Snap into Fitness

By Thomas Beranek, Snap Fitness

Everyone understands the holidays can be an easy time to eat more and gain the extra winter insulation that follows. While diet and exercise are important year-round, it’s important to acknowledge the middle of the holiday season is not the ideal time to start a new health regimen; stress is just as much an enemy of a waistline as a sedentary lifestyle.

Exercise is a proven stress reliever.  The central nervous system responds favorably to physical exercise, and regularly exercising to elevate the heart rate for at least 30 minutes three times a week has been shown to significantly lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Yoga is a physical activity ideal for coping with the added stress of the holiday season.  In fact, yoga emphasizes stress reduction through self-reflection and breath control even with the most physically demanding tasks.  You are calmer, more centered, and more able to handle the day’s stressors after a session of yoga.

Don’t worry if you aren’t flexible or particularly coordinated. Yoga is not what is portrayed in the popular media.  Yoga is for everyone.  From the most petite to the burliest, yoga allows you to work up a healthy sweat for your physical fitness and an even healthier opportunity to quiet the stress in your life.

But it’s equally important to build a stress-relieving regimen before the holidays are knocking at the door and it’s suddenly impossible to imagine the time to step away and de-stress.  Taking the opportunity now to participate in a class and start a regular habit is the best way to manage the stress throughout the entire season.  Yoga offers a host of stress reducing-techniques in the classroom and beyond.

At Snap Fitness of Eau Claire, we offer a variety of yoga classes for every age, ability level, and physical goals: Gentle Yoga, Relax Yoga, and Power Yoga.  We avidly believe the benefits of yoga will help you reach your fitness goals while managing your stress.  Please stop by our new location at 1903 Keith Street, just down the road from Memorial High School, and attend a complimentary yoga class.  We can’t wait to help you through this stressful holiday season.

Exercise Your Health

By Julie Hasenberg, Highland Fitness

Is it “I’m stressed from the holidays, not sleeping, over-indulging, and not exercising season”? Coincidence? I don’t think so. When our bodies don’t receive the proper nutrition, rest, hydration, and are on high alert the majority of the time, a weakened immune system will occur, which makes us more susceptible to illness.“ You can’t underestimate the importance of good nutrition when it comes to your immune system,” says Karen Ansel, RD, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietics. “Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants—these are what keeps your body strong, and without them you’re not giving your body the edge it needs to ward off infection.”The number one thing we can do help our bodies function better is drink WATER! If you google “chronic dehydration,” you will find a long list of potential symptoms/illnesses due to lack of hydration. So carry a bottle of water with you…EVERYWHERE!

Rest and relaxation can do wonders for the body and more importantly for the brain. Try Yoga. Calming the brain has a direct effect on our body. At Highland Fitness we offer alignment restorative yoga. Vinyasa and Pilates at no charge with your membership. Exercising is crucial for physical and mental health, especially during the cold, dark months of winter. Exercise helps our mood, gives us energy, and strengthens our muscles. Schedule it just like a doctor appointment. You wouldn’t miss business appointments or kids’ activities, so grab a friend, co-worker, or trainer to be an accountability partner! So what happens if you’re exercising, eating healthy, and getting sleep, and you still end up with the grud? Richard Besser, MD, and chief health and medical editor at ABC News says, “Light to moderate activity may actually help you feel better.”  First Besser says to use the “neck rule.” If your symptoms are above the neck—sneezing, sinus pressure, stuffy nose—then breaking a sweat is generally safe. The best exercise is walking. Studies have shown that people who regularly work out tend to get sick less overall.

Piyo 101

By: Brenda Jane, Pure Fitness 4 You

PiYo is a total-body fitness class designed with NO jumping and LOW impact moves that combines the practices of Pilates and yoga to help you build strength, lose weight, increase flexibility, improve balance, improve energy levels, reduce stress, and have a great time doing it. PiYo will really get your heart rate going as it features various styles in continuous movement and flow from one exercise to another. Sometimes I describe PiYo as a hyper version of yoga, but with the benefits of balance, stretching, strengthening, and relaxation.

Who is PiYo for?
PiYo is for EVERYONE no matter your fitness level. We take every move and show how to modify it or advance it so it’s right for YOU! This lets you take exercise at your own pace, helping you feel better and comfortable. It is designed for people who want the mind-body benefits of a yogaor Pilates workout but with a higher-energy class.

How can PiYo help you this Holiday Season?
We all know the holidays are a stressful time, so let’s take PiYo and let the stress go! Below is a list of benefits you get from exercise, and when you combine them with a comfortable, welcoming workout environment you win! It pumps up your endorphins! Physical activity helps pump up the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. It’s meditation in motion. During and after a PiYo class you’ll often find that you’ve forgotten the day’s irritations and concentrated only on your body’s movements. As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do. It improves your mood.  Regular attendance at a PiYo class can increase self-confidence, helping you feel better about you. Bring PiYo into your life and create strength, flexibility, balance, and so much more, including that it can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life!

Boost Fertility Naturally

By: Abby Burgess

Although struggling to become pregnant can feel isolating, the Center for Disease Control state that it is a common problem in the United States affecting around 10 percent of people. Factors that may impact fertility include delayed childbearing, environmental toxins, and lifestyle risks such as stress, smoking and excessive alcohol use.

The good news is that medical technology has made great advances in diagnosing and treating infertility. Medical testing can diagnose any physical challenges, such as hormonal imbalance, low sperm count or blocked fallopian tubes. And we are far past the days when trouble conceiving was considered a women’s problem. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine states that infertility affects men and women at equal rates.

When difficulty conceiving is a concern, many patients look to natural health methods to enhance their chances of getting pregnant. Two practices for boosting fertility that pre-date modern medicine are acupuncture and Ayurveda.

Acupuncture for Infertility

Acupuncture is widely accepted in the medical community as a resource for patients who need help with fertility. Eau Claire acupuncturist Dr. Paul Lin says that he often treats patients who are also undergoing traditional allopathic procedures. “Studies show that a combination of treatments

Preparing for Conception with Ayurveda

Another alternative treatment that is unique to each patient is Ayurveda. Carleen Sterner retired from her position as a family physician at the Mayo Clinic Health System, seeking something more holistic. She is currently training to be a certified Ayurveda practitioner. The word Ayurveda comes from the Sanskrit words for life and knowledge. According to the Radiant Living Online School of Ayurveda, it has been practiced in India for over 6,000 years.

Sterner says Ayurveda, like acupuncture, can be used in conjunction with mainstream fertility treatments. “I can’t see there being any contraindications,” she says. “Anything you are doing to prepare your whole body [for conception] is beneficial.”

Sterner was attracted to Ayurveda for its holistic approach that brings balance to each individual in a unique way. In Ayurveda, she explains, conceiving a baby is considered a sacred and special event. “You prepare your mind, body and spirit to increase your chances of bringing a healthy and happy baby into the world. You want to be at your best before you make a human being!”

That preparatory process begins 35 days before attempting to conceive. Both partners go through a cleansing process overseen by a certified Ayurveda practitioner. While the treatment plan is uniquely tailored to each individual and their dosha (body type), there are some general Ayurvedic guidelines for increasing fertility.

Balancing the digestive function of both parents is the first priority, explains Sterner. “Part of doing that is eating a clean diet. That means fresh, seasonal, local foods including organic plants. Avoid processed foods, leftovers and microwaving. Prepare and eat your food with love and care.” Certain foods are recommended or discouraged when trying to conceive. Men should avoid excess salt and bitter flavors such as coffee. Both partners should eliminate soy and alcohol from their diet as well as citrus (except lime), vinegar, sour cream, pickled and fermented foods and aged cheese. Other detrimental foods are anything pungent, spicy or astringent. Nourishing foods for fertility include dairy, whole grains such as rice and quinoa, meat and fruit.

Getting enough sleep, managing stress, and engaging in a spiritual practice such as prayer or meditation are important for both partners.

This article explores only two of the many natural health practices available. Today’s couples are lucky to have so many resources available to help on the journey to creating families.

Choosing the Right Treatment for You

Difficulty getting pregnant can take an emotional toll. “It’s huge…it can be quite devastating,” Dr. Dan Czelatdko says. When it’s happening to you, the options for treatment can seem overwhelming. Dr. Dan is a doctor of chiropractic and board certified nutritionist at Tenold Chiropractic in Eau Claire. As one of his specialties is hormone balance, he sees many patients who are struggling with fertility issues. Here is his take on sifting through the avail-able therapies to find the best choice for you.

How non-invasive is the treatment?

The non-invasive nature of treatment methods such as chiropractic is something to consider. “The natural approach is less strenuous on the body, and leaves the body in better condition to support an embryo and fetus so there is a better chance of having a healthy baby.”

What are the benefits?

“We’re not only helping with the fertility,” Dr. Dan explains of holistic care. The treatments target the underlying cause, so the patient’s overall health can improve. “You end up getting side benefits —you can fix two or three other problems at the same time.”

What is best for you?

“Explore all possibilities. There are many out there.” Dr. Dan says. He encourages individuals to research all the options including the benefits andside effects. “Make the decision on what you think is going to be the best for you to go through.”