Saturday, October 31, 2009

Move It!

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that we (in America) tend to rust out rather than wear out. How true! Seems we’ve become a nation of couch potatoes, and we’re paying a big price for our inactive lifestyles. Obesity is a major problem in the U.S., not just among adults. It’s a growing problem among kids, as well. And obesity is just one of the consequences of a lack of exercise.

But rather than harping on all the hazards of inactivity, I want to share with you some of the benefits of exercise. If you’re like me (and most other Americans) exercise probably isn’t at the top of your list of favorite things to do. But thinking about all the good things it does for my body is a real motivator for me. I hope it will be for you too.

Here’s a quick list of some of the things exercise can do for you (and there are lots more!):

• Helps with weight loss and/or weight management

• Boosts energy

• Helps prevent disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and cancer

• Improves mood and prevents depression

• Strengthens bones and muscles

• Reduces the risk of premature death

• Lowers cholesterol

• Improves cardiovascular health

• Promotes restful sleep

• Improves cognition and memory

OK. Maybe you’re convinced you need to get more active, but some of the following excuses have kept you from getting on the move. Things like: “I don’t have time,” or “the weather’s not conducive,” or “there’s no place to exercise around here,” or “I need expensive equipment and can’t afford it,” or “I’m just too tired!” or “In order to exercise I have to join a gym and that’s not convenient.” Believe me, I know all the excuses, and I’ve used them!

The truth of the matter is, unless you have a physical or health challenge that prevents you from exercising, there really is no excuse. (Be sure to check with your doctor to get the go-ahead before starting an exercise program.) No time? A 10- or 15-minute walk is better than none at all, and done a couple or more times a day, it can boost your health tremendously.

Is it raining or too cold? The problem isn’t the weather, it’s your clothing. Get some rain gear if it’s raining, and bundle up in warm layers if the weather is too cold. On hot summer days, wait till evening or get out early in the morning before the sun comes up to take your walk.

No place to go for exercise ? Nearly every community has a park or track where walkers can get their daily exercise. Or how about grabbing your tennis shoes and walking around the local mall? If all else fails, buy a walking DVD, and pop it into your DVD player or your computer at home. You don’t need a lot of space for that. (Weight Watchers Walking Kit is a great option! Order it on Prevention Magazine also offers some great exercise DVDs.)

About that expensive equipment you think you need, it’s great if you can afford it and if you’ll actually use it, but it’s not necessary. A few weights, some exercise DVDs, and a good pair of athletic shoes are just great for starters. Joining a gym is nice, but a good walking program along with a good plan for stretching and toning along with strength training can keep you fit. Another great resource for exercise at home is Try out their exercise videos and other handy tools for weight loss, and the best part is, it’s all free!

Last but not least, if you think you’re just too tired to exercise, do it anyway. Did you know that exercise actually gives you energy? Don’t believe me? Just try it. Not only will you feel better, you’ll sleep better too.

Well, that’s it for now. It’s a beautiful sunny afternoon and I’m off to the local park to—you guessed it—take a walk. Talk to you later!


The Wellness Lady

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Location, Location, Location!

If you’ve ever been in the market for a new home, you’ve probably heard these words before. They’re marketing buzz words used by real estate agents to lure you to the most attractive places to live. This concept hits on an important point: environment does make a difference. But today I want to talk to you about, not where you live, but how you can make the place where you are right now a healthier place to be.

Did you know that your environment can affect your health, either positively or negatively? I hadn’t really given a lot of thought to that notion until I learned about the C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health model. Sure, I knew intuitively that our surroundings make a difference in how we feel, but I never realized just how important our surroundings are and how much we can do to manipulate our environment in order to achieve optimum health.

In the book C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health Discovery, Des Cummings, Jr., Ph.D., and Monica Reed, M.D., suggest some creative ways that we can use the avenues of our senses to make our environment more healthy. Here are a few of the tidbits they share:


Beginning at home, look around you and determine whether your personal space is creating a sense of peace and contentment or making you feel stressed. Is your environment cluttered or clutter-free? Does your home give you a feeling of warmth and comfort? Try adding a creative arrangement of family pictures that evoke warm memories. Open the blinds or curtains and let the sunshine in. (Sunlight in moderation is good for you. More on that later.) Here’s one I really like: Move toward simplicity. Less really is better. (I’ve been telling myself that for years! It’s doing something about it that has been the challenge for me.)


How about adding plants to your home? Plants have many benefits, including the ability to purify the air, as well as adding pleasant fragrance. Scented candles are another way to bring good scents and peace of mind to your home. And don’t forget about the kitchen. The smell of baking bread or simmering soup can also arouse good feelings and give you and sense of well-being. Even using bubble bath and scented body lotions can help you feel good and, by stimulating your sense of smell in a positive way, can lead to better health.


One of the best ways to find soothing sounds is to get out into nature, away from the noise and bustle of city life. But even if you can’t get away, there are ways to simulate these sounds through nature CDs and sound generators. If you have an iPod, check out these aps: iRelax Melodies and iSoothe Light. Recently, on a long flight across the Atlantic ocean, these aps helped to calm my nerves, energize me, and pass the time. You can probably find more with a quick search.


Cummings and Reed suggest learning to enjoy food in its natural state, just the way God made it. I think the food industry, through massive additives and adulteration, has helped to pervert our appetites and created a craving for unhealthy sugar-laden, fat-saturated, empty foods. Why not get back to nature and learn to enjoy foods as grown. With a little bit of creativity and natural herbs and seasonings, we can create some good-tasting food. Speaking of that, a friend of mine shared with me a raw lasagna dish she had created and I couldn’t believe it. I was a little hesitant at first, but it was awesome! Check out


Lots of studies have been done on the importance of touch to our physical well-being. The authors cite a study showing that “husbands who hug their wives regularly tend to live longer and have fewer health problems.” And we’ve all heard the studies showing how important touch can be on developing infants. Lack of touching can even lead to death! In addition to human touch, another way of stimulating our sense of touch is through texture. Surround yourself with feel-good objects, such as soft feathery pillows, or a cozy chair that you can plop into after a long day at the office.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Rest of the Story

Today I want to pick up where I left off in the C.R.E.A.T.I.O.N. Health model that I started telling you about a couple weeks ago. We began with C, which stands for choice. I hope you’ve been conscientiously making good, healthy choices, whenever possible!

The next letter in the acronym is R, which stands for rest. Intuitively, we all know that rest is important, not only for our health, but for the way we feel and even act. You know how it is. On those days when we’re short on sleep, we often tend to be short on patience, and in extreme cases, we can even be short-tempered. But some of the most surprising bits of evidence about the importance of sleep turned up as I was doing some research a few years ago for a cover story entitled “The Rest of the Story,” that I wrote for Vibrant Life magazine.

Did you know that sleep deprivation elevates the risk of heart disease in women? Reader’s Digest published an article in 2005 citing a Harvard study of 75,000 women in which heart disease and high blood pressure were linked to a lack of sleep. Other studies indicate that a lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of stress hormones, elevated blood sugar levels, weight gain, diabetes, insulin resistance, depression, impaired sexual functioning, and proneness to injuries. And these are just a few of the hazards of sleep loss. Does that make you think twice about burning the midnight oil? It does for me!

Actually, while we’re on the subject of rest, I want to make an important distinction. There’s actually a difference between sleep and rest—although both are important for the body. Here’s how Webster defines rest: “To cease from action or motion: refrain from labor or exertion. To be free from anxiety or disturbance.” In other words, rest provides our body with the opportunity to slow down, to change our pace and take a break from the hustle and bustle of life—a chance to renew. It’s an ancient concept, as old as Creation itself. The Bible tells us that during Creation week “on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done” (Genesis 2:2).

Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who've Lived the Longest (available at refers to a group of people, Seventh-day Adventists, who live in Loma Linda, California, one of the world’s four Blue Zones (the world’s healthiest places), who actually follow this principle and benefit from it. “They take a Sabbath Saturday they call the ‘sanctuary in time,’ Buettner says. “No matter how busy, no matter how stressed out they are, they'll take that 24 hours and focus on their God" (“Can 'Blue Zones' Help Turn Back the Biological Clock?” NPR story, June 8, 2008). According to Buettner, taking a weekly rest is one of the secrets of longevity.

Are you tired? Are you weary? Are you stressed out? Jesus says, “Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Now that’s an offer that’s just too good to refuse!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A "Novel" Idea

I thought I'd take a brief diversion from talking about the Creation Health model to share with you a thought-provoking statement I heard the other day on 3ABN Today Live, a Christian talk show that airs on Three Angels Broadcasting Network. Neil Nedley, M.D., author of several books on preventive health, including Proof Positive and Depression: The Way Out, as well as president of the Weimar Center for Health and Education, was one of the guests interviewed on the show. The topic was the health care crisis in America, and Dr. Nedley gave a simple, but profound solution to the problem. He talked about the great efforts of President Obama to pass the health care bill and the administration's amazing collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry and the American Medical Association to get the legislation passed. In an effort to pass the new legislation they've brought out a number of issues and suggested numerous remedies to the problem, but there's one aspect they've entirely overlooked, and that is personal responsibility. Now, there's a novel idea! In spite of all this talk about the need for better health care and the need for every American to be insured, and how medical costs are spiraling out of control, nobody's saying anything about the need for taking personal responsibility for our own health! Dr. Nedley pointed out that despite the millions of dollars being spent every year on treating heart disease, that 90 percent of all heart attacks could be prevented if we would simply follow a few simple and easy to incorporate lifestyle principles. Amazing! Or is it, really?

If you didn't see the program on 3ABN, you can get a DVD copy of it by contacting Three Angels Broadcasting Network at 618-627-4651 or by visiting their Web site at You can also find an archive of healthy recipes on their site under Resources, and I highly recommend it. Also, if you're experiencing health challenges and want to get a jumpstart on implementing those lifestyle principles I've been referring to, check out Weimar's Newstart Lifestyle Program. You can find them on the Web at or by calling 800-525-9192.

That's it for now. Look for updates weekly. And be sure to post comments from time to time. I love to get feedback and to know that somebody's actually reading this blog! Thanks, and have a healthy and prosperous week. 3John 2

"The Wellness Lady"