The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is holding its second annual fitness and health week—focused on stress management modalities, meditation and yoga—September 8–11, 2009. The event is dedicated to improving the well-
being of NIH employees, local community residents and those farther afield. The program is free and open to the public. After the success of last year’s premiere event, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services designated September as National
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, ranking above cancer and stroke. Additionally, hypertension, commonly referred to as “high blood pressure,” is the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S. (Kung et al. 2008). It is therefore important for all health and fitness professionals to be informed about the methods available to help support heart health.
Mind-Body Approaches to Stress and Cardiovascular Health
Challenging times can initiate feelings of distress and unease among employees. But instead of operating from fear, suggests
Terry Barber, vice president and senior strategist for Grizzard Communication Group, those in management should choose
a more inspirational path. “Focusing on raising the inspiration factor through developing people yields incredible value for stakeholders, customers and employees alike,” states Barber.
But how do you up your inspiration levels? Barber offers seven steps for inspiring your employees:
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, ranking above cancer and stroke. Additionally, hypertension, commonly referred to as “high blood pressure,” is the 13th leading cause of death in the U.S. (Kung et al. 2008). It is therefore important for all health and fitness professionals to be informed about the methods available to help support cardiovascular health.
Recently, as co-chair of a medical conference on the metabolic syndrome and dyslipidemia, I seized the chance to slip a short discussion of yoga-based lifestyle research into a long day of clinical trial expositions that mostly focused on lipid-lowering drug studies. I felt somewhat meek describing a number of relatively small studies, all done on small budgets, while most clinical trials being discussed were 50- to 200-million-dollar studies sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry or the National Institutes of Health [NIH].
Economic woes have been unrelenting over the past months. For 8 in 10 Americans, money is a top source of stress, according to the American Psychological Association’s [APA] 2008 Stress in America Survey, and negative financial news continues to fuel people’s fears.
Music that makes you happy also benefits your cardiovascular system. That encouraging finding emerged from a small study presented in November 2008 at the Scientific Sessions of the American Heart Association in New Orleans. Ten study participants, who listened to self-selected tunes that “made them feel good and brought them a sense of joy,” experienced a healthy increase in blood flow that improved circulation, according to researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore.
To help United States citizens reduce stress during difficult economic times, Les Mills offered interested participants a free class at varying health and fitness facilities during December 2008. Part of the nationwide “Stress Less America: Elect to Change, Vote for Yourself” campaign, the health-conscious program was designed to highlight the stress-busting effects of exercise. “One exercise session alone can generate 90–120 minutes of relaxation response,” stated Les Mills creative director Jackie Mills, MD.
Transcendental meditation may improve mental health by reducing anxiety and somatisation (development of physical symptoms stemming from mental or emotional stress). That was the finding of a study published in Clinical Practice and Epidemiology in Mental Health (2008; 4 ; doi:10.1186/1745–0179–4–25).
Actively cultivating compassion engenders positive feelings. The ancient Buddhist practice of “loving-kindness meditation,” also known as metta, consists of a technique where a person directs compassion and wishes for well-being to real or imagined people and as a result experiences positive feelings and kindness toward him- or herself and others.