Exercise for Cognitive Function exercise movement Jun 07, 2022

We know intuitively that when we move around, we feel clearer, sharper. When we don't move around enough, then we can feel more mentally sluggish, memory can become little harder to access, and reactions slower.

We can divide cognitive process into six types – attention, perception, memory, language, learning, and higher reasoning. These can both can occur simultaneously and independently, they rely upon each other and intertwine for that orchestration of how we think, feel and move our way through life. Learning new skills and new ways of thinking are supported when we also learn new movement patterns eg a new dance, type of movement to increase our cognitive fitness and longevity of our mental processes.

When we get moving, we increase circulation, we exercise the blood vessels themselves and this helps to prevent neurodegenerative conditions known to create cognitive impairment (Journal of Internal Medicine, 2011; 269(1): 107-117). Exercise also helps to control blood sugar...

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De-Stress Yoga: Your Core Starts at Your Feet exercise movement wellness yoga Apr 01, 2022

Your Core is Not Just Your Abs

There's lots of talk of core strength and core stability and even equating particular yoga postures and practices to ‘core work’.  It's interesting then to notice that this is a very modern phenomenon within yoga and any movement that we make, any postural practice we do is never simply separated out into one part of the body but it is a culmination of exactly how our body is – one big completely interconnected system.

Understanding our true core also moves it away from a part of our body we simply focus on when exercising. Feeling it as the central channel, from where all of our movement originates opens out the physical exploration we do on the mat to noticing how we move ourselves through the world. This connection can then play out in a sense of grace and ease as go about our day.

The most recognised definition of the core is the region containing the abdominal muscles but to simply segment this area does not allow us to view...

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The Benefits of Walking on Uneven Ground exercise health self care wellness Mar 18, 2022

The Benefits of Walking on Uneven Ground

As humans, we have evolved to have certain patterns of physical activity that are necessary for health.1 In fact, we’re built for long-distance walking, and it’s estimated that our hunter/gatherer ancestors covered daily distances in the range of 6–16 km (3.5–10 miles). While walking may be our most natural form of exercise, humans learned this unusual mode of transport on rough surfaces—far from the predictability of pavements and man-made flooring.

All of our ancestors’ walking and running was done on natural surfaces like grass and rocks, and often over uneven ground. Our upright two-legged (bipedal) walking style evolved alongside a nomadic lifestyle that was not just for walking to new camps, but also for getting to and from sources of food, water and wood.2 It’s even theorised that part of our large brain growth was to address the various challenges of bipedal upright walking on naturally uneven...

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Movement for Trauma exercise health ptsd self care shock trauma wellness yoga Feb 03, 2022

Movement to help your body naturally move through trauma

The term trauma is used to describe the state an individual is left with after a shock or prolonged danger or distressing event has passed. Its prevalence in society has grown from the recognition of the symptoms war veterans were experiencing in the 1980s with the diagnosable condition Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

This has also opened up to recognise that trauma does not just stem from large, traumatic events but can be as a result of Adverse Childhood Events (ACEs) and the definition extended to anything that overwhelms to the point where we can’t cope, on an individual basis.

The medical world has long viewed trauma as a purely psychological issue, although recent research shows it to be a full physiological response; a reliving in this moment of an event or felt state that came before. For those with trauma, this is the only way more primal, instinctual responses can make sense of the continual.

Trauma...

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Targeted Stretching for Different Exercises energy exercise health self care wellness yoga Jan 20, 2022

Stretching can be something we look forward to or dread within our exercise regimens, so understanding its purpose and effects can create more depth and motivation, however we feel. Messages can be conflicting, so some simple basics can help us navigate confusion towards following your body’s needs.

Stretching for sports is not the same as in yoga; rather than looking to improve flexibility alone, static (still) stretching after exercise is designed to lengthen muscle shortened through use back to its normal range of motion (ROM). This is why dynamic (moving), rather than static is recommended for warm-ups. More flexibility ie more range through muscle and around joints may actually impede the action and strength of specific movements needed for sport.

We can’t actually lengthen muscle – this is already determined by its insertion and origin ie where it is attached and leads to in terms of bones and tendons – but we can lessen resistance to a stretch, where...

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How to Make a Resolution Stick Without Stress – The Five Stages of Change exercise food health mindful nutrition self care stress sugar wellness yoga Dec 16, 2021

We are always going through phases of change, whether we notice them as substantial or not. This January one can often seem like the motherload though, with high expectations and suggestions coming at us from all angles.... whether it's giving up something, doing something else or fixing that thing that is 'wrong' with us, there is a sense of this ideal, other self that we should be.

There is a phrase doing the rounds at the moment that is particularly pushing my buttons; "be the best (or better) version of yourself" - eh? What on earth does that mean? To me, there is an implication that if all the boxes are not ticked, I am simply not good enough. I guess it's the word version I react to there - we have so many facets to our beings that to judge some as good and others not so much adds in to our cultural norm of self-criticism.

I do believe in constant awareness of which unmet needs I am playing out for sure, but have learnt that I need to be mindful of looking at the unconscious...

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Can You Create a New Relationship with the Christmas Sugar Onslaught? digestion energy exercise food health nutrition self care sugar wellness winter Dec 13, 2021

Whilst original yuletide feasts were designed to celebrate coming together as communities to nourish and fuel for the coming deep winter months, human’s love of the sweet stuff seems to get a free pass at Christmas. It can even seem conspiratorial when, if you politely decline the stollen cake, you can receive a sideways glance that makes you feel like you’re Scrooge.

Personally, a few years back I reached the limit of feeling like c*&p after each Christmas Day finally arrived – sluggish, head-achy, tetchy and with raging sugar cravings – and longing for when all the so-called ‘Christmas food’ was finally gone. I have a tendency to want to hoover up sugar just to get it out of the way, so this can seem endless with so much around!

For those of us with sugar-addictive tendencies, constantly having it around can be a major source of stress.

Many of my clients get pretty agitated going to meetings where there are always biscuits and the...

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Can We Retain a Sense of ‘Enough Already’ in the Face of Excess? energy exercise food health mindful nutrition self care stress sugar wellness winter Dec 07, 2021

It's easy to lose our sense of satisfaction and need-over-want at this festive time, but finding ways to stay connected can make the whole shebang leave a better taste in our mouths in the aftermath...

So the big question is, can we retain a sense of 'enough already' in the face of excess? The lead up to the main event is a good time to step back, take stock and see how Christmas is permeating our lives and our expectations.

Are you dizzy as a child at the thought of Santa’s touchdown or feeling the heavy burden of endless present-buying or relatives descending? Personally, I tend to feel quite different each year… BC (Before Child) I used to be able to get full-on festive one year and then positively ignore its existence the next, just enjoying some holiday time without the razzamatazz.

Now I’m swept up in the childhood vision of it all, it’s a time to experience with my daughter what I wish it to be; not about buying and getting yet more stuff, but...

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The Benefits of Barefoot Running exercise health wellness Nov 18, 2021

Running without shoes or in shoes that allow us to feel the ground is part of a primal movement trend, where greater anthropological understanding has created a shift across many exercise systems. This return to physical activity that honours our inherent design has taken up a more natural approach to our bodies by many, but what is thinking and research behind it?

“Shoes do no more for the foot than a hat does for the brain.” - Dr. Mercer Rang, orthopaedic surgeon and researcher in paediatric development.

This subject came into public awareness in a big way following the release of Born to Run: The Hidden Tribe, the Ultra-Runners, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Profile Books 2010), the best-selling book from journalist Christopher McDougall, who after years of repeated running injury, successfully changed his running style to model that of the reclusive Tarahuma Indian Tribe in the Mexican Copper Canyons. They run over 100 miles at a time, at incredible...

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Movement for Supporting Thyroid Function energy exercise health hormones thyroid yoga Sep 23, 2021

Our energy and vitality are bound up in optimal function of a small, but important gland in our throat. Whether you have been diagnosed with a specific thyroid condition or simply feel sluggish and have difficulty losing weight, supporting the health of your thyroid may help improve how you feel.

Our energy levels are profoundly linked to our mental health and those with thyroid issues often reported that it feels like “life is passing them by.” From an Eastern perspective, the thyroid is associated with the throat chakra (energy wheel). Yogis believe this area represents expression and an energetic blockage here may have its roots in fear, inability of self-expression and frustration. Exercise is shown to support thyroid function, but ironically when it is under-functioning, motivation to move can be lost.

The thyroid gland is a butterfly shaped organ in the neck that produces thyroid hormones that travel to cells throughout the body. One of its major jobs is to...

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Why We Need to Keep Moving exercise wellness Sep 09, 2021

We are not designed to be sedentary....

Exercise is fundamental for our immune systems, regulation of cholesterol, blood pressure, heart function, mental function, management of stress hormones etc.

The “etc” here really does mean everything that your body does and its regulation of all functions. It is constantly trying to get you back to a resting state where everything is within “normal” parameters, like blood pressure, blood sugar levels, female hormones, the pH (slightly alkaline) of your blood.

It is when it finds difficulty reaching this point of homeostasis (staying the same) that the real problems occur and when symptoms begin to show; for instance an inability to cope with stress often shows up in symptoms like irritability, insomnia, energy slumps, loss of concentration and depression.

You can see here that the body is struggling to get back to a balanced functioning state. It will also be using up lots of nutrients and may be damaged by elevated...

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