Natural healing, natural wellness

Exercise & Fitness

Get Positive and Productive

Wow, we’re three weeks into the new year. Time flies. I told myself at the end of last year that this year I would not waste time obsessing on things which get me down, things which I can do nothing about, and things which are unproductive. So I’ve been trying in the last few weeks to channel my energy only towards things which are positive and productive.

As someone who was diagnosed with estrogen-receptor positive breast cancer, keeping fit and trim may make all the difference in keeping cancer at bay. Besides the ovaries, estrogen is produced in other places, such as the fat cells, so losing weight has been a priority for me. So far, taking a realistic and steady approach, I’ve been losing a kilogram per month. Just three more kilograms to lose, and I’ll be back to what I weighed on my wedding day, pretty much my ideal weight. By following a daily program of walks and salads for either lunch or dinner, I actually lost weight during the December festive season, in spite of enjoying festive treats. My pants have become so baggy that I’ve started to give them away and I’ve had to buy new pants. What a great feeling!

The other positive and productive thing I try to do is take advantage of every beautiful day that comes along. The weather has been so cool and breezy lately that I venture outdoors as often as I can. Glorious nature and fresh air nourishes both my body and spirit every time. Some new cafes and restaurants have just opened up by the river just 20 minutes walk from my end of the river, and they’re perfect for chilling out at, while watching the sun set over the water. Absolutely delectable.

Then I try to spend more time with people who matter to me. Like my mom, for instance. She has dementia and she quickly forgets every visit I pay to her. But she’s happy when I’m there, so I’m glad about that. I try to have more conversations with my sister who lives overseas, so that she’ll know how much I love her and appreciate her. I try to cultivate a good relationship with my in-laws too, such as by remembering them in little ways. I tell my dear husband every day that I love him, and we spend lots of quality time together. We make time for fun, because joy is such a tonic.  Building bridges makes life richer and makes you stronger. When the dark days come, these relationships will sustain you.

It’s a brand new year. A clean slate, filled with opportunity. Forget the past, it’s time to look forward and make the most of every day. I know there’s lots more I can do to make my life better, healthier and happier. What about you?

Walk Away From Dementia

Here’s another good reason for going for daily walks. A study of nearly 300 people in Pittsburgh, USA, found that those who walked at least 9.7km a week had less age-related brain shrinkage than people who walked less. In other words, walking at least 9.7km per week may help keep dementia at bay.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia which affects an estimated 26 million people worldwide. Brain cells are slowly killed off in those afflicted, and there is presently no cure for this disease. However, activities like walking have been shown to build brain volume.

The University of Pittsburgh study – published on Wednesday in the journal “Neurology” – began in 1995 and involved 299 volunteers who were free of dementia and who were asked to keep track of how much they walked. Nine years later, their brains were scanned to measure brain volume. Four years after that, researchers tested the volunteers for any dementia or cognitive impairment. They found that the risk of developing memory problems was halved in those who walked roughly 9.7km to 14.5km a week.

Researcher Dr. Kirk Erickson said: “Brain size shrinks in late adulthood, which can cause memory problems. Our results should encourage well-designed trials of physical exercise in older adults as a promising approach for preventing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease”.

Prevention is always better than cure, so put on your walking shoes!

Less Is More

I weighed myself today and discovered that I’m the lightest I’ve ever been for almost 20 years. All I have to do is shake off 4kg more and I’ll be back to what I weighed when I got married, when I looked pretty darned good. Yay!

Besides eating healthily, regular exercise is an absolute must if you want to lose weight and keep it off. Twice each day, I walk my dog Ginger for a minimum of 25 minutes each time. I like to walk briskly, which helps to burn calories as well as keep muscles, joints and other parts of the body well-oiled. At least every other day, I try to fit in another walk in-between of at least 25 minutes duration. Fortunately, there are several shopping malls just 10 to 20 minutes walking distance away from where I live, and there’s also a scenic river just across the road. Finding incentives to go for a walk is easy.

Don’t get the wrong idea, I don’t have iron-clad willpower. I still snack daily, and my nibbles include naughty things like chocolate, ice-cream and cookies besides healthier stuff like dried fruit, nuts and seeds. Hey, you’ve got to have quality of life! Of course, I’m particular about the quality of my snacks and go for top-quality ingredients with nothing artificial added, as far as possible. You can still lose weight without depriving yourself. Just be discerning about what you eat and exercise, exercise, exercise.

Being overweight causes all kinds of health problems, such as high cholesterol, high-blood pressure, cardiovascular ailments, diabetes and joint problems. It can also be a factor in cancer. Maintaining a good healthy weight is plain common sense, if you’d like to live long and well.

My next target is to lose another kilogram by Christmas, which is less than a month away. Wish me well!