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Yesterday, June 19 the moon started a new cycle of waxing.  The Summer Solstice is today, at 4:09 pm/pst,  the longest day of the year!

What actions, cycles and thoughts do you want to put in motion at this time of new beginnings?  By your thoughts and actions you create an expectancy.

What are you drawing to yourself?

What are you inviting into your life?

What creative impulses are you ready to initiate?

Is your Life enhanced by your thoughts?

Take an inventory right now.  Simple question:  What would you like to bring to fruition this summer?

Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually?

A teacher of mine reminds me to do 5 simple things on a weekly basis:

Exercise

Have fun

Use Creativity outside of work – singing, dancing, gardening, cooking, entertaining, etc.

Gratitude – every morning – Thank you for my health.  Thank you for my family.  Thank you…

Journal of accomplishments:  write in a small book one or two sentences regarding your accomplishments for the day.  Feel into how good it felt to…finish a project, negotiate a deal, resolve an issue. Give yourself kudos for showing up.

The bumble bee pictured above was literally rolling in the California Poppy flower’s pollen.  I watched it move from blossom to blossom rolling in the beds of pollen.  It looked like fun!   You go bee!

What is your pollen?  What feeds you? What activities, relationships, pollinate you?  Make you flower?

The moments matter:  when nature ripples through you.  Those moments of being filled…with beauty, with the “A Ha”, with awe invite a cellular response.  These moments are health enhancing.

The following is a guided meditation that can be done seated.  Find a comfortable chair and allow yourself a few moments with your phone ringer turned off.

Seated comfortably imagine yourself closing your eyes.  Draw a protective circle around yourself, this is your private space.  Take a moment to breathe and center.  Tune into your internal space by breathing consciously.

Feel your feet anchored to the ground, spreading into the surface of the floor; feel the floor respond by holding your feet.  Drop an imaginary tap-root down out of your tail bone.  Let it slowly descend to the center of the earth.  Allow your shoulders to relax, to move away from your ear lobes.  As you breathe in, imagine the Earth’s energy rising and filling you.  As you exhale release fatigue and any uneasiness.  Imagine these seeping out of your body and dissipating into the Earth.  Breathe in the energy of the water and the minerals of the Earth.  Breathe these up through your legs into your trunk.

Feel your solar plexus area, directly behind your navel.  Inhale and breathe in the energy of the Sun/Light into this area of your body.  Feel the warmth, power and brightness.  Nourish yourself by breathing in this sun energy in just the right amount for you today, this new season, this time in your life.  As you exhale imagine any discomfort, tiredness being released at your lower back.  Do this a few times.  Fill your Solar Plexus and empty out.

Feel the energy rising up and spilling over your shoulders, rising up past the top of your head. Take a deep inhalation and feel the air element as it fills you.

Feed yourself with these elements.  Feel your strength, your grace, your place on Earth.  Notice that which is grounded in you.  See your self blossoming, producing, exchanging, communicating, living.   Allow the movement.  What needs to fall away, to be expressed?  You as a living entity experience the cycles of the Seasons.  Acknowledge and embrace these cycles.  Feel the growth enfolding within you!

Gently open your eyes and notice how your feel.

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

Live in your body and celebrate your Life!

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When I work with clients I usually am told, “I have a healthy diet; I eat pretty well most of the time.”  I of course want to know what a “healthy diet” means to that person.  And, I want to know what constitutes the “the other time”.

Our tongue has taste receptors for sweet, sour, salty, and bitter.  Which of these tastes are you inclined towards?  Do you reach for a chocolate croissante i.e., ‘sweet’ on the taste scale  or chips, i.e., ‘salty’ on the taste scale?  It takes our brain about 15 minutes to register that we are getting full.  If we are hungry when we start eating, chances are we will eat more.  If we eat 3 meals a day and 2 healthy snacks we will probably make better food choices and eat less.  Reach for an apple for a snack to satisfy that sweet craving.  Several years ago I heard economist, Paul Zane Pilzer speak at a fitness conference I attended.  He is the author of the book, The Wellness Revolution.  I was struck by his comments on the food industry driving our nutrition through both television adds and fast food restaurants.  What impressed me was his message that natural food, such as an apple or a banana is balanced with sugar and fiber.  If we eat a banana we may reach for a second, but probably never a third.  Our brain signals, “Enough”.  However, he pointed out that fast food is designed in the opposite manner.  The combination of high fat and high salt content signals our brain to want more and/or bigger.

According to the ancient Ayurvedic system as described by the  Eat~ Taste~Heal website, there are 6 tastes:  sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent and astringent.  This system further classifies each taste as having a primary function.  See chart below:

Sweet
Builds tissues, calms nerves
Fruit, grains, natural sugars, milk
Sour
Cleanses tissues, increases absorption of minerals
Sour fruits, yogurt, fermented foods
Salty
Improves taste to food, lubricates tissues, stimulates digestion
Natural salts, sea vegetables
Bitter
Detoxifies and lightens tissues
Dark leafy greens, herbs and spices
Pungent
Stimulates digestion and metabolism
Chili peppers, garlic, herbs and spices
Astringent
Absorbs water, tightens tissues, dries fats
Legumes, raw fruits and vegetables, herbs

A well rounded diet supplies these flavors in ever changing combinations.  Eating the same foods, flavors, over and over can be limiting.

Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter..and Umani?

Our sense of taste was the topic on a recent NPR program, “Krulwich Wonders”,  Sweet Sour Salty Bitter…and Umani.  “A  chemist named Kikunae Ikeda was at the very same time enjoying a bowl of dashi, a classic Japanese soup made from seaweed…But what was it? Being a chemist, Ikeda could find out. He knew what he was tasting was, as he wrote, “common to asparagus, tomatoes, cheese and meat but… not one of the four well-known tastes.” Ikeda went into his lab and found the secret ingredient. He wrote in a journal for the Chemical Society of Tokyo that it was glutamic acid, but he decided to rename it. He called it “umami,” which means “delicious” or “yummy” in Japanese.”

Of course it gets back to…How Much, How Often and of what Quality.

For the person I described in Blog # 3 ‘Let’s talk food’, the “Too Busy to Cook” person who travels and eats out most of the time, I mentioned the  book, “Eat This Not That”.

Another interesting site for understanding the nutrition of our food choices is NuVal.  This site gives food a rating, 1-100, 100 being the best value.  It has a quiz,

Nutrition By The Numbers

Test your knowledge, gives you items from which to choose and then shows you the values according to their rating system.   Kind of like a Dr. Oz show quiz.

An expert tip on the site reads:  “The best way to use the  NuVal® System is to “trade up” from what you’re currently eating to a higher scoring product. Even the smallest jump in scores can have an impact on your health.”  I find the site a bit tedious to use, however it offers sound advice.

It is Spring time, why not try a new flavor.  Are there any categories from the Ayurvedic chart that are lacking in your current diet?  If you are not inclined towards bitter or sour, for instance, there must be one food in this category that you can bring into your diet.

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

In this moment I can fully taste all of the nuances of this flavor.  I can inhale and fully enjoy all of the nuances of my Life, in this moment!

Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  Take a moment to consider your routine.  Do you eat the same foods week after week?  Do you participate in the same activities?

Having a routine is necessary and can be comfortable; it allows us to accomplish all that is required on a day-to-day basis.  Altering your routine can open up new vistas, new ways of approaching your life and even provide uncommon nourishment.

What can you do differently this week?  For instance, if you routinely go to a club and workout on exercise equipment, why not take a class this week,  Zumba, TRX, or indoor cycling?  If you have always wanted to take a yoga class why not put it on your schedule this week?  You get the drift.

If you routinely eat the same foods, try a new food.   All this takes is a little planning. Have you ever made a smoothie for breakfast?  I use a simple recipe which includes water, Vitamineral Green, a frozen banana and 1/4 cup of blueberries (or any other fruit of choice).  I sometimes add a teaspoon of Chia seeds or 1 tablespoon of flax-seed meal.  I personally choose not to add milk or yogurt (dairy) to my smoothie since Greek yogurt with fruit is one of my staples for breakfast on the run.

I love this breakfast from Cynthia Sass’s book,  Cinch:  1/2 cup of Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1 cup of cubed fresh pineapple and 1 teas. of slivered almonds.  Cynthia’s book suggests recipes that include a “lean protein, a plant-based fat, seasoning, produce and a whole grain”.  If you have not tried quinoa, it is an “amino acid rich seed” mild in flavor and a bit crunchy.

Another idea is to eat according to color.  It is a good rule of thumb to choose foods (fruits and vegetables) from the full color spectrum.  I like to walk down the produce aisle and pick fruits and vegetable that appeal to me because of the richness of their color.  Note, these are usually the ones that are in season.   Below is a recipe from the March issue of  Whole Living magazine.  It is gorgeous on the plate:

Roasted Sweet Peppers and Carrots with Orange and Hazelnuts:

2 small orange bell peppers, halved and seeded

5 medium carrots, trimmed, scrubbed, and halved

2 Tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 navel orange, peel and pith removed, sliced

1 clementine, peel and pith removed, sliced

1/4 fresh goat cheese

1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

1 Tbsp sherry vinegar.

Preheat Oven to 425 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet drizzle peppers and carrots with olive and season with salt and pepper.  Roast flipping once until golden brown and tender, about 20 minutes.  Arrange roasted carrots and peppers with the oranges on a platter.  Top with crumbled goat cheese and hazelnuts.  Whisk vinegar and remaining 2 Tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper.  Drizzle over vegetables.

Would love to hear what you did differently; let me know!

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

In this moment I create myself anew!  I savor this moment!  I savor this new experience.

What motivates you to exercise?  Do you exercise to be able to reduce stress, to wear a size (?) belt or dress, to be able to consume more calories, because it is fun, because it makes you feel good, doctor’s orders…I say “Yes” to all of these reasons.

I have one 30 something client who wants to get back to her ideal weight of 105 pounds.  She now tips the scale to 143.  She is almost angry, frustrated probably that she is at her current weight.  When we began to talk about the differences in her lifestyle then and now it was like a light bulb went off in her head.  Then, she had a retail job in which she was on her feet and walking most of her work day.  She walked her daughter to preschool and back.  She walked to the bus because she doesn’t drive.  Now, she has a desk job, her daughter walks with friends to grammar school and her husband drives her to the bus stop.   Need I say more?

How do you weave exercise into your daily life?  This client realizes that she needs to carve out time to exercise if she wants to reach her goal.  My rule:  “Don’t let more than one day go in between some sort of exercise” applies here.  Through further questioning I discovered that this client, when she does exercise, gets on the elliptical machine and goes as fast and as hard as she can until she has to back down.

I gave her the Carl Foster “Can you  Speak Comfortably?” test and ascertained that her maximum heart rate is 210.  She was using speed to drive her heart rate up to 181 bpm and exercising in Zone 4 uncomfortably close to her second threshold. One’s second threshold is a heart rate number that cannot be, by definition, sustained  She had to force herself to exercise because it was not enjoyable.  (Please see my blog #2 for an explanation of Sally Edwards’ heart rate training, Heart Zones.com.)

During the test I monitored her heart rate every 1:30 minutes and asked her the question:  “Can you speak comfortably?”  She would have to recite the Pledge of Allegiance at each interval.  If she can continue, i.e. “speak comfortably”, she then adds another level of resistance and continues.  At a heart rate of 176 she is winded but productive.  This is her sweet spot, a number that is very productive, yet is sustainable.  This is a perceived exertion level of “6” on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the highest.

She does want to ‘work-out’.  She does want that feeling of working hard; I want her to work out smart.  We discussed her zones.  She does not need to improve her speed; she is not interested in athletic performance.  She does want to lose weight and reduce her abdominal fat.  She can do this by working out in Zones 2 and Zones 3, not in Zone 4.

She smiled when I told her this, “Less is more?”

Next I asked her to make a list of 5 favorite foods that she eats on a regular basis.  She cited rice, and said she loved it!  When we looked at the chart, 1 cup of white rice cooked has 205 calories.  She exclaimed that when she works out on the elliptical she burns about 200 calories!  She felt defeated because she eats more than one cup of rice at one sitting and now working out will not help her unless she works out for hours.  I explained that this is not correct.  It is not as simple as calories in and calories out.

Fabio Comana, MA, MS writes in an article in the IDEA Fitness Journal, “One key indicator is the American College of Sports Medicine’s recommendation of 2000 kilocalories (kcal) of exercise per week for successful weight loss, compared with the minimal requirements targeting 1000 kcal per week to improve health”.  He goes on to say that regular exercise is the key.  If you exercise every other day, you will be able to log 2000 kcal if that is your goal, your intention.  I will keep you posted on her progress.

For instance today, I have walked to and from my parked car a total of 6 city blocks and I have taught a yoga class in which I did not participate.  I walked around the room giving instructions.  According to my fitbit I have burned 737 kcal so far today.  I have taken 2836 steps; did I mention 3 of those blocks were up hill?

I give my USF students an activity sheet.  It is a bit old fashioned, in that it is not electronic.  On it I have the days of the week with 8 weeks listed and on the bottom a list of activities.  I ask them to record their activity, the duration and their average heart rate or the highest heart rate during this activity.

If you exercise every other day you have choices.  Perhaps you ski, perhaps you go to your health club, perhaps you take a Zumba class.  It all counts.  At the bottom of the chart are abbreviations for several activities:  Aerobics (AR), Basketball (BB), Cross Country Skiing(CCS), Cycling Indoor(CI), Cycling Outdoor(CO), Dancing(DR), Hiking(HK), etc.  You get the point.  I even include “Read an inspirational Thought”, “Smile/Laugh”, “Heart to Heart with a Friend” because these activities count in our overall wellness profile.

What we can measure, what we can quantify, we can control – we can see and feel the results.

Whispers of the Breath Diva:  I am Healthy; I am Fit!

You Bet!

Fitness can be defined as the ability to respond to environmental and personal challenges in a proactive, not a reactive manner.  Being a biological organism, we are governed by  Circadian Rhythms,  the sun rises and we become active and the sun sets and we become more sedate.  Or do we?  In this age of artificial light and devices that keep us connected and tuned in 24/7 it behooves us to tune into our own personal rhythms.

In the landmark 20 year study conducted by the University of London, “unmanaged reactions to stress” were deemed a more dangerous risk factor for cancer and heart disease than cigarette smoking or eating high cholesterol foods.  I love this quote from Larry Dossey, MD in his book, Space Time and Medicine, “Just as Pavlov’s dogs learned to salivate inappropriately, we have learned to hurry inappropriately.  Our bells have become the watch, the alarm clocks, the morning coffee and the hundreds of self-inflicted expectations we build into our daily routine.  The subliminal message is…TIME IS RUNNING OUT, PLEASE HURRY!”  This book was written before the advent of the internet and smart phones; I wonder what he would say now!!!  The good news is there is an antidote to stress, relaxation.

How do you define ‘fitness’?  Does fitness simply equate to tight abs and lean body composition? Each of us probably has his/her unique definition.  For an older adult fitness may mean continuing to walk without the aid of a “walker” or the ability to walk up a flight of stairs.  For an aspiring tri-athlete it may be finishing the race in the desired time period.

Getting back to my initial definition of fitness, what is the difference between reaction and response in any given situation?  In our sports activities we want quick reactions and response time.  However, if every little traffic incident, a light turning red as we approach an intersection or someone cutting in front of our car on the freeway induces a stress reaction, a release of cortisol and related stress hormones, we could be weakening our systems or worse making ourselves ill.

Stress Hardy:

A study was done on rats in which Rat A was placed in a cage and was given periodic shocks.  Rat A did have a button it could push to stop the shocks.  Rat B was in a cage and like Rat A was given shocks; Rat B did not have a button to stop the shocks.  Rat C was in a cage but received no shocks and of course did not have a button to push.  Which was the healthiest rat?  Go ahead guess before you read the answer.  Rat C, Rat A….

Rat A  was termed, “Stress Hardy”.  We like Rat A get shocked in life; learning to turn off the negative stimulus is one key to a healthy lifestyle.  And, it isn’t just about turning off the negative stimulus;  being proactive is the goal.

Psychologist, Kobasa and Maddi, did a study of 200 business executives at Illinois Bell.  The organization was going through a difficult time, so much so that half of the executives became ill.  The researchers looked for differentiating characteristics in the group that stayed well.  They found strong differences, which they termed “Hardiness”:  Challenge, Commitment and Control.  These characteristics allow us to be proactive.  By viewing the shock(s) as challenge(s) and by committing ourselves to meeting the challenge(s) we can gain control.  This is what I mean by being proactive.

Ralph La Forge, MS, a physiologist, is the managing director of the Duke Lipid Disorder Physician Education Program at Duke University Medical Center, defines the scientific reasons for exercise as:

reduced body fat

reduced blood pressure

increased insulin sensitivity

reduced stress hormones

displacement of unhealthy behaviors

reduced stress reactivity

We all know the feeling of the “endorphin rush”, post exercise increases in the production of endorphins, which are feel-good hormones.  Reduced stress reactivity can be viewed as a necessary part of fitness and health.  Learning how to relax is a necessary skill.

How do we define relaxation?

There are various studies showing that relaxation does not mean tuning out, unresponsiveness or going to sleep.  Active imagination and relaxation are components of fitness.  Fitness and relaxation are synonymous!  The combination of these tools equates wellness.

Herbert Benson, MD coined a term, “The Relaxation Response“.  He discovered that during relaxation several positive physiological responses occur:

Heart rate decreases

Respiratory rate decreases,

Tight muscles ease,

Blood pressure falls,

Brain waves become slower and more synchronized.

Benson and others, including James Gordon who wrote, Manifesto for a New Medicine, have found that regular relaxation not only decreases levels of stress hormones, but also improves immune functioning, diminishes chronic pain, improves mood and even enhances fertility.

We have a built in mechanism to elicit the Relaxation Response, the Breath.  By breathing consciously, by fully exhaling we can RELAX.

Whispers of the Breath Diva:

Notice that as you  – inhale – you activate.  Feel your chest widening and broadening as you inhale.  Breathe in Filling with Energy!  Exhale and let go, give back.  Notice every nuance of your Breath.

When it comes to food there are 3 questions:  how much, how often and of what quality?  I have noticed that my clients fall in to three categories:

  • – “The Minimalist” tends to skip breakfast and eat too few calories.
  • – “The Crave-ers”  crave either sugar or carbohydrates.
  • – “Too Busy to Cook”  grab a meal at a restaurant or take-out food.

No judgment here; I am just stating what I have observed in styles of eating.  At Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, co-founder Deborah Szeksly would say, “Calories in, Calories out”.  ‘Calories in’ is the food we consume.  ‘Calories out’ is our activity level.

How Often:  3 meals + up to 2 snacks

Breakfast is important because your body fasts while you sleep.  Upon waking, your body needs nutrition.  Breakfast is not defined as ham and eggs or an omelette.  Break-fast is the food with which we start our day.  Simply eating breakfast can boost your metabolism  There are many different choices of course.  Greek yogurt with some fresh fruit, perhaps a handful of raw almonds can be an ‘on the go’  breakfast.  You can have it ready to grab as you walk out the door.

When we consume too few calories our body goes into starvation mode and converts muscle into fat, to store.  When we eat regularly our body’s metabolism is enhanced.

How Much:

This is a more complex question.  If I knew your weight, age and Basal Metabolic Rate I could figure the number of total calories that you “should” consume a day to maintain your body composition or to achieve a weight loss goal.  The Fitbit I spoke of in my first blog shows me how many calories I ‘can’ eat based on my activity level on any given day.  There is also a wonderful site, Vitabot on which you can record what you eat.  It displays a report card so that you know what nutrients you are receiving a rich supply of and others your food choices may not include.  There are many other sites as well such as  Caloriecounter and Lance Armstrong’s site, Livestrong.

Ideally, the protein you choose should be about the size of your fist and the other 3/4 of your plate would be complex carbohydrates.  Complex carbohydrates contain fiber and nutrients that are metabolized more slowly than simple sugars.  This helps prevent sudden increases or drops in blood sugar.

“Crave-ers” would benefit from the Glycemic Index.  This lists food based on the amount of insulin that is produced to process that food.  Meat, cheese, strawberries are very low on this scale.  Rice, Basmati for instance is one of the highest.  So do we not eat the foods with the high numbers on this index?  Of course not, we quantify.  Instead of 3 cups of rice how about 1.5 cups with 2 cups of salad?    The same rule applies; what I can quantify I can control.

My rule is, if you crave sugar, eat some protein.  Try it; protein is complex and digests more slowly than sugars.  There is no sudden rise and decline of blood sugar levels.

The quality of our nutrition may suffer when we eat out or grab take-out food on a regular basis.  A good book that delineates chain restaurant choices, if this is your lifestyle, is Eat This, Not That! Thousands of Simple Food Swaps that Can Save You 10, 20, 30 Pounds–or More!

The experts recommend 3 servings of fruits per day and 2/5 cups of vegetables a day.  Fiber plays an important role in our health.  Complex carbohydrates, such as an apple has fiber.  These slow down the release of insulin into your blood stream.  The example I gave above for breakfast could include blueberries and a banana.  Two of the three fruit serving would be satisfied; antioxidants and vitamins abound.

Preparing and eating natural foods can be one of life’s pleasures.  Organic fruits and vegetables are preferred.  Reading labels is very important.  We want to put food, not additives and stabilizers into our systems.  If you can’t pronounce it on the label, you probably don’t want to put it in your body.

You may notice that by being aware of how much, how often and the quality of what you are  eating allows you to adjust so that you feel great!

Whisper of the Breath Diva:  In this moment…I can inhale and nourish myself.

Last time I discussed the ‘health’ related category of activity; now on the the ‘fitness’ level of activity.   Any activity during which you breathe faster and more fully, is a fitness activity.  The term, “aerobic”,  literally means in the presence of oxygen.  It was coined by Kenneth Cooper, MD who founded the Cooper Institute.    Generally speaking during an aerobic fitness activity you would be able to speak freely and have the ability to breath fully both at the same time.  Aerobic movement is a more demanding form of exercise, one which we associate with a steady state of motion such as continuous running, cycling, swimming, rowing, etc.

According to fitness expert Sally Edwards, MA, MBA who created the Heart Zones Training System and  author of 24 training books*,  we can reference percentages of our maximum heart rate in order to workout in appropriate intensity zones.  Maximum heart rate is defined in The Heart Rate Monitor Guidebook by Sally Edwards as, ” the highest number of beats per minute possible for your heart”.  We are never aiming for this number.  However, using simple sub-max field tests that take 10 minutes to estimate our maximum heart rate you can quickly define your cardiac zones.  The ‘health’ activity level would be working out between 50-70% of maximum heart rate.  The ‘fitness’ level of activity ranges from 60-80% of maximum heart rate.

Zone 1 -Healthy Heart is from 50-60% of maximum heart rate;

Zone 2-Temperate Zone is from 60-70% of maximum heart rate;

Zone 3- Aerobic Zone is from 70-80 % of maximum heart rate;

Zone 4 – Threshold Zone is from 80-90 % of maximum heart rate;

Zone 5 – Red Line Zone is from 90-100% of maximum heart rate.

More is not better here; few people – relatively speaking- will ever train in the Red Zone.  This zone is for those that are competitive athletes or performance fitness enthusiasts who want to improve their time.  I have suggested that a person engaging in exercise for health reasons stay between 50-70% of maximum heart rate or Zones 1 and 2.  Those of us that want to exercise to be fit or improve our aerobic fitness will work out in Zones 2 and 3 and possibly with a wee-bit of Zone 4, the Threshold zone.

The heart rate monitor model that I love is The Blink, the flashing zones. I have programmed this new heart rate monitor to blink in the three zones in which I want to work out.  Those three colors are easy Blue zone, moderate Yellow zone, and the hard Red zone. Training enters here, since if I have a goal, I can follow the three “M”s which are to monitor and measure to better manage my workout intensity. After all, don’t you want to know how much exercise you just did? How many calories you just expended? How much time in the easy Blue, moderate Yellow, and hard Red zones?  Even in this fitness level of activity, knowing your exercise intensity can tell you so much about yourself.  For instance what combination of lifestyle habits contributed to your being able to workout intensely?  Where there any stress factors that influenced your workout intensity today.  Is you fitness level improving so that you can maintain a higher heart rate for a longer period of time?

During the period when  I was first discovering the joys of aerobic exercise, I went to a lecture by Covert Bailey, author of the book, Fit or Fat.   He was lecturing and then providing body fat testing.   We were literally weighed under water to determine the percentage fat and the percentage “lean mass” (think bones and muscles) of our body.  He recommended aerobic exercise as a way of reducing body fat; at this time coupling exercise with leanness was a new concept, popular, and it turns out, not quite accurate.

Weight loss, fat loss is one of the primary benefits of doing aerobic exercise and getting fitter.  What are the other benefits?   The number of mitochondria in our cells is increased.  “Mitochondria are the cell’s power producers. They convert energy into forms that are usable by the cell.” Our fat utilization is improved as is the total number of calories burned.

The scientific reasons for exercise, such as reduced body fat, reduced blood pressure, increase in insulin sensitivity may be reasons enough to work out.  What about the other benefits…reduced stress hormones, reduced stress reactivity, improved emotional well-being, and displacement of unhealthy behaviors?

I invite you to discover what your body and your mind are craving…balance, energy, vitality.  You are the author of your lifestyle writing the script everyday!  By designing your own lifestyle menu to include fitness activity on a regular basis,  you can have an immediate psychological lift, a sense of the present.  This will allow you to have a sense of being in control of your life, a centering in a frazzled world and a deeper sense of the meaning in your life.

In this moment I am fully present, awake and ALIVE!

*I recommend that you read Sally Edwards’ The Heart Rate Monitor Guidebook to HZT, Heart Zones Training (pub 2010) or getting her new DVD, “To the Max” on her website: http://www.HeartZones.com or email Staff@heartzones.com