The Science Behind Adaptogens


Stress has real physical consequences that can weigh on your health. That’s where Adaptogens come in. These are plants that produce special substances originally intended to help them to adapt to and overcome stressors in their own environments. In humans, Adaptogens work by normalizing the body’s functions and taking them daily improves mental and physical performance while reducing fatigue.

 

Thanksgiving Newsletter 2014

Happy Thanksgiving –

At this time of feast, harvest and joy I want to truly express my thanks to all of you for your support of possibilities, dreams and a better way.

My beautiful friend Mr. Turkey is really a reminder to appreciate what we are celebrating because so many others do not, while, remembering to just enjoy the holiday –

We have a plan for after that releases that 10 pounds once the scale shows the 10 pounds on Monday morning,

So many of you have asked for “the holiday cleanse” so here it is!!!.

Now if you want the customized daily coaching go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/freedomteamcoaching/ on Face Book and follow along.

Or if you want to receive a personalize email – okay just tell me so before Sunday November 30th send in the subject line: Coaching Holiday Cleanse at askmicheletoday@gmail.com  and you will have it.

Again Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family,

Michele Foster

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10 Ways to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

Experts say portion control is key when the temptations are endless.

It’s that time of year when extra calories lurk around every corner — frosted cookies at the office, eggnog at your neighbor’s, jelly doughnuts for Hanukkah or chocolates in your stocking. All these extras add up, and if you’re like most Americans, you’ll put on a pound or two by New Year’s Day.

So what’s the harm in a little holiday weight gain, especially if it’s just a pound? According to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays. The pounds add up year after year, making holiday weight gain an important factor in adult obesity.

But you don’t have to fall into this trap. It is possible to enjoy holiday goodies without putting on a single pound. “Portion control is the key,” says Susan Finn, PhD, RD. Finn serves as chairwoman of the American Council for Fitness and Nutrition. “I don’t believe you can’t eat food that you like — even indulgences — but it is the amount you eat,” she tells WebMD.

Of course, it’s not easy to go on portion patrol when the temptations are endless. That’s why WebMD compiled these tips to help you avoid overindulging.

Continue reading…

How To Fit Exercise Into Your Routine (No Matter How Busy You Are)

We all know by now that maintaining an active lifestyle should be one of our top priorities in life. Only by taking care of ourselves do we stand a chance of being the kind of person we strive to be on the job, at home with our loved ones and in our communities. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.

Work, in particular, can get in the way of working out — in fact, there is a big paradox going on, and it becomes more obvious the more challenging (and exciting!) a job gets: On one hand, we struggle to find time to work out; on the other, we can’t afford tonot exercise because it is integral to sustained success.

My co-author and I sought to get to the heart of this paradox — and figure out how to beat it — when we wrote Winning Without Losing: 66 Strategies for Building a Wildly Successful Business While Living a Happy and Balanced Life. We interviewed 25 high-powered workers from around the world who somehow manage to exemplify healthy work-life balance. Based on these interviews, we’ve put together six tips for how to fit exercise into your daily routine — no matter how busy you are with work.

Continue reading…

John_F._Kennedy,physical fitnessThe List: Facts about President John F. Kennedy’s love of sports

Although he had medical problems throughout his life, President John F. Kennedy was an avid sportsman who always projected an image of vigor. As America remembers JFK on the 50th anniversary of his assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, The List takes a look at President Kennedy and his love of sports.

  • 10. Cover boy — President-elect Kennedy was on the cover of the Dec. 26, 1960, Sports Illustrated. In the magazine, he wrote an article on the importance of exercise and participating in sports and physical activity, particularly among young people. He ended the article by writing, “We do not want our children to become a generation of spectators. Rather, we want each of them to be a participant in the vigorous life.”
  • 9. Meeting the champ — In 1962, President Kennedy met reigning world heavyweight champion Floyd Patterson at the White House to help bring attention to the Big Brother program, a youth mentoring program (now called Big Brothers Big Sisters). Kennedy boxed while at Harvard in the 1930s. At that time, boxing was required of every undergraduate.

Continue Reading…

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Beyond The Ego: 6 Ways To Replace Mental Clutter With Happiness

Source: finerminds.com ~ By
ego

Each of us has two voices that, from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep, speak to us. One of the voices shouts; the other voice whispers. They lurch behind you like a shadow and give conflicting advice. One is the Ego; the other is the Higher Self

What is the Ego?

It is your reactive, attached mind. Holding onto the past and worrying about the future, it is the self-deprecating voice that tells you that you are a victim of circumstance. The Ego cannot create; it only reacts. “The world is random and accidental, and so is your life,” the Ego says. The Ego is the cause of all pride and insecurity. Luckily, you have another voice to follow – your Higher Self.

What is the Higher Self?

I guess you could call it your intuition, but it is actually much more. We all have an inner guide, the eternal part of our being that is not restricted to time, space or external circumstances. This guide is our Higher Self, and gives us wisdom beyond our intelligence and helps us overcome the Ego’s self-imposed limitations. How do you find your Higher Self? By shutting up, surrendering the Ego’s agenda, and listening.

“When Ego is lost, limit is lost.” –Yogi Bhajan

Our Ego talks a lot. Loudly. And most of what it tells us, including thoughts of worry and doubt, is mental clutter. If we’re not careful, we can mistake the Ego’s lies for truth.

Below are six lies the Ego tells us, and comebacks from the Higher Self that will replace the Ego’s mental clutter with happiness.

Beyond The Ego: 6 Ways To Replace Mental Clutter With Happiness

Do you want to be more creative? Do you want a career that aligns with your purpose? If so, the first step is mastering your Ego.

Mastering your Ego means trusting your intuition even when every external signal points to the contrary. The Ego cannot be mastered overnight. It will push, pull and cry like a baby for your attention. But if you remain alert to the clutter of your mind, listening to your Ego but never identifying with it, the results – including happiness, success and creativity – are worth the fight.

10 Important Reasons to Start Making Time for Silence, Rest and Solitude

Source: huffingtonpost.com ~ Author: Thai Nguyen
It’s amazing how tuned out we become to the motor of the air-conditioner and refrigerator — the sudden silence is a startling reprieve. Likewise, we become numb to the buzz of our technology saturated world.

Smartphone users check their device every 6.5 minutes, which works out to around 150 times a day. Silence is replaced with a cacophony of communication, and solitude is replaced with social media.

Indeed they’re an endangered species: silence and solitude; yet great revelations and benefits are found in them. Here are ten:

1. Bypassing Burnout
Too often, our culture assigns self-worth with productivity. Whether it’s asking what your country can do for you, or what you can do for your country, the question remains — what can be done? It’s a one-way ticket to burnout.

Solitude allows for a break from the tyrant of productivity. And rather than being in opposition, doing nothing helps with doing much. Promega is a company with on-the-job “third spaces” where employees are able to take solitude breaks and meditate in natural light. The health benefits have resulted in improved productivity levels for the company. And will do the same for us.

2. Heightened Sensitivity 
For many, attempting ten days of silence would be akin to walking on water. Vipassana silent retreats are exactly that; participants are instructed to refrain from reading, writing, or eye contact.

One hundred scientists went on a retreat for research and noted that shutting off the faculty of speech heightens awareness in other areas. Beginning with breathing, that focus and sensitivity is then transferred to sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, intentions, and emotions.

3. Dissolving Tomorrow’s Troubles 
Alan Watts argues that our frustration and anxiety is rooted in being disconnected — living in the future, which is but an illusion.

Silence brings our awareness back to the present — where concrete happiness is experienced. Watts makes the distinction between our basic and ingenious consciousness; the latter makes predictions based on our memories, which seem so real to the mind that we’re caught in a hypothetical abstraction. It plans out our lives with an abstract happiness, but an abstract happiness is a very real disappointment.

The future falls short of what the present can deliver. Silence and solitude pulls us out and immerses us back in the present.

4. Improves Memory
Combining solitude with a walk in nature causes brain growth in the hippocampus region, resulting in better memory.

Evolutionists explain that being in nature sparks our spatial memory as it did when our ancestors went hunting — remembering where the food and predators were was essential for survival. Taking a walk alone gives the brain uninterrupted focus and helps with memory consolidation.

5. Strengthens Intention and Action
Psychologist Kelly McGonigal says during silence, the mind is best able to cultivate a form of mindful intention that later motivates us to take action.

Intentional silence puts us in a state of mental reflection and disengages our intellectual mind. At that point McGonigal says to ask yourself three questions:

  • “If anything were possible, what would I welcome or create in my life?”
  • “When I’m feeling most courageous and inspired, what do I want to offer the world?”
  • “When I’m honest about how I suffer, what do I want to make peace with?”

Removing that critical mind allows the imagination and positive emotions to build a subconscious intention and add fuel to our goals. McGonigal explains, “When you approach the practice of figuring this stuff out in that way, you start to get images and memories and ideas that are different than if you tried to answer those questions intellectually.”
6. Increases Self-Awareness
The visceral reaction of cussing at a loved one or over-disciplining our children often comes with regret. It happens when we’re completely governed by actions, and absent of reasonable thought.

In silence, we make room for the self-awareness to be in control of our actions, rather than under their control. The break from external voices puts us in tune to our inner voices — and it’s those inner voices that drive our actions. Awareness leads to control.

Practice becoming an observer of your thoughts. The human will is strengthened whenever we choose not to respond to every actionable thought.

7. Grow Your Brain
The brain is the most complex and powerful organ, and like muscles, benefits from rest. UCLA research showed that regular times set aside to disengage, sit in silence, and mentally rest, improves the the “folding” of the cortex and boosts our ability to process information.

Carving out as little as 10 minutes to sit in your car and visualize peaceful scenery (rainforest, snow-falling, beach) will thicken grey matter in your brain.

8. “A-Ha” Moments
The creative process includes a crucial stage called incubation, where all the ideas we’ve been exposed to get to meet, mingle, marinate — then produce a eureka or “A-ha” moment. The secret to incubation? Nothing. Literally; disengage from the work at hand, and take a rest. It’s also the elixir for mental blocks.

What’s typically seen as useless daydreaming is now being seen as an essential experience. Professor Jonathan Schooler from UC Santa Barbara says, “Daydreaming and boredom seem to be a source for incubation and creative discovery in the brain.”

9. Mastering Discomfort
Just when you’ve found a quiet place to sit alone and reflect, an itch will beckon to be scratched. But many meditation teachers will encourage you to refrain, and breath into the experience until it passes. Along with bringing your mind back from distracting thoughts and to your breathing, these practices during silence and solitude work to build greater self-discipline.

10. Emotional Cleansing
Our fight/flight mechanism causes us to flee not only from physical difficulties, but also emotional difficulties. Ignoring and burying negative emotions however, only causes them to manifest in stress, anxiety, anger, and insomnia.

Strategies to release emotional turbulence include sitting in silence and thinking in detail about what triggered the negative emotion. The key is to do so as an observer — stepping outside of yourself as if you’re reporting for a newspaper. It’s a visualization technique used by psychotherapists to detach a person from their emotions, which allows you to process an experience objectively and rationally.

Newsletter, 11/10/2014

 

Time Freedom, Money to Live and Health to Play!

This really brings to light my own personal story and my passion.

My Dad retired at 55 years old with an amazing pension from a corporation he worked for – for 35 years. Oh for the good ole days . . .

He plays golf, cards, he fishes, socializes and travels.

It’s great that he’s been given time, freedom and money, however, he needed health and now he has that too.

My parents have it all and now they even have another income stream that they do not go to work for, they just share with others looking for the same level of health and energy that they enjoy.

Imagine – Health and Money to live on – they all have time at that age!

Young people have lots of health, but no time and no money…

 Baby Boomers have some time some money and some health…

What I propose is to have it all – Be Fit, Be Fabulous and Be Financially Free.

If one or two (or three) areas of this note encourages you to look more in to what I have to offer – please feel free to contact me at askmicheletoday@gmail.com

Think about this:

Do today what others won’t, so you will have a tomorrow that other’s don’t.

Be Healthy & Happy,

Michele Foster

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The 50-Plus Job Market: 5 Trends to Watch

Source: retirementrevised.com ~ Author: Mark Miller

Working longer is a mantra these days for many Americans hoping to build greater retirement security. Staying on the job even a few years beyond traditional retirement age makes it easier to delay filing for Social Security; it also can mean more years contributing to retirement accounts and fewer years of depending on nest eggs for living expenses.

But since the Great Recession, staying employed has been easier said than done for all workers. The economy has continued to mend gradually, and the job market has improved. How are older workers faring? The picture is mixed.

More older workers are participating in the labor force, and they experience lower unemployment rates than younger workers. Still, problems remain. Most workers think age discrimination by employers is commonplace. And older workers who do lose their jobs tend to be out of work longer and earn less when they do secure new employment.

If you’re in the ramp-up years to retirement and aspire to stay employed past traditional retirement age, here are five key trends to watch.

Read More…

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The biggest surprises in retirement? The experts weigh in

Source: Rueters.com ~ Author: Mark Miller

The Great Recession served up some nasty financial surprises to people approaching retirement – the housing crash, job loss and shrunken 401(k)s, for starters.

But retirement can bring lifestyle surprises, too. It’s one of life’s biggest transitions, and a major leap into the unknown. Hoping to lessen the guesswork for people who aren’t there yet, I asked experts who work with people transitioning to retirement about the surprises they hear about most often.

“Time freedom” is a shock for many, says Richard Leider, an executive career coach and co-author of “Life Reimagined: Discovering Your New Life Possibilities” (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2013).

“Without the time structure of working, folks often go on autopilot, the default position of repeating old patterns,” he says. “However, there is no status in the status quo. So, at about the one-year mark, they realize that time is their most precious currency. Often a wake-up call – health, relationships, money or caregiving – forces reflection and helps them to say ‘no’ to the less important things that simply clutter up a life and ‘yes’ to the more important things that define a purposeful life. They choose fulfilling time.”

Read more…

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Flexibility Exercises

Source: nihseniorhealth.gov

To get all of the benefits of physical activity, try all four types of exercise — endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility. This section discusses flexibility exercises.“““

More Freedom of Movement

Stretching, or flexibility, exercises are an important part of your physical activity program. They give you more freedom of movement for your physical activities and for everyday activities such as getting dressed and reaching objects on a shelf. Stretching exercises can improve your flexibility but will not improve your endurance or strength.

Flexibility Exercises to Try

The 12 flexibility exercises which follow are:

  1. neck stretch
  2. shoulder stretch
  3. shoulder and upper arm raise
  4. upper body stretch
  5. chest stretch
  6. back stretch
  7. ankle stretch
  8. back of leg stretch
  9. thigh stretch
  10. hip stretch
  11. lower back stretch
  12. calf stretch

How Much Stretching Should I Do?

Do each stretching exercise 3 to 5 times at each session. Slowly stretch into the desired position, as far as possible without pain, and hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Relax, breathe, then repeat, trying to stretch farther.

You can progress in your stretching exercises. For example, as you become more flexible, try reaching farther, but not so far that it hurts.

Safety Tips

  • Talk with your doctor if you are unsure about a particular exercise. For example, if you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before doing lower body exercises.
  • Always warm up before stretching exercises and stretch after endurance or strength exercises. If you are doing only stretching exercises, warm up with a few minutes of easy walking first. Stretching your muscles before they are warmed up may result in injury.
  • Always remember to breathe normally while holding a stretch.
  • Stretching may feel slightly uncomfortable; for example, a mild pulling feeling is normal.
  • You are stretching too far if you feel sharp or stabbing pain, or joint pain — while doing the stretch or even the next day. Reduce the stretch so that it doesn’t hurt.
  • Never “bounce” into a stretch. Make slow, steady movements instead. Jerking into position can cause muscles to tighten, possibly causing injury.
  • Avoid “locking” your joints. Straighten your arms and legs when you stretch them, but don’t hold them tightly in a straight position. Your joints should always be slightly bent while stretching.

Neck Stretch

  1. You can do this stretch while standing or sitting in a sturdy chair.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Slowly turn your head to the right until you feel a slight stretch. Be careful not to tip or tilt your head forward or backward, but hold it in a comfortable position.
  4. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  5. Turn your head to the left and hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Shoulder Stretch

  1. Stand back against a wall, feet shoulder-width apart and arms at shoulder height.
  2. Bend your elbows so your fingertips point toward the ceiling and touch the wall behind you. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort, and stop immediately if you feel sharp pain.
  3. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4. Let your arms slowly roll forward, remaining bent at the elbows, to point toward the floor and touch the wall again, if possible. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort.
  5. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Alternate pointing above head, then toward hips.
  7. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Shoulder and Upper Arm Raise

  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Hold one end of a towel in your right hand.
  3. Raise and bend your right arm to drape the towel down your back. Keep your right arm in this position and continue holding on to the towel.
  4. Reach behind your lower back and grasp the towel with your left hand.
  5. To stretch your right shoulder, pull the towel down with your left hand. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort in your right shoulder.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.
  7. Reverse positions, and repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Upper Body Stretch

  1. Stand facing a wall slightly farther than arm’s length from the wall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lean your body forward and put your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
  3. Keeping your back straight, slowly walk your hands up the wall until your arms are above your head.
  4. Hold your arms overhead for about 10 to 30 seconds.
  5. Slowly walk your hands back down.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Chest Stretch

  1. You can do this stretch while standing or sitting in a sturdy, armless chair.
  2. Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  3. Hold arms to your sides at shoulder height, with palms facing forward.
  4. Slowly move your arms back, while squeezing your shoulder blades together. Stop when you feel a stretch or slight discomfort.
  5. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

Back Stretch

  1. Sit up toward the front of a sturdy chair with armrests. Stay as straight as possible. Keep your feet flat on the floor, shoulder-width apart.
  2. Slowly twist to the left from your waist without moving your hips. Turn your head to the left. Lift your left hand and hold on to the left arm of the chair. Place your right hand on the outside of your left thigh. Twist farther, if possible.
  3. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4. Slowly return to face forward.
  5. Repeat on the right side.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 more times.

Ankle Stretch

  1. Sit securely toward the edge of a sturdy, armless chair.
  2. Stretch your legs out in front of you.
  3. With your heels on the floor, bend your ankles to point toes toward you.
  4. Hold the position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  5. Bend ankles to point toes away from you and hold for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.

How to Get Down on the Floor

The following stretching exercises are done on the floor. To get down on the floor:

  1. Stand facing the seat of a sturdy chair.
  2. Put your hands on the seat, and lower yourself down on one knee.
  3. Bring the other knee down.
  4. Put your left hand on the floor. Leaning on your hand, slowly bring your left hip to the floor. Put your right hand on the floor next to your left hand to steady yourself, if needed.
  5. You should now be sitting with your weight on your left hip.
  6. Straighten your legs.
  7. Bend your left elbow until your weight is resting on it. Using your right hand as needed for support, straighten your left arm. You should now be lying on your left side.
  8. Roll onto your back.

If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before using this method.

How to Get Up From the Floor

To get up from the floor:

  1. Roll onto your left side.
  2. Place your right hand on the floor at about the level of your ribs and use it to push your shoulders off the floor. Use your left hand to help lift you up, as needed.
  3. You should now be sitting with your weight on your left hip.
  4. Roll forward, onto your knees, leaning on your hands for support.
  5. Reach up and lean your hands on the seat of a sturdy chair.
  6. Lift one of your knees so that one leg is bent, foot flat on the floor.
  7. Leaning your hands on the seat of the chair for support, rise from this position.

If you’ve had hip or back surgery, talk with your doctor before using this method.

Back of Leg Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with left knee bent and left foot flat on the floor.
  2. Raise right leg, keeping knee slightly bent.
  3. Reach up and grasp right leg with both hands. Keep head and shoulders flat on the floor.
  4. Gently pull right leg toward your body until you feel a stretch in the back of your leg.
  5. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.
  7. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times with left leg.

Thigh Stretch

  1. Lie on your side with legs straight and knees together.
  2. Rest your head on your arm.
  3. Bend top knee and reach back and grab the top of your foot. If you can’t reach your foot, loop a resistance band, belt, or towel over your foot and hold both ends.
  4. Gently pull your leg until you feel a stretch in your thigh.
  5. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.
  7. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times with your other leg.

Hip Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Try to keep both shoulders on the floor throughout the stretch.
  2. Slowly lower one knee as far as you comfortably can. Keep your feet close together and try not to move the other leg.
  3. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4. Bring knee back up slowly.
  5. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times.
  6. Repeat at least 3 to 5 times with your other leg.

Lower Back Stretch

  1. Lie on your back with your legs together, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor. Try to keep both arms and shoulders flat on the floor throughout the stretch.
  2. Keeping knees bent and together, slowly lower both legs to one side as far as you comfortably can.
  3. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds.
  4. Bring legs back up slowly and repeat toward other side.
  5. Continue alternating sides for at least 3 to 5 times on each side.

Calf Stretch

  1. Stand facing a wall slightly farther than arm’s length from the wall, feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Put your palms flat against the wall at shoulder height and shoulder-width apart.
  3. Step forward with right leg and bend right knee. Keeping both feet flat on the floor, bend left knee slightly until you feel a stretch in your left calf muscle. It shouldn’t feel uncomfortable. If you don’t feel a stretch, bend your right knee until you do.
  4. Hold position for 10 to 30 seconds, and then return to starting position.
  5. Repeat with left leg.
  6. Continue alternating legs for at least 3 to 5 times on each leg.

 

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