4 paths to healthier bodies, happier lives
1. Massage: treats your body like a magnificent machine
Think of your body as a magnificent machine – yours at birth – to take you on the journey of your life. So when your body knots up, and you are so stiff you can barely crawl out of bed – do not ignore these stress messages that your body is pleading with you to fix. Like a lot of us, you’re not exactly sure how to fix the stress situation short of sitting in your pajamas all day in front of the TV. Here’s a solution: Get a massage.
Massage, as part of a regular health routine every few weeks, can head off health problems before they occur. Regular massage prevents and relieves muscular spasms and knots, improves circulation, and helps to deliver oxygen and nutrients to your cells. Besides, you get to lie in a nice dark room with soft music and relax.
“Massage also releases endorphins to the brain that increase feelings of euphoria, decreases feelings of pain and soothes feelings of anxiety and depression,” says Jessica Heil, vir tu´ massage therapist.
2. Better sleep,stop counting sheep
“If you typically start your day feeling tired and restless – but don’t remember being awake during the night – sleep apnea could be the culprit,” says Angel Rodis, MD, pulmonologist.
Just a few pounds of extra weight can contribute to sleep apnea – a condition that constricts the upper airway while sleeping. Age-related muscle loss, which causes laxity and compression around the upper airway, is another common cause.
Symptoms include snoring while sleeping. A snorer’s breathing may stop for up to 60 seconds before awakening to restart breathing. Over time, this chronic stoppage of breathing contributes to serious health risks.
Dr. Rodis: “Keeping the airway open is the only way for sleep apnea sufferers to return to safe, restful sleep. If weight loss isn’t enough, talk to your doctor about treatments to relieve the airway obstruction for better sleep and a healthier life – night and day.”
3. Exercise for mind and muscles
“I’ve trained people for a long time, but never have I seen people as stressed out as they are today. Virtua Health and Wellness Center trainers take the issue of stress seriously and emphasize classes that fuse breathing and stretching to de-stress, along with strength training and cardio work,” says Heather Weiler, personal trainer and group exercise coordinator at Virtua’s William G. Rohrer Center for HealthFitness.
Here’s what Heather recommends:
Strengthen with Pilates. Try small-group training with the Pilates Reformer – equipment that uses springs to enhance resistance training and build core strength. It goes a long way to physically change the look of your body -- building long, lean muscles.
Stretch like a ballerina. A ballet barre class combines core training and strengthening using a ballet barre (used by dancers to warm up) and which targets abs, legs, hips, glutes and arms. This exercise builds lean, graceful definition as well as flexibility and balance.
Zumba is a win-win. Dance to great music and burn calories. And, anybody can do it – all you need is a good pair of cross-training sneakers. Zumba helps drop the pounds, and the classes feel like a party. Goodbye stress, hello fun.
4. Anti-age your skin
Were you a sun offender back in the day – breaking out the reflector and baby oil – and frying your face and body into a lobster-like hue?
If you did this, by age 40, your face may look older than you are. There may be sun damage that includes areas of higher pigmentation, a.k.a. brown spots, wrinkles around your eyes and mouth, and skin texture that feels a little like an alligator.
“Here are some smart measures you can take right now to improve the appearance of your skin and prevent further damage,” says Lorilyn Marino, aesthetician, vir tu´.
New rules for beautiful skin:
- Use a daily sunscreen application, rain or shine.
- Get a monthly facial to slough off dead skin, improve circulation and moisturize your face.
- Create an effective skin care practice: cleansing, toning, and moisturizing that includes under eye cream. Ask your aesthetician for guidance.
- Ban the brown spots from sun damage. You might use products to lighten pigmentation and brighten skin tone. Again, ask your aesthetician for guidance.
- Find a Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C gets an A for how it regenerates collagen in the skin. This improves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Be patient, it takes six months of diligence to see results.