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What is the definition of being healthy? According to the World Health Organization, “health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” More recently this definition includes leading a socially and economically productive life.

However, Many people believe that being healthy is not a static state of being but a dynamic process of continuous adjustment to the changing demands of life.  For me – there are four pillars to achieving and maintaining health & fitness. They are: Strength Training, Cardiovascular Health, Yoga & Meditation and Nutrition. One with out the other is like building a house without a solid foundation or strong walls to support the roof. We need all four elements to stay healthy, active, alert and disease-free. 

 

Strength Training

As we get older, our body undergoes many physiological changes that can increase the risk of chronic diseases including heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, and diabetes. The good news is that strength or resistance training can help offset these deleterious changes. An exercise program specifically designed with your goals in mind can provide a safe, low-impact workout that enhances overall fitness including cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, coordination and balance.

 The Benefits:

• Enhanced overall fitness including cardiovascular endurance

• Increased muscular strength and endurance

• Increase the size and the number of muscle fibers

• Better balance and coordination

• Slowing down the loss of lean muscle mass that occurs with aging

• Decrease stored body fat
• Increase bone mass and prevent osteoporosis

• Decrease the risk of heart disease by lowering body fat, decreasing blood pressure, improving cholesterol, and lowering the stress placed on the heart while lifting a particular load

 

Cardiovascular Health

Cardiovascular or cardiorespiratory health relates to the health of the heart and blood vessels as well as the health of the organs that are critically dependent on a strong blood supply. Our cardiovascular system consists of the heart (a muscle that also is dependent on an oxygenated blood supply), lungs, arteries, veins and capillaries. Our cardiovascular system is responsible for circulating and transporting oxygen, carbon dioxide, hormones, and nutrients (such as electrolytes) to and from our cells as well as stabilizing body temperature, pH and maintaining homeostasis.

The Benefits:

• Improved heart health

• Increase in aerobic capacity to accomplish moderate-intensity activities

• Decrease resting heart rate and blood pressure

• Decrease heart rate and blood pressure in response to exercise

• Increase cellular metabolism

• Decrease muscle fatigue

• Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease such as heart attack, stroke, diabetes, insulin sensitivity.

• Decrease in total blood cholesterol

 

Yoga / Meditation

The word “yoga” comes from the Sanskrit word yuj, which means “to yoke, join or unite”. Yoga is a practical aid, not a religion. It is an ancient art based on a harmonizing system of development for the body, mind and spirit. The continued practice of yoga will lead you to a sense of peace, happiness and well-being, as well as a feeling of being at one with your environment.

The whole system of Yoga is built on three main structures: exercise, breathing, and meditation. The exercises of Yoga are designed to put pressure on the glandular systems of the body, thereby increasing its efficiency and total health. Breathing techniques are based on the concept that breath is the source of life in the body. It is with both exercise and breathing that the body and mind are prepared for meditation, allowing for a quiet mind and healing from everyday stress.

The Benefits:
• Increased strength & flexibility

• Improved functioning of the respiratory, circulatory, digestive and hormonal systems

• Emotional stability and clarity of mind

• A clear, bright mind and a strong, capable body.

 

Nutrition

Good nutrition and physical activity go hand in hand. Eating healthy will help you improve your health, prevent and control chronic diseases and maintain an active & healthy lifestyle. Eating healthy is not a diet but a way of life. Once you learn what works for you, you’ll find that eating healthy isn’t difficult to do.

The Benefits:

• Decreased joint and muscle pain

• Decreased risk of inflammatory diseases

• Maintain healthy levels of blood cholesterol

• Control hypertension

• Maintain lean muscle mass

• Decrease amount of stored body fat

• Stabilize glucose/sugar levels

• Reduce depression and mood swings