At the age of 40, Seattle-based France Marien, certified instructor and creator of the Remix Workout® app, was taken by ambulance to the hospital, complaining of chest pain. Coming from a family with a history of heart disease, Marien was very frightened and underwent a battery of tests. “The conclusion was quite simple,” she says. “I need to take care of myself. I was stressed out. I had to stop saying yes to everything.”
Scientific understanding of mental health disorders is increasing—and exercise is emerging as a potent healing tool. Evidence has shown that exercise and physical activity can alleviate or help manage symptoms of the two most common disorders—anxiety and depression.
Marie was a client who had long suffered from anxiety. I’d discovered years ago that a walk outside before a strength training workout calmed and focused her mind, resulting in a more effective workout for her and a more positive experience for both of us. When my boss found out, he went ballistic.
R. was carrying 311 pounds on her 5-foot-8-inch frame when she had blood work done at a “Know Your Numbers” workplace event. The results were so grim that the staff volunteered to take her to the hospital. When the doctor told R. that she might not have lived much longer had she not come in immediately, R. realized she owed her life to her employer, Clayton Homes. “Thanks for the wake-up call,” R. said. “I’m now 60 pounds lighter, I feel 10 times better, and I will continue this battle and lose more weight.
Did you know that your brain is incredibly dynamic? It can change its structure and function by adding new neurons, making new connections between neurons and even creating brand-new blood vessels, all in response to exercise.
Jeffrey A. Kleim, PhD, associate professor in the Arizona State University School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering, shares the following insights on how exercise impacts the brain. newsletter_teaser: Did you know that your brain is incredibly dynamic? It can change its structure and function by adding new neurons, making new connections between neurons and even creating brand-new blood vessels, all in response to exercise.
Issues such as the poor economy and smaller work forces are leading more people to work longer hours. Many exercise professionals train clients who work in the fields of health, technology, security, medicine, computer programming, food services and transportation, which often require working evenings and/or night shifts. These professions, and many others, may disturb sleep patterns, compromising cognitive performance and leading to serious health consequences.
What makes us weaken with age? The prime culprit is sarcopenia—age-related loss of muscle mass, strength, power and function (Sayer et al. 2013; Morley 2012). Morley (2012) says 5%–13% of 60- to 70-year-olds and 11%–50% of people in their 80s have sarcopenia, which means “poverty of flesh.”
Even in childhood I had a philosophical bent. I distinctly remember sitting at the dinner table with my twin brother and discussing with him why the dog could eat hamburger and it became “dog,” whereas we could eat hamburger and it became “us.” An interesting question for a couple of 9-year-olds to pursue. Sadly, we never figured it out.
By my early 20s I had taken up the study of yoga, and my worrisome won- dering about the big questions of mean- ing and purpose in life was becoming more refined. Now I really wanted to “understand” what life was all about.