REAL PEOPLE, REAL SITUATIONSWritten by Deborah Caruana RN, MES, CPT
This is a new addition to newsletter where I can take time to address in full detail questions which current clients confront while in process of making real changes to their body, lifestyle and well being. TO DO OR NOT TO DO? … ABS TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO WRITING ARTICLE: Jeanne is a client I have worked with for a number of years, and through a couple of births with very quick recoveries. She is naturally tall and thin with wide hips and very flat abs. She has that perfect body for wearing couture as you can see from her Vogue magazine write up in October of 2003. She is type that doesn’t want muscle showing at all, just long sleek ‘feminine’ lines. We have stepped up her workouts of late because she is getting stronger and we do need to keep up challenge to maintain that high metabolic burn rate for caloric expenditure, without creating muscle definition. Jeanne doesn’t like doing cardio so that's not a solution. Recently when beginning our workout Jeanne stops, pulls up her t-shirt and shows me her abs. Iam very pleased with what I see, which is definition of where lower obliques end and rectus abdominus (your quadrants, also known as ‘6 packs’) begin. There was strong deliniation indicating muscles beneath. Jeanne points to it and says " I don’t want this." In my shock only thing I can think to say is "If there were a group of women in hear watching us, they’d all groan at you." Everyone is different and has different goals. So Jeanne now thinks that she should just not do abdominal exercises and asks "Why do I need to do them, my abs are fine way they are? Can you write about this in your next newsletter so I better understand why I need to do abs." I then launch into an explanation of importance of core work(abs). About how your abs stabilize you and help prevent injury by bracing and tightening. The brain sends a message to transverse abdominus (remember that girdle muscle we all spent time on, with breathing exercises) before it tells any other muscle to move. For example, mind tells knee to lift but before quadricep muscles initiates lifting response transverse abdominus recieves message to react by tightening for balance, control and strength. So essentially you brace yourself from your abs and then you initiate movement, braced and centered. Which is why I constantly repeat "pull your navel in and wrap it around your spine." The more this response is practiced, more proficient, balanced, coordinated, centered and strong you are plus flatter your abs are.
The Scoop on Stress.Written by Deborah Caruana RN, MES, CPT
Stress is defined as a response by your body to any demand made upon it and a 'demand' means a change. Did you know different stress levels have names? For example “Neutral” stress is amount of work it takes to maintain normal body function. If we give stress a scale of 1- 10 where Neutral stress would be 1. Lets take a look at Success and what it implies. Believe it or not success is a stressor, called “Eustress”, which stems from word euphoria. We can give eustress a quantitative number like 5 because it is a high intensity feeling and brings many ramifications and changes. Now we'll take a brief peak at failure. Failure means challenge, or worst of all defeat. So failure can generate what is called “Distress”, which, we’ll give a number of 5 because it’s implications for change are compound and also intense. I’m relinquishing good and bad judgements on stressors and trying to quantify them based on change from homeostasis-the norm perspective. If our highest stress level is 10 this is when we experience all of classic “fight and flight” signs of our body preparing for action. Hormones, like adrenaline, surge. 6 Your heartbeat and blood pressure soar. Your palms sweat. 7 Your short of breath. Your hair stands on end. 8 You’ve got a flock of geese flapping in your belly. Your blood sugar rises and your muscles tense. 9 Your mind is focused on fighting or flighting. If you get to 10 you’ll probably mess your knickers because your system has gone berserk from over stimulation and your body will surrender. Though odors may stop your adversary from taking that first bite. These effects, up to 9.9 unchanged for thousands of years, helped prehistoric humans survive! The problem here is that physical and emotional manifestations of stress response are designed to dissipate when immediate physical threat is over. But when they don't, over time, these over used hormones cause heart disease, hypertension, suppressed immunity, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and even depression. The greatest defense against these physical manifestations is to realize they are caused by your hard wired prehistoric emotions. For instance, if you're late for work and you've just missed last subway. What do you do? You can either panic, or you can just accept situation. Relax, take a deep breath and wait for next one. If you can change a situation, do it, if you can't, then you adapt. Understanding stress and its effects can help you use it to your own advantage, and turn potential "stressors" into positive challenges. Something I have always believed and now seems to be coming to light with scientific evidence is fact that stress can actually be good for you! The Latest Study on Stress This is a study done recently with mice in a stressful situation. What researchers did was they take a bunch of mice that were bullied repeatedly by a nasty mouse for a couple of hours for six consecutive days. At end of that period researchers infected picked on mice with a strain of influenza that also infects humans. Other mice, not subjected to bullying, were also infected so scientists could measure effects of stress. The bullied mice were actually better able to ward off virus than ones that had not had to deal with an aggressive foe. So scientists changed name of stress test to “repeated defeat.". By whatever name, stress apparently improved memory of special "T cells," that run immune system. Low levels of stress produce hormones that help us meet various challenges, so a little of a bad thing can be good. Of course, there's still some question about whether humans will react same as mice, but mouse immune response is comparable to that of humans and that's why they chose mice.