totally rejuvenated. I’d gone into it thinking about a relationship dilemma, and by the time I finished my loop, I’d found resolution in a calm and levelheaded manner—it felt like a meditative experience.

That’s not the first time I’ve likened running to meditation. Whenever people ask me if I meditate, I usually pause and say something like, “Well, I don’t meditate, per se, in that staring-at-a-candle-for-20-minutes sort of way. But I do run a lot, and I feel like they both produce similar mind-clearing results, so they’re kind of the same thing.”

Not exactly.

Experts agree that it is possible to practice meditation while running (more on that later), but to say they’re equivalent misses some important points. Let’s start with some basic facts. Defined, meditation is essentially anything in which you intentionally set aside time…

View original post 1,368 more words

Exercise to Age Well, Whatever Your Age

sb10067362g-003.jpg

The following article was written by Gretchen Reynolds and was published by the New York Times.

Offering hope and encouragement to the many adults who have somehow neglected to exercise for the past few decades, a new study suggests that becoming physically active in middle age, even if someone has been sedentary for years, substantially reduces the likelihood that he or she will become seriously ill or physically disabled in retirement.

The new study joins a growing body of research examining successful aging, a topic of considerable scientific interest, as the populations of the United States and Europe grow older, and so do many scientists. When the term is used in research, successful aging means more than simply remaining alive, although that, obviously, is the baseline requirement. Successful aging involves minimal debility past the age of 65 or so, with little or no serious chronic disease diagnoses, depression, cognitive decline or physical infirmities that would prevent someone from living independently.

Previous epidemiological studies have found that several, unsurprising factors contribute to successful aging. Not smoking is one, as is moderate alcohol consumption, and so, unfairly or not, is having money. People with greater economic resources tend to develop fewer health problems later in life than people who are not well-off.

But being physically active during adulthood is particularly important. In one large-scale study published last fall that looked at more than 12,000 Australian men aged between 65 and 83, those who engaged in about 30 minutes of exercise five or so times per week were much healthier and less likely to be dead 11 years after the start of the study than those who were sedentary, even when the researchers adjusted for smoking habits, education, body mass index and other variables.

Whether exercise habits need to have been established and maintained throughout adulthood, however, in order to affect aging has been less clear. If someone has slacked off on his or her exercise resolutions during young adulthood and early middle-age, in other words, is it too late to start exercising and still have a meaningful impact on health and longevity in later life?

To address that issue, researchers with the Physical Activity Research Group at University College London and other institutions turned recently to the large trove of data contained in the ongoing English Longitudinal Study of Aging, which has tracked the health habits of tens of thousands of British citizens for decades, checking in with participants multiple times and asking them how they currently eat, exercise, feel and generally live.

For the study, appearing in the February issue of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, scientists isolated responses from 3,454 healthy, disease-free British men and women aged between 55 and 73 who, upon joining the original study of aging, had provided clear details about their exercise habits, as well as their health, and who then had repeated that information after an additional eight years.

The researchers stratified the chosen respondents into those who were physically active or not at the study’s start, using the extremely generous definition of one hour per week of moderate or vigorous activity to qualify someone as active. Formal exercise was not required. An hour per week of “gardening, cleaning the car, walking at a moderate pace, or dancing” counted, said Mark Hamer, a researcher at University College London who led the study.

The scientists then re-sorted the respondents after the eight-year follow-up, marking them as having remained active, become active, remained inactive or become inactive as they moved into and through middle-age. They also quantified each respondent’s health throughout those years, based on diagnosed diabetes, heart disease, dementia or other serious conditions. And the scientists directly contacted their respondents, asking each to complete objective tests of memory and thinking, and a few to wear an activity monitor for a week, to determine whether self-reported levels of physical activity matched actual levels of physical activity. (They did.)

In the eight years between the study’s start and end, the data showed, those respondents who had been and remained physically active aged most successfully, with the lowest incidence of major chronic diseases, memory loss and physical disability. But those people who became active in middle-age after having been sedentary in prior years, about 9 percent of the total, aged almost as successfully. These late-in-life exercisers had about a seven-fold reduction in their risk of becoming ill or infirm after eight years compared with those who became or remained sedentary, even when the researchers took into account smoking, wealth and other factors.

Those results reaffirm both other science and common sense. A noteworthy 2009 study of more than 2,000 middle-aged men, for instance, found that those who started to exercise after the age of 50 were far less likely to die during the next 35 years than those who were and remained sedentary. “The reduction in mortality associated with increased physical activity was similar to that associated with smoking cessation,” the researchers concluded.

But in this study, the volunteers did not merely live longer; they lived better than those who were not active, making the message inarguable for those of us in mid-life. “Build activity into your daily life,” Dr. Hamer said. Or, in concrete terms, if you don’t already, dance, wash your car and, if your talents allow (mine don’t), combine the two.

 

3 Stretches That Reduce Stress

stress-stretch-COMP-3303223

The following article was originally published on prevention.com

If daily stress has you literally in knots, taking a short break to do a few simple stretches can go a long way toward unwrapping some of that anxiety and tension. With each of these movements, stretch only as far as comfortably possible and focus on your breathing. For your healthiest stress-relief plan, combine these moves with regular exercise, a balanced diet, and frequent contact with friends and loved ones.

Wall Roll-Down
What it does: Relaxes neck, shoulders, and lower back
How to do it: Stand with your back against a wall, feet hip-width apart and about 12 inches from the wall. Inhale, pulling your abdominal muscles in toward your spine, and press your entire back to the wall. As you exhale, roll down until only your tailbone and buttocks are touching the wall. Relax your neck and shoulders, and let your head and arms hang. Take deep, slow breaths and circle your arms inward five times, then outward five times. Slowly roll up.

Cat With a Twist
What it does: Relaxes shoulders, chest, abdominal muscles, and back
How to do it: Kneel with your hands directly beneath your shoulders and knees beneath your hips. Exhale, pulling your abdominal muscles in toward your spine, round your back, and drop your head and tailbone toward the floor, stretching like a cat. Inhale and reverse the move, arching your back and lifting your tailbone and head toward the ceiling. Do the sequence five times. Next, with your back flat, twist and slide your left arm, palm up, between your right arm and right leg. Reach far enough with your left hand so that your left shoulder, arm, and side of your head rest on the floor. Hold for five to eight deep breaths, then repeat with right arm.

Up the Wall
What it does: Relaxes hips and back of thighs
How to do it: Lie on your back with buttocks as close to a wall as possible. Extend your legs up on the wall, keeping your feet relaxed and about hip-width apart. Using your hands, gently press your thighs toward the wall. Hold for five to eight breaths. Then slowly bend your knees out to the sides and bring the soles of your feet together, sliding them down the wall as far as is comfortable. (The sides of your feet should rest against the wall.) Gently press your knees and thighs toward the wall. Hold for five to eight breaths. Release.

To view more ways to stretch and similar exercise videos, please visit my YouTube Channel.

Why is Weight Gain So Much Easier Over Age 40?

menopause-weight-gain-400x400

The following is an excerpt from an article written by Madelyn Fernstrom. It was originally published on www.today.com.

Why is weight gain so much easier after 40?

Metabolic rate slows by about 5 percent every decade
Translated into calories, this means most women by age 50 need to consume about 200 calories less every day compared to calories eaten at age 30, just to maintain the current weight. And while exercise can contribute to weight maintenance, eating too many calories is the main reason for weight gain.

Hormonal changes
While hormonal changes do not directly trigger weight gain, it becomes easier to gain weight with an altered hormone profile. Declining estrogen along with increasing cortisol levels (a response to dropping estrogen levels along with increasing stress) can both contribute to fat distribution in the body— even without weight change. Elevated cortisol levels can also shift where fat goes — to the middle — even without a change in weight.

Muscle mass decreases with age, while fat increases
Contrary to popular belief, muscle does not “turn into” fat. This comes from eating too much, and not exercising enough. Losing muscle mass decreases how well your body uses calories, making weight gain easier.

Related: 8 Diet Changes for Women Over 40

25 Fast and Easy Ways to Fit in 10 Minutes of Exercise

push-ups-on-bed-298x232_0

The following article was originally published on prevention.com and was written by The Editors of Prevention Health Books for Women

Stolen Moments Add Up

Experts recommend working out 45 minutes to an hour a day (30 minutes for beginners) for weight loss and fitness. But if you’re like most women, you don’t always have a block of 30 to 60 minutes a day to devote exclusively to doing your workouts.

Lest you think that short bursts of activity have a negligible effect on your fitness program, think again. One study found that women who split their exercise into 10-minute increments were more likely to exercise consistently, and lost more weight after five months, than women who exercised for 20 to 40 minutes at a time.

In a landmark study conducted at the University of Virginia, exercise physiologist Glenn Gaesser, PhD, asked men and women to complete 15 10-minute exercise routines a week. After just 21 days, the volunteers’ aerobic fitness was equal to that of people 10 to 15 years younger. Their strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility were equal to those of people up to 20 years their junior. “It would be useful for people to get out of the all-or-nothing mind-set that unless they exercise for 30 minutes, they’re wasting their time,” says Gaesser.

Breaking exercise into small chunks on your overscheduled days can also keep your confidence up, since skipping it altogether can make you feel tired, guilty, or depressed. Keep in mind, though, that short bursts of exercise are meant to supplement, not replace, your regular fitness routine.

Here are simple, practical ways to work exercise into your day even when you’re short on time:

Around the House

1. When you go outside to pick up your morning newspaper, take a brisk 5-minute power walk up the street in one direction and back in the other.

2. If you’re housebound caring for a sick child or grandchild, hop on an exercise bike or do a treadmill workout while your ailing loved one naps.

3. Try 5 to 10 minutes of jumping jacks. (A 150-pound woman can burn 90 calories in one 10-minute session.)

4. Cooking dinner? Do standing push-ups while you wait for a pot to boil. Stand about an arm’s length from the kitchen counter, and push your arms against the counter. Push in and out to get toned arms and shoulders.

5. After dinner, go outside and play tag or shoot baskets with your kids and their friends.

6. Just before bed or while you’re giving yourself a facial at night, do a few repetitions of some dumbbell exercises, suggests exercise instructor Sheila Cluff, owner and founder of The Oaks at Ojai and The Palms, in Palm Springs, CA, who keeps a set of free weights on a shelf in front of her bathroom sink.

Photo Source

 

 

How to Fit Exercise Into Your Lunch Break

Image

For many of us, life during the day is largely spent in a chair at a desk. The sedentary nature of our jobs can lead to negative effects on our bodies; many of us develop poor posture and back and neck pain as a result of long hours spent at a desk.

Enter your lunch break. Most of us get one of these. Some of us only get 15 minutes, while others of us may have the luxury of an hour. Regardless of the specific duration, you can incorporate exercise into your midday break. Here’s how:

Make the Time!

  • Bring your lunch to work. If your lunch is already in your work space, you don’t have to travel anywhere to obtain food, freeing up more time for exercise.
  • If you have a short lunch break, consider eating your lunch slowly over time while you work and reserve your break time for exercise.

Bring on the Exercise!

  • Keep a good pair of athletic shoes at work. Don’t rely on yourself to remember to bring them each day. Your morning routine is likely busy enough. Instead, simply keep a pair of sneakers at your office so they are always there when you need them.
  • If you are fortunate enough to have your own office, you have privacy, and many more options for exercise. Consider keeping a set of dumbbells in your office and complete 3 rounds of 10 reps of bicep curls or tricep kickbacks.
  • Wall squats are another easy way to get some exercise into your work day. Simply find a wall, place your back against it, and slide down into a squat position, keeping your back firmly pressed to the wall. Hold the pose for 30 seconds.
  • A lot of offices have stairs. Spend 10 minutes of your day walking up and down stairs. Challenge yourself and work up to increasing your speed as you climb over time.

With a little creativity, you can easily find ways to enjoy your lunch AND get a little exercise in your day too!

Photo Source: http://www.everydayhealth.com/weight-pictures/10-ways-to-exercise-at-work-1028.aspx#/slide-10

Walking Toward Improved Fitness

Image

Even those of us with some physical ailments are able to walk. And most of us do it everyday. We walk to the mailbox to get our mail. We walk to the bus stop to pick up our kids. We walk through the grocery store to pick out the evening meal. We walk Fido to make sure he gets his exercise for the day. Did you ever think of taking yourself for a walk?

A person of virtually any fitness level can enjoy a good walk. It’s easy, inexpensive (only a good pair of sneakers is required) and you can do it anywhere. Cold and snowy day? Take your walk in the local mall. Warmer temperatures and no precipitation? Take your walk outdoors. You choose your own destination, your own pace and how long or short your walk will be. The best part of walking? At any pace, in any location, for any distance, it is still exercise.

For those of you who want to begin walking for exercise, set a small goal to start, keeping in mind your own fitness level and limitations. An example of a small goal is the following: I will walk at a moderate pace for 15 minutes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of this week. Try to vary where your walks take place to avoid boredom. If Monday is a busy day for you, take your walk in your neighborhood or around your office building. If you have more time on Wednesday, take your walk in a local park. If it rains on Friday, take your walk on a treadmill at the gym, in the mall, or in your place of employment. Again, the beauty of walking as a form of exercise is that you can do it anywhere.

For those of you who are already on the move, perhaps now is the time to push yourself further. Choose a walking trail or path that includes hills. Pick up your pace and keep track of your mileage to set new goals. Bring arm weights along on your walk and incorporate exercises with small weights into your walking routine. You will be surprised at how these small changes can really boos your walking workout.

This weekend in Annapolis, we will finally be enjoying a break from the freezing cold temperatures this winter has brought to our area. With the exception of a 40 degree Sunday, the temperature will be IN THE 50s, Saturday, Monday and Tuesday!  Let’s go on a walk!

Resources:

Anne Arundel County Parks & Trails

Family-Friendly Outdoor Trails 

4 Ways to Boost Your Walking Workout

Top 10 Best Walking Shoes 

Photo Source:

http://www.usedeverywhere.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/walking-shoes-530.jpg

4 Tips for Running Faster

Image

For those of you who run as your main form of exercise, seeing other runners effortlessly zip by you may find you frustrated at times with your own pace. Running itself takes a lot of stamina; running faster naturally requires more. Here are some tips from FitDay.com for ways you can gradually pick up the pace of your run.

1. Add to Your Turnover Rate

In running, your turnover rate refers to the speed with which you lift your feet up off of the ground. Generally speaking, the faster that your turnover rate is, the faster that you’ll go. One of the best ways to improve your overall running pace is to work on building up your turnover rate so that you improve it as well. You can do this by running a set distance or time at a pace that is somewhat challenging for you and counting each time your left foot hits the ground. After resting for a few minutes, try the same distance or time again and work on having a slightly higher number of foot hits. Remember, even one or two additional foot hits is an improvement.

2. Make Use of a Tempo Run

A tempo run is a type of training regimen that is used by athletes for a variety of different sports and activities. It consists of a short period of warming up at a slower speed, followed by a medium length interval of medium-hard to hard running, followed by another interval, equal to the first, of cooling down at a comfortable speed. By mixing a tempo run of 20 minutes or so in with your standard running regimen at least once per week, you can improve your overall speed over time.

3. Try an Interval Run

An interval run pushes your body’s tolerance for lactic acid buildup by continuing to work you out without allowing time to refresh or cool down completely in between different intervals. After a short warm up, try running at a fairly fast pace for 1 to 2 minutes, then walk or jog slowly for another 30 seconds to 1 minute. Repeat this combination of hard runs and slower recovery periods for a total of between 2 and 5 times. Eventually, your body will become more accustomed to operating at the higher exercise threshold, and you’ll be able to push yourself to run faster.

4. Lose Weight

One of the best ways to help improve your speed is to lose a bit of weight. This is true only if you’re over your ideal weight, as losing excess weight beyond that may actually cause you to lose muscle mass and speed as well.