applying dance…

…to the real world.

…did you see my daughter in the second video? 

………hugmamma.

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we manage…mocha and me

These last few months have been touch and go for my pal Mocha. Old age has been complicated by the debilitating effects of sciatica. Hobbling around, her right paw can bend backwards and send her tumbling forward onto bended knees. Not one to be dissuaded from what she is about, Mocha picks herself up, dusts herself off, and goes about her business.

Observing Mocha makes me sympathetic to the plight of older folks. It’s no fun when body parts don’t work anymore. Life seems consumed with just the basics…eating, peeing and pooping.

“Wwwhhhaaa happened? Where’d all the fun go?” That’s what Mocha’s eyes seem to say as she watches me move about the room. On medication for a heart murmur, sciatica, and now a urinary tract infection, what’s a dog to do? Not much, except lie around.

These last few days I’ve been outdoors prepping the garden for the hibernating months ahead. While back-breaking for me and my arthritic lumbar, Mocha’s been lazing about on the freshly mowed grass, drinking in the sunshine. I’m certain we’ve both felt like switching places.

Being half-beagle, Mocha would love to make like a mole and dig tunnels in the dirt. Me? I’d be content with stretching out on the warm, green lawn, staring up at the billowy, white clouds floating serenely across the baby blue sky.

And yet we make the best of it, Mocha and me. On good days, she’s a little sprightlier. We both are. On days when it takes a little more effort to get going, we take our time.

We don’t wallow in “what ifs,” we just tweak our plans a little. If I’m not up to weeding and pruning, then I’ll do some laundry and vacuum. As for Mocha, if she can’t wander about in search of a new place to lie, then she’ll stay put in her comfy bed all day.

Older age. It’s about doing what we can do, and not fretting about what we can’t do. Of course, doing what we can to keep our bodies humming along is imperative…stretching, exercising, and minimizing our intake of unhealthy carbs.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgo potato chips, candy, and soda. Although I have managed to limit them to…once-in-awhile.

Because of global warming we’re suppose to get a break from the cold, dank, dark weather that normally smothers the Pacific Northwest like an unwanted blanket. According to local forecasters, the lows should hover around the 50s. So far the prediction seems to be panning out. The sun is still with us.

Hallelujah!!!

…mocha and I don’t feel so old…when our bones are warm! Xmas 2010 2 00000

………hugmamma.

 

mars and venus…aligned

As in the film Back To The Future where caveman-like shennanigans brought out the knight-in-shining armor, this video share by pyschotherapist and marriage counselor, Linda Hoff-Hagensick, at  http:www.marriagetherapy101@blogspot.com takes us back to the basics of a great relationship.

Venus, fragile and other-worldly, borne upon the strength and cunning of Mars, crosses over the hellish landscape below, untainted and intact.

With regard for one another, each content with the stations to which they were birthed, they grow in harmony and love forever-after.

nurturing thursdays: kick back…you’re allowed!

I had someone ask me once why it was I couldn’t rebound as quickly as my husband from a trip abroad, especially since he reported back to work the day after we returned. The implication was that somehow I was a slacker. I who was a housewife with time on my hands. By that person’s standards, I’m sure I was. That she knew little about my daily routine seemed of little consequence. 

IMG_5044Criss-crossing the country these last 11 years to visit with my daughter has made traveling less than pleasurable. Bunking down on air mattresses for days or weeks at a time takes its toll on my arthritic back. Keeping up with a 27-year-old dancer’s hectic performance schedule is enervating, but it’s also a killer. The inability to maintain a healthy diet eventually takes its toll, as does losing track of my exercise regimen. My brain goes on vacation when I need it the most, and my body and I are left to fend for ourselves. The result is that I’m a total mess when I return home to my sanctuary for old-timers.

Since our daughter’s dance career changed directions a few months ago, our lives have been a mad dash to get her settled in, and moving on. Since September I’ve been to Houston and back 3 times. Each trip lasted only several days. In between trips, I’ve moved stuff around in my house, our storage unit, and elsewhere more times than I care to count…when our daughter moved home…when we helped settle her into her Houston rental…when her bedroom here was remodeled…when I sold antiques and collectibles at a local vintage fair…and when we helped our daughter pack up when she left Houston and headed for her two week gig in Pittsburgh.

My body finally came to a screeching halt when I returned home this week. Rebelling, it seemed to say “take care of me…or I’m outta here!”

Trying to re-acclimate to my diet this week while ramping up my exercises, sent my arthritis and fibromyalgia into overdrive. It didn’t help that I had scheduled back-to-back appointments every day, save Friday. On that day I could not drag myself out of bed.

I decided to take the advice of my physical therapist whom I saw on Wednesday. Darci, a compassionate young woman in her 30s, told me to listen to my body. She warned that I had  gone beyond my limits, and now I needed to stop…and take care of myself. Sad that I needed someone’s permission to put myself first.

My body needed to rest and recuperate. And it was up to me to see that it got it.

So I lay in bed, in pain, but at peace with the fact that I deserved to heal. I knew I would be no good to my husband or my daughter unless I was good to myself.

Nurturing ourselves is not a bad thing. 

…and don’t let anyone tell you differently.IMG_1415

 

………hugmamma.

at long last…

WOW! Have I been on hiatus or what?

With the advent of 2013 I’ve been out foraging through the forests of life, overturning any rock or fallen limb searching for…change.

Rather than stagnate doing the same old, same old, I’ve been giving my cozy, little world the once over. Until I ventured forth outside the boundaries of my old skin…I didn’t realize how glazed over my eyes had become.

It happens…over time.

I liken it to putting on my new eye glasses from Costco last week.

Deutsch: Blaue Brille, eingeklappt.

Deutsch: Blaue Brille, eingeklappt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lifting the jazzy, hip eggplant-colored frames to my eyes for the first time I nearly toppled over.

It’d been a few years since I’d updated my prescription. Everything in the retail warehouse seemed to fly at me. The friendly sales clerk advised me to walk around…get comfy with my new look.

Happily, I’m finally settling in with the new and improved me.

My vision is crisper, and my life is catching up slowly, but surely.

I’m getting the hang of French…”Je m’appelle…hugmamma. …Comment t’appelles – tu?” Just when classes are winding down.

Aaahhh…but there’s always French 2.

Juice

Juice (Photo credit: hepp)

Hubby and I are juice fanatics now. Best way to incorporate lots of fruits and veggies. Besides chewing them, we’re now swallowing them as well.

I recommend Bed, Bath and Beyond‘s NUTRI-BULLET. Lots less fuss and muss than those mega-juicers.

Pilates almost did me in. Two privates with a lovely instructor nearly had me in traction.

Five visits to the chiropractor reintroduced me to my old body. Aches and pains that were like old friends…minor by comparison to what I’d endured after a couple of sessions on the reformer.

One 9:30 morning yoga class…an hour’s drive away…was enough to convince me that I couldn’t make it last long term.

So I’m stretching and walking…stretching and walking…stretching and walking.

I made it to 8 out of 10 Creative Writing classes. The folks were lovely, their stories compelling, but I didn’t derive much personally. So I’ll not be returning.

88/365 New Smart Phone

88/365 New Smart Phone (Photo credit: Theophilus Photography)

Instead, I might try a class to learn how to do more with my Smart Phone.

I can dial up friends and loved ones. I can text them. I can check voice mail and emails. I can take photos and view them. I can barely use Tango which allows me to see the person with whom I’m talking.

But it’s the APPS! I’d like to tap into those little gems. Wonders of this advanced social network world in which we live.

We all know…YOU SNOOZE…YOU LOSE!!!

…embrace change!…if i can do it…so can you…

tango dansen op het Spuiplein

tango dansen op het Spuiplein (Photo credit: Gerard Stolk (marche vers Pâques ))

………hugmamma. 

lose 45 pounds!!!

Last night I went to a company function with my husband. Among the usual attendees was Paul, someone I consider a good friend even though we seldom see one another. It’s just that the sight of him and his wife puts me completely at ease.

I think Paul likes when I remark on his weight loss. To date it’s an astonishing 45 pounds! How did he do it?

Juice Machine with Fruit

Juicing!

When I see Paul I’m convinced hubby and I should take to juicing. However when we’re back in the comfort of our home, reality sets in.

A diet consisting mostly of juice? Not my idea of a square meal…long term.

I’ve done Weight Watchers (3 times)…as well as the Perricone Diet…and more recently, the Zone Diet. All make good on their claims. It’s the thought of sticking to them for the rest of my life, where I go my own way.

The upside for me is that I retain a lot of good information from all these diets.

Weight Watchers

Weight Watchers (Photo credit: petit zozio)

Weight Watchers got me to drink 8 glasses of water…more or less. It also made me realize that exercise alone does not guarantee weight loss. Dieting has to be part of the equation.

The Perricone Diet, conceived by NYC dermatologist Dr. Perricone, confirmed the long-held belief…garbage in…garbage out. What we eat is reflected in how we look. While my appearance benefited from the diet, I really did it to “cure” arthritic inflammation. It worked! But I didn’t much care for eating rabbit food all the time.

My husband and I shed pounds slowly, but steadily, while on the Zone Diet for several weeks. We felt more energized. My health issues faded into the background. I literally jumped…well maybe not jumped, more like leaped…out of bed at a normal hour. I remarked on how my husband seemed longer, as if he’d spent some time on a rack, being stretched to his full 5’11”. We felt younger; we looked younger.

And then Hawaii happened. We flew back for my mother-in-law’s funeral,Hawaii Pictures Kelly's Wedding 011 and to spend time with family.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in ...

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Broadway in the upper 40s, 1979. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve always thought that were I still living in the land of my birth, I’d have ballooned to the size of a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon. That’s how much I love the island food.

Loco moco, Hawaii's well-known food, at Nico's...

Loco moco, Hawaii’s well-known food, at Nico’s Restuarant at Pier 38 in Honolulu: two fried eggs over two exquisite hamburger patties, two scoops rice, gravy, macaroni salad and boiled soba noodles (with cinnamon and nutmeg). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Plate lunches are commonplace in the islands. And they’re not just for lunch. They can be had any time of day…24 hours a day…7 days a week. They consist of meat…1 type or several…2 scoops of white rice…and a scoop or two of macaroni salad.

I’m salivating as I write this.

I would find it difficult to refrain from eating a plate lunch at least once a day. The scale would more than likely reflect the number of days I’d eaten plate lunches…365. I kid you not!

Perhaps over time I’d realize that my beloved island food wasn’t going to go anywhere. That I’d be able to have more of the same the next day…and the next…and the next. By then, the damage might be done. I’d become a blimp. And letting the air out would be way more difficult than…letting it in.

At the moment I’m on a hodge podge diet of sorts. The driving force behind it is the recent discovery of my sensitivity to certain foods.

If you ever tried eliminating gluten and eggs from your diet, you know the quandry I’m in.

My solution? Sometimes I pay heed; sometimes I throw caution to the wind. I’m sure the Naturopath won’t want to hear this.

I try to follow the basics of the diets I’ve attempted.

Drink plenty of water…I try.

Drink green tea daily…no problem.

Refrain from sugar in all its forms…I try.

Eat more fruits and veggies…especially the orange and green kinds…I try.

Take the supplements prescribed by my Naturopath…I try.

Keep my body moving…no problem except when it comes to a regimen of exercising…I try.

weight watchers

weight watchers (Photo credit: antjeverena)

Thankfully I’ve been able to keep off the last 10 pounds I’ve lost, despite having “fallen off the wagon”…multiple times.

I’m now doing battle with the next 10 pounds…and they’re not going down without a fight.

Fortunately, or not so fortunately, old age is on my side. My metabolism ain’t what it use to be, and things just don’t work the way they used to. So it’s adjust, or be prepared for a good pummeling.

My advice? Subscribe to whatever works for you. If juicing jingles your bells…go for it.

English: Tanioka's Seafoods and Catering Image...

English: Tanioka’s Seafoods and Catering Image was taken by webmaster of Taniokas.com http://taniokas.com/lightplate.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

…as for me…give me food i can chew…

………hugmamma.

stepping outside…

…my comfort zone.

Fred Astaire and a chorus of Fred Astaires per...

Fred Astaire and a chorus of Fred Astaires performing “Puttin’ on the Ritz” in Blue Skies (1946) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It seems in 2013 I’m steppin’ out and…”puttin’ on the ritz.” Since top hat and coat tails won’t ward off the chill, I’m doing it in…wool hat, scarf and mittens.

My mantra for the New Year? “Go big or go home!”

And so yesterday…

I drove 45 minutes to the next town to attend a Level One yoga class!

Yeayyy for me! I’m still patting myself on the back. 

A yoga class.

A yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Having pondered the idea of taking yoga for some time now, my body decided it was…now or never. “Shut up…or put up!” It seemed to say.

When I undertake a project, I research it to the nth degree. I never do anything half-way.

There were a couple of in-town sites which were ideally located. However I opted to venture farther from home  for a variety of reasons, not least of which was to learn from someone who would be a nurturing guide. I didn’t want to risk injury hurrying to keep up.

English: Bikram Yoga

English: Bikram Yoga (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Classes at one local operation are held in 95-100 degree temperatures. The practice is called “hot yoga.”

I’m positive I would have passed out before drawing my first breath. And the rule is…once the door closes and class begins…everyone stays put. Those who can’t stand the heat are required to sit on the sidelines and watch…the entire time.

Another yoga venue seemed too small…spatially…and politically. “How’s that?” you ask. Yoga political?

I’ve learned over time that politics is part of everyday life. The smaller the community, the harder felt the politics. Negative vibes are difficult to overlook. You either do. Or you don’t…and move on.

The logo of Red Flag Linux

The logo of Red Flag Linux (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A third business never responded to an email I sent, even though their website ensured me they would. That stood out like a “red flag” signalling a lack of organization or worse…promises not kept.

My research efforts always include reading reviews. ALWAYS!!! They tell me more than all the flowery words written on websites.

One review indicated the yoga owner/teacher of the business cancelled class, deciding to breakfast with a friend, even after one student showed.

A review for a second, claimed that a promised refund never materialized.

 Unlike the others, Discover Yoga  was exactly as depicted on its website.main studio

The manager/instructor was knowledgeable, patient and helpful. In its understatement, the facility, had a calming effect. No bells and whistles here! Just yoga. It suited me to a tee.

After learning that my first class was free, I got more good news.

I’m still a young chickadee at 63! Were I a couple of years older, I’d get a senior discount on future classes.

There’s always a silver lining. We just have to…

…look for them…

English: This is, in fact, why I quit my yoga ...

English: This is, in fact, why I quit my yoga class. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

………hugmamma.

weekly photo challenge: solitary

The Hawaii envisioned by most who dream of one day visiting the islands is most often one of basking …on sandy, white beaches…under sunny, blue skies…in warm, ocean waters.

What is rarely ever experienced is the barren, solitary flip-side of islands that have evolved over time…from molten lava…to hard rock. Beauty resides here as well, though not of the typical kind.

No fragrant plumerias…or showy hibiscus…or striking bird-of-paradise.

Rather…broken asphalt…barren trees…craggy rocks…lichen…edible cacti…native flora…the lone bird…distant vistas…and the solitary…Makapuu Lighthouse… the piece-de-resistance.

…beauty is in the eye of the beholder…it comes…in all forms.  

………hugmamma.

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round and round we go…

Linguine dish

Linguine dish (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ever since my physician diagnosed me as being pre-diabetic, hubby and I have been exorcising “white” carbs from our diet…pastas, rice, breads. For the most part, that is. We did have linguine when we dined out the other night. I had asked if the restaurant served whole grain. As expected, the answer was a resounding…no. Well, I tried.

We are making progress at home, however. Neither white rice nor white bread passes our lips.

Tonight begins the third week we’ve been walking laps at the local community center. Within 30-40 minutes we’ve been able to walk 2 miles. Although I attend morning exercise class on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, I still accompany my husband in the evenings so that he gets a workout as well.

If we maintain our diet and exercise regimen for a month, according to experts, we’ll be on our way to changing our lifestyle permanently. I guess that’s the minimum amount of time needed to rewire our brains.

We’re determined to stick with the program in order to combat genetics and aging. It’s now or never…sooner rather than later…and doing nothing is not an option. 

Tonight there was a sweet moment in our sugar-free, kick-butt program…

…we held hands…as we walked 23 laps around the track…

………hugmamma.   😉

wake up!…the clock’s ticking…

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes Mellitus (Photo credit: anaxolotl)

That’s the news I received from my family doctor. I’m pre-diabetic.

According to the news, I’ve something in common with millions of Americans. Small comfort since statistics don’t help in battling the disease. We’ve each got to help ourselves regain and maintain good health. It’s not impossible…just lots of hard work. And the older I get, I’ve less energy and will power for using more elbow grease. Especially when my elbow’s arthritic.

Learning that I’m pre-diabetic wasn’t a surprise. My mom had it, a brother has it, and I’m sure most of my other siblings do as well. It’s in our genes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a lost cause. We have a say in the path our health takes. And it always comes back to…exercise and diet.

Rather than assign me to some implausible regimen, my doctor agrees that my best resolve is to ramp up my exercise and stay clear of anything white…foods, that is. No white breads. No white rice.

I’ve done it before; I can do it again. The difference being…time’s running out on my ability to hit the reset button. Older age has a way of dealing with procrastination…it doesn’t. At a certain point the door closes on our options.

Only one option remains for me now…a lifestyle change with no going back. I’ve gotta do…what I’ve gotta do…

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus

Ulcus bei Diabetes mellitus (Photo credit: rosmary)

…the alternative…is not an option…

………hugmamma.     😦

…what were they thinking???

Saw this on a friend’s blog, www.booksphotographsandartwork.wordpress.com. Wanted to know your reactions. Couldn’t make heads or tails. A real mystery as to how it works. How does one “hop aboard?” I think I’d need to see the chiropractor AND massage therapist immediately after having a go at it. Wouldn’t you?

Check it out and tell me what you think.  Click…and be amazed!  http://www.hammacher.com/Product/11102?promo=search

The price alone makes me gasp, $13,000. I’ll take 3!!! Yeah, right…

………hugmamma.  

 

quality of life…whatever it takes…

Being an arthritis sufferer, I’m always on the lookout for “weapons” to combat the debilitating effects of the disease. I plan to continue doing what I love to do for as long as I’m able. But I know I can’t continue to act as though my body is that of a 20-something-year-old…not even a woman in my 40s. I can no longer procrastinate. Tomorrow is now…my aches and pains decidedly tell me so…every chance they get.

Doctors (2000 TV series)

Image via Wikipedia

The following tips from TV’s The Doctors, reiterates what I’ve already heard. Hearing them again can never be enough. We all need reminders…seniors even more as our brains begin slowing down, and disconnecting from the multitude of facts and figures absorbed over the years.

English: A hand affected by rheumatoid arthritis
Image via Wikipedia

3 tips to reduce your risk of arthritis
     IT HURTS when you walk or climb the stairs, slice meat or brush your teeth–that’s the reality of arthritis. Family history plays a role in your risk, and so does age: The chance of developing many types of arthritis, including the most common, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, increases the older you get.
     Those factors you can’t control. But you can take steps to protect your joints and reduce your risk of arthritis.
     EXERCISE. Regular exercise strengthens the muscles around joints, which helps keep them from rubbing against one another and wearing down cartilage; it also helps increase bone density, improve flexibility and ease pain.
     DON’T PUSH YOUR BODY PAST ITS LIMITS. Putting too much stress on your joints can accelerate the wear and tear that causes osteoarthritis, and injured joints, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis.
     WATCH YOUR WEIGHT. Extra pounds put extra stress on your joints, especially your knees, hips and back.

My mom had severe arthritis ever since I can remember. She’d awake from her sleep in the early morning hours, pacing the floor, unable to do much for the excruciating pain that coursed through her knees. There was no let-up through the years. My last image of her was of a fall she’d taken after showering. Her legs were like crooked toothpicks.

That visual alone drives me to minimize the effects of arthritis, by faithfully exercising and watching my sugar intake. Both can reduce inflammation which is the hallmark of the disease. So the more often I affirm what I need to do…

the better i am…at seeing it get’s done…

………hugmamma.  😉  

 

 

2012 resolution…#2

The Dana Owens Album

Image via Wikipedia

Found a few common sense resolutions from an actress who strikes me as having…common sense, Queen Latifah.

USA Weekend ran an article about the 5’10, full figured, Cover Girl singer-actress-comedienne. Having seen the beauty in a few films convinced me that she was the real deal, a nobody who became a somebody. Latifah’s star was finally launched when she received an Oscar nomination for her role as Matron Mama Morton in Chicago. She was cast alongside Renee Zellweger, and Catherine Zeta-Jones who walked away with the Best Supporting Actress Oscar

Latifah, a young 41 (from my perspective, anyway), is comfortable in her own skin. ” ‘I accept that I’m me…I don’t have a choice! From the time I really accepted myself, everything got brighter. People were attracted to me for me.’ “ I don’t think I’d find her as charming, if she were a complainer. I like her because she’s a striking woman, cut from a different mold, who’s funny, can laugh at herself, but still takes herself seriously…and is nobody’s fool.

Persona (Queen Latifah album)

Image via Wikipedia

My admiration for her jumped a few notches since learning that Latifah is also disciplined when it comes to taking care of her physical, and mental, well-being.
     ” ‘The first thing [I do] is to get on the treadmill for a mile,’ says Latifah, who has used a personal trainer for years. ‘Then it could be circuit training. Sometimes we’ll walk 3 or 4 miles outside, come in and do strength training. Sometimes it’s just yoga. Yoga’s great for calming your mind, loosening up, stretching and strengthening. And allowing you to feel pain and move through it. All things you need in life.’ “

Latifah is not without sin. Her favorite? Mac and cheese. “I know what to eat and what not to eat. But I just like doing what I want, you know? I’m rebellious like that!’ “ I also like that about her…a streak of the rebel.

With her signature, hearty laugh, Latifah confirms that her secret to a healthy body is…doing cardio…eating smaller potions…lots of water…no food 3 hours before bedtime…and lots of exercise. I’m also grateful that she has no use for plastic surgery. ” ‘What do you need to Botox your face for at age 25? Really? If you’re doing that at 25, what are you going to do at 50?’ “ Latifah only subscribed to having breast reduction surgery in 2003 to alleviate back pain. I can relate to that. Back pain, I mean. Not big boobs. 

In Latifah’s own words…

English: Dress worn by singer Queen Latifah in...

Image via Wikipedia

Queenly tips for living the good life

Break bad habits: Latifah started smoking at 14 and has ‘fought against it my whole life.’ She has quit ‘several times,’ sometimes for years, only to light up again. Her mantra? ‘Be honest. Be aware. And absolutely try again. Don’t beat yourself up.’

Attract love: ‘You have to not seek it. You have to be it. Love yourself first. It will come to you naturally. You don’t have to fake it. You don’t have to be needy. Be open. And don’t judge the package it comes in.’

Do what you love: ‘If you’re passionate about it and it’s realistic, then you have to do it. Why wait? As long as you are breathing, you’ve got a chance to do something different.’

Embrace your age: Getting older is ‘a blessing. It means you’re still alive.’

Be realistic: ‘You gotta be honest with yourself, No. 1. If you like to eat sweets at night, then you’ve got to prepare for it. You have to plan. Instead of eating the whole thing, just eat some of it.’

Give back: ‘So many people need help. Sponsor a child instead of giving a gift, or donate to an organization on someone’s behalf. Or take your [old] clothes to the Goodwill or Salvation Army. When you give, you can’t imagine how it’s going to come back to you. It always does.’

I think I’ll be following some womanly advice throughout this next year…

…and all the years thereafter…

………hugmamma.  😉 

sitting…the real culprit!

I’ve recently taken to posting about all things…healthful. Dr. Hugmamma is in the house! Next patient, please?!? Of course I  have my panel of experts, doctors, writers, and wannabees like me. Because we are all guilty of sitting, probably most of the time, I thought this article was timely. I too need to “listen up!” Join me won’t you…

A matter of gravity – Too much sitting can compromise your health
By Jennifer Nelson

Photographer: Frank C. Müller

Image via Wikipedia

MIKE DELGADO knew something had to give. “I typically sit in an office chair 12 to 14 hours a day, and I was starting to have major low-back-pain issues,” … About to head to a chiropractor seeking relief, Delgado instead purchased an ergonomic office chair. Though skeptical it could make a difference, within a week he felt better and one year later is pain-free. He credits the chair.

Surprisingly, Delgado–and others who sit at a desk all day–is a lot like an astronaut. When astronauts are in space, they lengthen, explains Joan Vernikos, former NASA scientist and author of Sitting Kills, Moving Heals; How Simple Everyday Movement Will Prevent Pain, Illness, and Early Death–and Exercise Alone Won’t (Quill Drive, 2011). “They stretch out because nothing is pulling them down.” Then they return to Earth and, wham, their backs compress. Muscles that support the spine that were not used in space due to weightlessness, suddenly are faced with gravity, and need to prevent vertebrae from slamming against each other. It’s a lot like sitting.

People don’t need rocket scientists to tell them that sitting too much could give them a sore back. But now, other health problems are attributed to too much sitting, including raised blood pressure and, of course, obesity.

Educator Astronauts Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenberg...

Splash landing
Sitting is equivalent to what happens when you quit using gravity. When you stand up, gravity pulls on your body from head to toe. When you sit down, that distance is smaller, and if you allowed gravity to have its way, you’d be crumpled on the floor.

“We are born in gravity and have evolved in it,” Vernikos says, “If we don’t use it and we sit or lie down too frequently, then we do away with the stimulation that nature provides, because we aren’t using muscles while sitting all day.”

What happens when you stop using core, spine and other muscles that engage while standing? A host of health issues.

Bad posture

Image via Wikipedia

Houston, we have a problem
To complicate the issue further, if you slump in your chair, round your shoulders forward, lean toward your computer screen and sit with your legs tucked under, it’s not difficult to see why you might have back pain, neck pain and other problems.

“Posture is huge (when you’re sitting) in a chair, and if you’re tall or short it completely changes the angles,” says…Sara Daly, physical therapist at Waterfalls Day Spa and Vermont Wellness Tetreats in Middlebury, Vermont.

One small step
Since most of us sit eight to 10 hours at work, then sit on our drive home and plop in front of the television for more sitting at night, how can we counter these effects? “The most important thing is to get out of your chair and stand up,” says Vernikos. Adjust, pace and move. Get up every 20 or 30 minutes and just stand–you don’t even need to walk around.

Daly says to take breaks and change positions frequently. Walk while on the phone, squeeze your shoulder blades together, flex and point your ankles. Set a computer or phone alarm to remind you to change position. Post notes at your desk, or buddy up with a co-worker and prompt each other.

posture correcte, SVG created from Image:Postu...

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When sitting or standing, try not to slouch. Sit up straight with your back against the back of your chair and your feet flat on the floor. Stand tall with your head up and shoulders back.

At home, lie down and elevate your feet above your heart for a few minutes to improve circulation. Sit on an exercise ball for a few minutes, or lie back over it to change the curve of your spine. Almost anything you do that gets you up and changes your position every 30 minutes will help.

As for astronauts, Vernikos thinks a dose of gravity may eventually be the cure–some sort of spinning wheel or machine they can ride to get their daily gravitational pull. For those of us on Earth but chair-bound, getting up often is the simplest solution.

…don’t know about you…but i ache just reading this article…think i’ll stand for awhile…

Fold sitting

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………hugmamma. 

Defecation in the sitting position, as used in...

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reconnecting…a necessity

Often times in our busy lives we have difficulty meeting up with others who make us feel good about ourselves. But when we do, they provide a much needed shot in the arm. I’ve returned from just such an appointment. Exactly what the doctor ordered…my chiropractor, that is.

I didn’t make it to exercise class this morning. I’m not an early riser as my classmates know, and after having been up at the crack of dawn to go touring every day while on vacation, I’m taking it nice and slow now that I’m back into my normal routine. Sleeping in…and burning the midnight oil. Some may not understand my schedule, but anyone who’s spent time in Hawaii knows that the natives like to take their sweet old time. I think that’s true of islanders anywhere. “What’s the hurry?” That’s our motto.

Starbucks on Briggate

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I did meet up with the ladies after they were done exercising. At Starbuck’s we chatted about this, that and the other. In the mix…vacation experiences while on cruises…Kauai being the island of choice to visit…the charm and beauty of the British Isles…biographies about rock stars…lumbar aches and pains…rotator cuff exercises to alleviate pain…an upcoming fashion extravaganza for which one of the women would be applying makeup for all the models…the real reason for closing the doll museum in Bellevue. You name it; we talked about it. Women do that.

A skateboard

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Upon exiting the coffee shop, good friend and exercise instructor, Kristina told me of repairs she was making to a condo her family owns. She installed a new garbage disposal. Imagine that! It seems there’s nothing she can’t do if she sets her mind to it. We also spoke of our children. Her son, in his early 20s, is a professional skate-boarder. He tours the world competing, as well as doing exhibitions and promotional gigs for his financial backers. He’s even had a skate board named for him. Like my daughter, he began his career path at the age of 16. Kristina and I agreed that our kids jumped into their passions feet first, learning as they aged how to manage the real world of adults. And they’ve both done a heck of a job!

After Kristina and I parted, I trotted over to visit my lady friends at the nearby gift shop, Look’s. Shelley and Shelley, one the owner, the other her right-hand employee. They’ve been a welcoming twosome during the years I’ve frequented the store. We’ve shared anecdotes about our lives, our children, our concerns. On one occasion, they couldn’t have been nicer to my daughter when she accidentally broke a wine glass while reaching for an item nearby. She offered to pay for the breakage, but both Shelleys explained that it was an accident, that my daughter owed nothing. Well! That confirmed my loyalty to Looks from then on. Treat my offspring kindly…and I’ll be back again and again, with my business.

Driving home, my spirit felt refreshed. My reservoir of compassion had been replenished. A sisterhood, my friends and I support one another’s efforts to carry on…

…in our daily lives………hugmamma.