By American Heart Association
Does your worksite offer a wellness program? If so, is your program comprehensive and based on best practices? Whether your company already has a program or you’re just getting started, the American Heart Association’s Workplace Health Solutions can help your program maximize its potential!
The American Heart Association partners with local San Diego companies to help make the most of your wellness program with the nation’s first continuous quality improvement program for workplace health. Workplace Health Solutions is completely free of charge and is being offered to help the American Heart Association improve the health of all San Diegans.
Workplace Health Solutions offers a complete suite of evidence-based tools to help you and your employees get the most out of your workplace health program. The American Heart Association’s continuous quality improvement program will help you assess the comprehensiveness of your programs and supporting workplace environment, consult expert resources on strategies for improvement, implement programs that engage employees and track progress toward ideal heart health and recognize your achievement through awards.
To learn more, visit heart.org/workplacehealth or contact your local American Heart Association office at (858) 410-3821 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Why it Matters
By Corporate Prana
Whether you’re at work, home, on the golf course, spending time with your kids or loved ones, or taking much needed time for yourself, there is an undercurrent of stress that plays in the background of your mind and body that you may or may not detect. Today, scientific research is predicting that stress will soon be the #1 Killer of lives and the workplace! Stress has reached all-time highs because people have never been taught how to manage their stress. It’s a current reality that is permeating every aspect of life and business, even children as young as 5 are saying, “I’m stressed.” If that’s not bad enough, these young people are the future leaders of families, companies, local and federal agencies so the more you can learn about managing your own stress, undoubtedly helps others manage theirs- the ripple effect is powerful!
Effects of Uncontrolled Stress
Sadly, for most people, they’re unaware of their deep underlying stressors are let alone when and where they started. Equally alarming is that they’re very aware and they don’t know how to release, restore, or renew themselves. The brain thrives on safety and efficiency so even bad habits that lessen the pain and suffering of stress put the mind and body at temporary ease. Coping mechanisms are very effective, but do little to unravel the issue to let the negative energy of the stressor release either mental, physical or emotional grip.
Some of the most common symptoms of stress are insomnia, stomach upsets, recurring headaches, irritability, diminished appetite, and difficulty concentrating, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, doubt, uncertainty, lack of sexual drive, chronic fatigue, and more. In an attempt to take the mind off the stressful situation, some individuals, turn to food, smoking, alcohol and prescriptive (or non-drugs which in turn have a long term effect of well-being.
3 Ways to Manage Your Stress
Sailing Through Stress
Once you’ve identified your stress triggers and reactions to stress, the next thing you can add to your list as critical line item is to ‘keep up’. The stress of not having enough energy to meet the demands of your day and the strength that’s required to get through the challenges can be established as your sole focus. This alone is the magic bullet that will give you the winds in your sail, so to speak! Know that energy will be newly directed and your mind and body will respond accordingly.
Sometimes we need help outside of ourselves to deal with stress and there is no shame in that. Seeking the support from family, friends, groups, and colleagues is a huge opportunity that will pay dividends. Their positive energy will give you new found energy- their positive charge will create a positive charge in you and then it’s your job to keep going- it’s like passing the baton- you in turn will pass it along to others. Just think of how powerful this one act can be- especially if you allow yourself to receive from your children and they in turn share with their siblings or friends- home life, school life, and work life, become a healthier, happier place to be.
Technology has evolved and is very helpful when managing your daily stress. Heartmath is at the forefront of creating stress management gadgets such as the Inner Balance which can be used together with your smartphone to help achieve better focus, reduce stress and enhance an optimistic emotional state.
The emWave2 Handheld helps focus your racing mind so that you can achieve emotional balance. In addition to helping you achieve balance, emWave Pro also offers a desktop training system on stress management.
Stress is a natural part of your human experience, it allows you to develop and evolve. What’s not okay is allowing stress to take over your life. If you or your company is ready to learn more about stress management, Corporate Prana , a San Diego based company, specializes in the Heartmath product, workshops, and off site one day retreats. Managing your stress can be the single most profitable choice you can make.
By Corporate Prana
Questioning whether meditation could make your day more peaceful, profitable, while performing at your best? If so, don’t spend too long pondering as research, celebrities, and famous business leaders have already confirmed its profound effects. Meditation, with its humble 5, 000+ year history, has been growing in popularity. According to Google trends, people are searching for “Mindfulness” 400 times more today than they did 5 years ago.
Meditation and Business
The truth is, meditation is so refreshing because it’s not the perpetual an act of doing or by living life on the hamster wheel, but simply an act of being. It is an opportunity to tune in to the mind body spirit relationship and create space, connection, calm, clarity, confidence and more. These are personal and professional gifts that keep on giving and grows over time through daily practice. It also gifts organizations by being the most cost effective way to achieve strategic goals from lowering health care costs, stress in the workplace, employee engagement, innovation, talent retention, leadership succession and culture.
Stress is becoming the number one killer from immune disorders, cardiovascular, mental health, and more which is costing U.S companies approximately $300 Billion in stress related illnesses-not including the additional $200 Billion for absenteeism. Take note, these numbers don’t account for employees of all levels who come to work fragmented and fatigued and unable to perform at their best. Improving the quality of life, relationships, health, effectiveness, success and more is not only critical, it’s a timely opportunity to transform the way we live and work.
This contemplative practice is positively changing those workplaces where leaders are committed to finding solutions to curb the ever rising mental, emotional, and physical threats employees feel. Many understand the value proposition- everyone benefits greatly when employees come to work feeling healthy, happy, focused, calm, and resilient. These qualities directly translate to higher levels of performance and ultimately that means greater peace, performance, and profitability in the workplace and beyond.
Brain Benefits to Consider
There has been a lot of debate, thousands of studies, articles and research papers in the science community as to how meditation impacts the brain. Regardless of the style of meditation, it all boils down to one thing-it’s ALL GOOD. Here are a few benefits if you’re new, you need a refresher, or you want to finish the article because your brain is focused on absorbing more data.
1. Individuals who meditate tend to have increased gray matter changes in their brain. The anterior cingulate cortex located behind the brain’s frontal lobe is associated with self-regulatory processes. This means that people who meditate tend to have a healthier ability to monitor attention struggles and allow for more cognitive flexibility.
2. Scientists have also found that individuals who meditate have increased gray matter density in their prefrontal lobe region of the brain. What this means is that they, in turn, have a better ability to carry out executive functions such as planning, problem resolving and are better at regulating their emotions.
3. Meditating individuals have been found to have increased thickness in the hippocampus which is the part of the brain that governs learning and memory.
4. Studies have also shown that amygdala or part of the brain responsible for our ‘fight or flight’ reactions, reduces in the brain after meditation. This would indicate that meditation helps make one more stable, calm and collected.
5. We all have a Default Mode Network (DMN) also known as ‘Monkey Minds.’ What this means is that our brains wonder every other time. Meditation, helps us become more aware, more tolerant, less disapproving, and less reactive. This ultimately enables us to become more stable, proactive human beings.
Meditation is not a cure-all, but there is a lot of scientific evidence which shows that it is good for those who practice it regularly. And almost everyone agrees that its benefits are felt almost instantaneously after each practice. It is therefore not a wonder that huge corporates such as Google, Anderson Cooper, Apple and Target would integrate it in their work schedules.
Ways to Develop a Meditation Program
We at Corporate Prana specialize in teaching meditation in the workplace and exclusively for executive teams. Reach out when you’re ready to discuss how you can create more peace, and profitability in your life and business.
By Corporate Prana
Breathing is the foundation of life and yoga; similar to life breathing can be both conscious and unconscious. Breathing acts as the link between your mind and body and when done properly dramatically influences your psychological and physical health.
How Breathing Enhances Living
A steady an stable yogic breath infuses the mind and body with rich oxygen that instantly calm, activate, and alleviate the layers of stress that build up in mind and body. How does this happen? As you breathe, prana, this life force energy begins to flow freely into your body; activating a host of positive physiological chemical reactions. Depending on the yoga style you choose, the focus and benefits very, however the activation of the parasympathetic system cues all systems that detoxing and renewal are well under way.
Secondly, breathing enhances autonomic functions in the body. During the physical practice, your breath, structural alignment and the patterns you hold during yoga, reorganize. During this process, intelligent infrastructures in the musculoskeletal system, myofascial, and other organs and areas work together to heal, build , and repair.
Breathing is the cornerstone for all styles of Yoga. Breath control, also known as pranayma, are as diverse and challenging as some yoga postures, but the goal is to experience yourself expanding fully in each moment with equanimity that you can draw on long after your practice on the mat is complete. The list of benefits are endless, but the most commonly reported are new found calm, focus, deep connection with self and others, empathy, courage, strength and patience.
Yoga and breathing is the single most cost effective and impactful personal and business practice you can have. Like learning how to breathe properly or choosing a yoga class, getting started can be overwhelming. At Corporate Prana we support you in creating Yoga programs that fit your needs and those of your company and employees. We see Yoga as an important part of everyday living and a necessary tool for those in the work environment. We understand how prolonged hours of sitting and pressures of work can impact employees consequently having an impact on the company’s general performance.
We take the time to understand the unique needs of each member of the team so that we put together programs that are beneficial to all. A company whose employees deliberately seek wellness through Yoga realizes higher performance because wellness of employees fosters a positive work environment.
More to that, Corporate Prana can also create wellness spaces within your organization. These spaces are intended for use by employees to take yoga classes or retreat into after work or during breaks. The impact of the wellness spaces so far is that it has seen drops in employee absenteeism due to doctors’ visits, chronic illnesses, or other personal reasons. Our clients have in turn reported greater return on investment from their employees.
Let’s face it, with the pace and pressure of life increasing, sometimes we don’t even realize we are in a state of chronic stress; our breathing however is the first place to take control of it. Since Corporate Prana feels the success of the company rests in employee well-being, we have gone a step further in ensuring its clients are able to monitor their breathing patterns even when not taking part in a Yoga session by using the Spire.
Spire, is a wearable breath tracking device, backed by 7 years of clinical data, that detects your sense of calm, focus, tense, throughout the day. It vibrates to interrupt the cycle of tension and anxiety reminding you to breathe and regain composure. To help you breathe, it comes with a library of meditations that help you regain calm and control fast during a stressful situation. It also tracks your physical activity, providing on the spot notifications that remind you to stay active and hit your fitness goals.
Ultimately, the mind follows the breath and the body follows the mind so doesn’t it make sense to learn how to breathe this year? We are here to guide you in the process with various workshops and classes that will stimulate your mind and body. We are proud to be offering the Spire device to companies and employees which help employees and the company sustainably thrive and profit.
Please call to learn more 760-419-5108 or visit https://corporateprana.com/
Acupuncture can help you lose weight using a holistic, multi-level approach
For many people, the holidays signify a deep sense of tradition, belonging and celebration—we spend time with our families, we strengthen our faith, and we give to others. Unfortunately, the holidays can also signify a time of excess—we use more energy, we buy more stuff, and we eat more food. Trying to make healthy food choices amidst all of the cocktails parties, cookie exchanges, and holiday feasts can challenge the best of us, and by January we might find ourselves resolving once again to lose weight and get fit. If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. Year after year, “losing weight” ranks as the number one New Year’s resolution in America. People join diet programs and gyms, hire nutritionists and personal trainers, and harness all of their will power with the hope of losing fat and gaining health.
With so many people in pursuit of weight loss, I am often asked if acupuncture can provide help in shedding unwanted pounds. Certainly, the importance of a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet and consistent exercise can not be understated. These practices, along with adequate sleep and stress management, are the most powerful cornerstones of health and optimal body weight. That being said however, there are several other factors that can contribute to weight gain and obesity by causing dysregulation in the hypothalamus, including hormone imbalances, gut dysbiosis, chronic stress, and inflammation. Because acupuncture has the ability to regulate the hypothalamus, it may be an effective adjunctive therapy for weight loss in these circumstances.
The hypothalamus is the portion of the brain that is responsible for maintaining “homeostasis” or physiological balance. It achieves this balance by coordinating the activities of the autonomic nervous system and the pituitary to regulate hormones, neurochemicals, circadian rhythms, body temperature, thirst and hunger. If physiological communication to and from the hypothalamus is disrupted, this can cause a misfiring of signals which can ultimately result in weight gain.
Acupuncture may help restore proper functioning of the hypothalamus through a variety of mechanisms, but one of particular interest is the ability of acupuncture to influence the secretion of obesity-related hormones. A study by Güçel et al. (2012) measured the effect of acupuncture on hormone concentrations in 40 overweight women. After the 5-week study, it was found that acupuncture had positive effects on the concentrations of leptin, ghrelin, insulin, and cholecystokinin. These hormones play important roles in appetite regulation, fat accumulation, energy intake, and metabolism, therefore cumulative modulation of them through acupuncture may help individuals lose weight.
Because acupuncture has a regulatory effect on the hypothalamus and autonomic nervous system, it can be a powerful addition to other weight loss strategies by curbing appetite, suppressing food cravings, boosting metabolism, improving digestion and elimination, enhancing nutrient assimilation, balancing obesity-related hormones, and supporting the liver in metabolizing fats. Furthermore, acupuncture may increase smooth muscle tone in the stomach, which helps people more readily identify when they are full, so they are less likely to overeat.
So, “why weight?” Consider adding acupuncture to your weight loss regime, in order to give yourself every advantage to be successful. Alchemy Acupuncture & Apothecary wishes you a clean, lean, and healthy 2017!
Jami Rose L. Ac., Dipl. O.M. • Alchemy Acupuncture & Apothecary • www.alchemyacu.com
By The Beating Heart Center
January is the month for new years resolutions, and the number one resolutions is I need to get in shape. This is the time of year when everyone starts running, cycling or joining a gym. Did you know that working out at the gym is safer than working out in other locales?
We all know that aerobic exercise is good for your heart. Although there is a slightly higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) at the time of exercise for both physically active and more sedentary individuals, overall your heart gets healthier from aerobic exertion. And if you are getting your aerobic exercise dose at a “traditional exercise facility”, i.e. a gym, that slightly higher risk of SCA is mitigated by this: your chances of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest are about 10% higher if you experience the SCA at a gym as compared to other exercise locations, such as a bowling alley.
Why are gyms safer? The research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, points to the high number of automated external defibrillators (AEDS) located in gyms. Although compulsory AED placement varies by state, generally more AEDs are located in gyms because of that slightly higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest that can occur during strenuous exercise. Most gyms are on alert and more prepared than other exercise locations to handle that rare occurrence of a sudden heart attack.
And it doesn’t hurt that gyms have personal trainers and staff members who are certified in CPR/AED and First Aid.
The American Council on Exercise (ACE), a non-profit organization that claims to have trained more than 58,000 Certified Fitness Professionals, requires their students pass a CPR/AED training course in order to complete their personal trainer certification.
The CPR/AED training for ACE students must come from a recognized CPR training provider that requires hands on skills assessment as well as course work. (The Beating Heart Center training classes, approved by the American Health and Safety Institute and the American Heart Association, provide CPR and AED training that meets those criteria.)
The personal trainers at your gym will have received infant, child and adult CPR training as well as instructions on how to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). (If you are pursuing your personal training certification and need CPR/AED classes near you in the San Diego area, click here for a schedule).
Yes, the gym is busier in January than almost any other time of year. Many of us are working on keeping our heart healthy resolutions such as that thirtyminute per day aerobic heart work out.
So you may have a slight wait for a treadmill or other aerobic exercise machine because of the high traffic at your local establishment. Don’t give up! Getting your time on the machine is so beneficial to your heart’s well being. Not only is it safer than working out at some other locales, you will be burning off some of those Holiday Calories soon.
By Level One Training and Fitness
There have many discussions and more than a few research projects regarding the efficacy of high intensity interval training (HIIT) and the "afterburn effect" it purportedly results in. One can reasonably infer from the questions posed that there is indeed something to pushing yourself harder than you would with regular cardio.
How well do anaerobic workouts and high intensity interval training (HIIT) beat steady-state cardio? Why do many consider it the holy grail of weight loss and fat loss? Is it really "the miracle cure" so many people have been looking for? Does the science behind it in fact measure up? Are HIIT workouts something anyone can do?
Let's just say that hard work as part of a thoughtful strategy aligned with clearly defined goals produces results. In other words, if you are in the clear to do HIIT workouts and you know what else is required of you, particularly when it comes to nutrition, and you know what end result you are passionate about striving for, then HIIT may be the answer for you.
Studies have shown that hill running (sprints) can burn fat at seven times the rate of regular cardio. Can you imagine having to do only one round of hill sprints versus 7 bouts of standard cardio to achieve the same desired effect? How's that for motivation! Of course, the hard part is that running up hills is, well... difficult! The rewards, however, are just that - quite rewarding.
In a study by Dr. Christopher Scott and the University of Southern Maine, the total calorie burn of low intensity exercise vs. high intensity exercise was examined. A low intensity exercise group cycled at a steady rate of 3.5 minutes. The higher intensity exercise group required three 15 second sprints as fast as the subjects could run.
This is why hill sprints and HIIT classes can work so well at burning off those unwanted calories! It's very challenging though because you're having to work very intensely for short periods of time. The key to most HIIT classes is to workout like you're sprinting!
Burn, burn, burn
Regardless of whether you're sitting at your desk working, watching TV, sleeping, or driving to school, your body is expending energy. Your body, right down to the cellular level, requires energy for you to do everything you do, even when it seems like you’re doing nothing at all.
The concept of anaerobic/HIIT workouts to induce the "afterburn effect" revolves around this premise: the more intensely you make your body work, the more work it needs to put in to repair itself over the next day or two. This repair "work" the body does, just like any other activity, burns calories. We'll lay out the data from Marc's quote above for visual ease:
Virtually identical total calorie expenditure despite the fact that one group exercised for 210 seconds and the other for only 45 seconds!
Rachel Cosgrove a well-respected trainer and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) has the following to say:
Fat loss is all about caloric expenditure. You must burn off more calories than you consume in order to lose body fat. Even among the proliferation of diets—low carb, low fat, high protein—this simple rule remains.
The key to achieving this is not aerobic training, which will burn calories only while you are doing it. It is anaerobic training, which burns calories while you are working out and increases the calories burned for hours afterwards. In the case of weight training, building muscle burns calories as long as that muscle is retained—even during sleep.(1)
Need more proof? Dr. Len Kravitz, program coordinator of exercise science and a researcher at the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque provides this synopsis from the body of HIIT work:
Perry et al. (2008) showed that fat oxidation, or fat burning was significantly higher and carbohydrate oxidation (burning) significantly lower after 6 weeks of interval training. Similarly, but in as little as two weeks Talanian et al. (2007) showed a significant shift in fatty acid oxidation with HIIT. In their research review, Horowitz and Klein (2000) summarize that an increase in fatty acid oxidation is a noteworthy adaptation observed with continuous endurance exercise.(9)
Even Angelo Tremblay and his team at the University of Colorado get in on the action with a study of 27 men and women, aged 18 to 32 years, who were then divided into two groups, one endurance training and the other high intensity interval training. What happened when all was said and done? "...the results of the present study show that for a given level of energy expenditure, a high intensity training program induces a greater loss of subcutaneous fat compared with a training program of moderate intensity."(8)
So what's the catch?The catch to all of this HIIT talk is that in order for HIIT to be effective at burning your fat away, you must perform your work interval at a level greater than 80% of your maximum effort, even approaching 100% of your maximum effort.
It's no wonder that despite its effectiveness, more people have not jumped onboard with HIIT: it's a tough pill to swallow! And for others? They're just not in that big of a hurry. It will take a certain type of individual to do the necessary gut check and then double-down to make it happen.
The beauty of it all is that everyone is capable of performing that gut check and everyone is capable of doubling-down; they just need to be at the right time and place in their lives in order to make it happen for them. Did you notice the statement didn't say "at the perfect time?" Did you notice the statement DID say "make it happen?"
For individuals who are up for a challenge or want to arrive at "point b" a bit sooner than everyone else, HIIT is a potentially great way to do just that - make it happen. These individuals will be tired of remaining the same and will be ready for the next step with minimal investment in both finance and time.
HIIT also provides great variability with little complexity. In other words, it's always interesting!
In the end, it's about who you are, what you’re capable of doing, and what you're looking for.
Freddy Saluna is the Founder of Level One Training and Fitness. Together with Brittany Johnson, a Registered Dietitian and Charlie Satter, a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, they work holistically at helping people effectively and efficiently achieve their health and fitness goals by utilizing a "back-to-basics" approach. They are "Saving the world, one person at a time" through one-on-one and group personal training sessions, outdoor HIIT (high intensity interval training) "bootcamp" classes, and Online/Virtual Training for clientele throughout the United States.