Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Can running actually be good for your knees?

Have you heard about this new study released by The American College of Sports Medicine?  Daily Spark blog writer Jen Mueller summarized some of the info below, and there is also a link to the report!  
The American College of Sports Medicine has released a new report that examines the effects of exercise on the knee joint. Previous research has looked at the impact of physical activity on the knee as a whole, but this is the first study to look at its effect on individual parts of the knee. The research found that exercise affects each part of the knee differently, which might explain why previous studies have produced conflicting results.

The report looked at data from 28 previous studies which involved almost 10,000 participants. These previous studies all looked at the relationship between osteoarthritis of the knee and physical activity. "According to the team’s findings, while exercise was linked to osteophytes, or bony spurs, there were no detrimental changes to joint space, the place where cartilage is housed. There were beneficial effects on cartilage integrity, with evidence of greater volumes and fewer defects." This means that exercise actually helped improve the cartilage in between joints instead of breaking it down.

Osteoarthritis is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints- in this case, the knees. It can cause joint pain, stiffness, swelling and other problems that limit mobility. Interested in learning more about this condition and how exercise can help? Check out our Osteoarthritis Condition Center for more information. 

--Jen Mueller

From IPTC:
Do you get knee pain when you run?  Keep in mind that your form when running will affect how your joint absorbs the shock.  Form can be affected by muscle strength, shoes, and your stride when running.  Be sure you purchase shoes that give your feet support in the places appropriate for your own body.  The way your feet strike will affect how your knees, pelvis, spine, and neck take all the shock of your run. 

It's also important to equally strengthen all the muscles that support your knees.  Pilates is a great complement to running (or any sport!) because we focus on restoring balance to all the muscles.  This keeps the joints in a neutral position so your body doesn't get more wear and tear on one part of the joint than another; keeping the joints in a neutral position will reduce the likelihood of injury and pain!
Your quadriceps (on the front of the thigh) are made up of 4 different muscles, all of which give support to your knee.  Especially important are the Vastii muscles on the inside and outside of your thigh.  Many people are much stronger on the outside (or lateral) side of the thigh in the vastus lateralis.  Training the inside muscle (or medial) which is your vastus medialis to fire at the same time as your vastus lateralis will keep your kneecap centered on your knee rather than pulling it to one side or the other.  Taking a moment to stretch these muscles after a workout or to roll them out on a foam roller or tennis ball will keep the muscles more pliable and supple as well.  

Your hamstrings (on the back of the thigh) are made up of 3 different muscles, all of which give support to your knee as well.  If your knees push past a straight position into hyperextension, it is beneficial to strengthen the hamstrings so the knee joint will be supported in a neutral position.  It is also beneficial to stretch these muscles after a workout so they are less prone to injury.

Your glute muscles (on your seat) also give a lot of support to your knees.  There are 3 glute muscles:  gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus.  The gluteus medius and minimus (these are your abductors) are more towards the outside of your hip, and they help keep your knee from falling in during your gait when walking or running.  They also stabilize through your pelvis which will help absorb shock in your hips and spine.  

Inner Thighs
Your inner thighs (these are your adductors) also help keep your knee in line with your hip and ankle when balanced with your gluteus medius and minimus (abductors).  These muscles work to prevent your knee from falling out during your stride.  

If you can complement your running with Pilates 2-3 times per week, we think you will feel a big difference in your strength, endurance, and joint health!  Are you a runner?  Has Pilates made a difference in your running?  Please share with us in the comments!  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Spring Cleaning!

Need another idea to beat the winter blues?  Get started on your spring cleaning!  Clearing out your closets, cleaning basements and garages, and trimming up the yards will give you a new lease on life and prepare you for summer!  You might even find some fun things you forgot you had.
If you need a place to donate items, remember that Tangles Salon (in our building) is still collecting items for the Women's Shelter, and they need anything and everything to help the women in the shelter get  started on a new life (clothes, toiletries, toys for the children, etc.).

Or, have you tried a swap with your friends?  You can set up a night where everyone brings 'stuff' that they no longer use or wear, and, who knows?  You might find some new gems in your friends closet, plus you get to catch up with your friends lives!

If you don't have a lot of things to clean out or get rid of, consider making your home more "green" for Spring!  Have you checked out SLC Green?  
It will keep you updated on projects the city is working on and how you can get involved, including using solar energy in your home or business, helping clear the winter inversion air, efforts to reduce water bottle waste with the city's new Tapit program, neighborhood clean-up dates, and more! 

You can also check out the redirect green guide here:
For businesses in SLC and Park City that are "Green", and get coupons to use there!  

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It warms the heart...

Saw this and had to repost it!  Real interviews from kids about what love is.  Saw this on It really did warm my heart...

“When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.” - Billy, age 4

“Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.” - Karl, age 5

“Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.” - Chrissy, age 6 

“Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.” - Terri, age 4

“Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.” - Danny, age 7

“Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.” - Emily, age 8

“Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” - Bobby, age 7

“If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,” - Nikka, age 6

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.” - Noelle, age 7

“Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.” - Tommy, age 6

“During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.” - Cindy, age 8

“My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.” - Clare, age 6

“Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.” - Elaine, age 5

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Brad Pitt.” - Chris, age 7 

“Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.” - Mary Ann, age 4

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.” - Lauren, age 4

“When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore. So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.” - Rebecca, age 8

“When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.” - Karen, age 7

“You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot. People forget.” - Jessica, age 8

Monday, March 21, 2011

It's a Rainy Day

Whenever it's raining hard enough to keep me inside, this song from Sesame Street pops right into my head--does anyone else remember it?

If you are stuck inside today here is a fun recipe I found to make bread that looks like a panda bear!

While you're baking, you can listen to some new music AND help protect the environment by purchasing music through this new program from Patagonia:

Patagonia has teamed up with a group of musicians to create Patagonia Music. Artists donate exclusive versions of songs—Patagonia says you won't find these songs anywhere else—to the Patagonia Music Collective. When a listener purchases one of the songs on iTunes, a portion of the sales goes to an environmental group.
Some of the musicians so far are Ziggy Marley, Phillip Glass, Pearl Jam, Maroon 5, and Brett Dennen.
You can preview some of the tracks in thePatagonia music player.
How do YOU beat the blues on a rainy day?  I'd love to hear your suggestions since the most tempting thing is to curl up in front of the TV and do nothing!  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Are you spreading yourself too thin?

GUILTY!  I love how this article from Women's Health Magazine calls women out for "competing" for who is the most stressed out!  It explains how that "stressed out" feeling actually becomes ADDICTIVE to the point that when we don't feel it we start to feel guilty, lazy, unproductive, and "less-than" we should be.  Women are equipped to handle some ridiculously stressful situations--but are we piling on the stress unnecessarily?  Do a self-test--Do you feel guilty if you aren't in pain after a workout?  If you get a full-night's sleep?  If you sit down long enough to catch your breath?  The first BASIC principle of STOTT Pilates is BREATHING.  Try it today!  ;)

Do You Stress Yourself Out?

More and more women are overworked, overwhelmed, and overwrought. The bigger problem: They're proud of it! Learn how to break an unhealthy, addicted-to-high-anxiety lifestyle


When you think about it, stress is a mysterious thing: You can't see it or touch it, but you definitely know it's there. And its enigmatic nature just might be preventing us from fully realizing the damage stress can do—to our minds, bodies, and spirits.

According to the American Psychological Association, more than half of all women say they're "highly stressed," an increase of 25 percent from just four years ago. But very few do anything to chill out. In fact, many seem to be saying "bring it on!" because somewhere along the line being stretched to the limit turned into a badge of honor.

That's how it was for Meredith Bodgas, 28, of Forest Hills, New York. Before switching to a lower-key Web job, Bodgas worked until 9 p.m. most nights. "I figured anyone who left before 7 p.m. simply wasn't as valuable," she says. She subscribed to the same misguided belief adopted by so many modern women: Stress is synonymous with success—and if you're not totally fried, you may not be doing enough. "I loved it when people would ask me 'How do you do it?' " admits Bodgas, "even though I suspect what some of them really meant was 'Why do you do it?' "

Stress Appeal
Turns out, high anxiety may be, well, an actual high.

"Some people think they need to be stressed all the time in order to really feel alive," says Patt Lind-Kyle, author of Heal Your Mind, Rewire Your Brain: Applying the Exciting New Science of Brain Synchrony for Creativity, Peace, and Presence. They become hooked on the rush they get from stress, which stimulates hormones such as adrenaline, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and especially cortisol. The tension can become addictive—and as with most addictions, it can usher in an unhealthy craving.

The ready willingness to put out a welcome mat for stress also stems from myriad social and cultural pressures. While you'd think the feminist movement would have moved women way past this by now, "many still feel driven to prove they can be just as successful as their male counterparts," says stress researcher KaMala Thomas, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Pitzer College in California.

"In fact, studies show that women expect to juggle multiple roles from an early age. The result is that they end up thriving on stress and feeling guilty if they're not multitasking. They get used to the adrenaline rush and eventually interpret stress as a drive to be productive rather than a potential source of long-term health problems."

Compounding this is the possibility that women embrace stress because, somewhere along the way, they came to believe that the more frazzled they are, the better person they are. "Many young women think if they're not working every second of every day, they're lazy," says Steve Orma, Psy.D., a clinical psychologist in San Francisco.

"They are ashamed of taking breaks and feel they're not a 'good' enough person if they aren't pushing themselves to the absolute limit. It has become a moral issue."

Plus, a lot of women are willing to forgo sleep and sanity for an implied payoff. In Bodgas's case, she figured the more hours she clocked—and the higher her stress meter continued to soar—the greater her reward would be. "I felt as if I were one of those pledging frat guys who tells himself that the fraternity must be amazing if he has to go through so much horrible stuff to get in," she says.

Monday, March 14, 2011

How the Seasons Affect Fitness Motivation

Have you noticed that you seem to go through cycles with your fitness routine?  Do you feel extremely motivated during the 
summer, but lose motivation during the winter?  Or does it vary month to month?  I saw this article on The Outside Blog 
and thought it was really interesting!  The Emotional Calendar doesn't just address fitness cycles, but writer Aileen Torres 
has highlighted some of the thoughts the book addresses to help us stay motivated in our fitness routines throughout 
the whole year.  Sounds good to me!!

By Media
Mar 14, 2011

commentsComments (0)
The Emotional CalendarDr. John R. Sharp, who teaches at Harvard and UCLA, has been practicing psychiatry for two decades. He brings his wisdom to the masses with The Emotional Calendar, a book of case studies and advice on recognizing and understanding the annual cycle of your emotions in relation to the four seasons. Here’s a re-cap of the Doc’s main pointers and how to tailor them for a healthy, active lifestyle throughout the year.
Motivation: It’s hard to get yourself out the door to train in the dead of winter or the dog days of summer. When you feel a lack of motivation, acknowledge it, identify how the weather outside affects you, then figure out how to make yourself accountable for getting a move on. A simple way to do this is to set up regular training dates with a buddy. 
Thought patterns: When you start thinking you can’t, nip that thought in the bud. Defeatist thinking naturally happens when we’re tried physically, mentally, or emotionally. It’s important to notice when these thoughts pop into your head so you can counteract them with self-motivating, positive thoughts. Simply put, tell yourself: "Yes, I can." And believe it.
Stimulation: It’s easy to fall into a rut physically and mentally if you do the same activity every day. Bring excitement back into your training routine by switching what you do day-to-day. For example, you could alternate the type of workout you do every other day, vary your routine from week to week, and/or incorporate a new activity into your routine every month. If you need ideas, sign up for one of our interactive training plans at
 Take a cue from the Buddhists and start practicing mindfulness. It’s a meditation technique that encourages the act of paying attention. Learning to pay attention to what’s going on in your mind, body, and external environment will foster self-awareness. And being self-aware is critical to a sound mind and body. If you’re feeling down, figure out why so you can isolate and address the cause. Same thing if you’re feeling good; figure out the cause so you can use it to trigger those good vibes when you need to in the future.
Attitude Adjustments: This goes with mindfulness. Monitor your thoughts and moods throughout the day to see what triggers negative and positive emotions. Once you recognize how you feel, try to pinpoint the cause, then work to control your thoughts so that you actively choose how to respond to your internal and external environment, instead of reacting blindly. 
Social Awareness: Pay attention to how others affect you. Other people’s moods and attitudes could influence yours, and your mood could affect your physical performance and even your attitude about training. Try to find a workout partner with equal, or more, motivation as you. If you prefer solo workouts, try keeping up with the latest on athletes you admire to get inspired.
Work/Life Balance: It’s good to work hard. Balance that out with play. If you work 40+ hours a week, it’s easy to be overwhelmed with your responsibilities. You can combat work-related anxiety with leisure time. If you like to play hard, even better. A good workout will give you that endorphin-high and re-set your mind and body so you can be more focused at work.   
Fruits and veggies
 What you eat can help or hurt your health. Eating foods with high nutrition value at proper moments in the day will fuel your workouts and everything else you have to do. Food also helps with mood. If you’re cranky, eat something. You’ll feel better. For more on diets, check out John Bradley’s Man vs. Food.
Sleep: It’s common sense yet often overlooked. Getting your eight hours of z’s every night is crucial to good physical and mental health. Your body and mind need that time to process your daily activities and re-charge.
Homeostasis: We all have natural comfort levels, and we spend a lot of energy trying to maintain that homeostasis. If you’re at your natural level, you feel both rested and energized, and you’re pretty much in your happy place, which enables you to do what you need and want. It’s up to you to determine what that happy place is and what gets you there so you can re-balance yourself whenever necessary.
For more fitness tips, check out Aaron Gulley’s Train Your Brain in our March issue.
--Aileen Torres
Photos: Buddhist meditation (Courtesy of Brian Ambrozy/Flickr). Fruit and vegetables (Courtesy of muammerokumus/Flickr).

Friday, March 11, 2011


Sometimes we all need to be taken care of, even if we have to take care of ourselves.  I'm having one of those days where I don't even feel good enough to spend 2 hours getting a mani/pedi, because it would require that I be in public, and sitting, instead of lying down.  Yikes!  Here are some of my favorite things for when I'm feeling like I need a little at-home pampering!  (They make great gifts, too!)  If you have any great ideas for when you're in  need of a little pampering, please share them in the comments!

One of my clients introduced me to this organic and decadent body care from The Body Deli (Thanks, Sue!).  The store is in California, but you can order their products from their website at  My client started me with some irresistable spice bar soap, which not only exfoliates my skin and smells delicious, it makes the whole shower smell delicious, too!  Even my husband remarked how good it made the shower smell as the bar of soap just sat on the shelf (most likely scoffing at his body wash).  She also got me some delicious pumpkin body scrub, which she followed up with the dark chocolate body scrub.  It makes your shower or bath feel like an at-home spa and my skin is so soft after use! com

Another treat I discovered when you need a little hot/cold therapy are these aromatherapy stuffed animals.  I'm not much of a stuffed animal person, but I found a super soft teddy bear that smelled so calming, and I don't regret buying him for an instant!  More comforting than your typical heating pad, or homemade square of material filled with rice, these animals smell good, are super soft, can be used hot or cold, and are adorable to boot!  Find your favorite animal, or buy one for a friend so they don't have to feel silly about buying one for themself!
When I'm tired, I crave caffeine and soda pop to wake me up, but if I get my head together I remember that adding freshly sliced lemon to my water makes me feel even better.  The lemon actually helps reduce bloating as well, so you get hydrated, feel skinnier, and your water has a refreshing lemon flavor that is invigorating as well!

Craving some decadent food?  Try melting dark chocolate (you can even use a mini-crockpot!) and dipping fresh strawberries.  Berries and dark chocolate offer a lot of antioxidants and they make you feel so spoiled!

I LOVE hot baths to reduce tension, calm nerves, even motivate me!  I love to add a little baby bath for bubbles (and scent) or even some Dr. Teal's Aromatherapy Salts.  They both add a luxurious scent to your bath as well as softening skin.  Sometimes I'll light some candles to help calm my nerves, and adding a neck pillow will help your neck and shoulders relax (or rolling up a bath towel behind your head works, too!).  Playing music or reading a book can be great, too!  After your bath, use a foam roller or tennis ball to work out knots in your muscles.  It's a great time to massage out those trigger points because your muscles are warmer and pliable (especially if you've been drinking some lemon water!)  Have you tried lying down with a tennis ball at the base of your skull?  It shouldn't take long to find the tight spots where your neck muscles attach--then just slowly rock your head back and forth and let that tennis ball release the built-up tension.

I hope some of these will work for you, too!  Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Beating Cabin Fever!

It's March 9th!  ...And it's still snowing, and I'm hearing a lot of people are feeling a little disheartened about the lingering snow and cold.  I mean, the lingering is really close to the line of loitering at this point, don't you think?  OK, let's be honest, this happens every year in Utah!  In February the sun comes out a little, the snow starts to melt, we get into the high 40's or low 50's, and then it snows into April.  What I'm saying is, while the official first day of spring is just around the corner, the warmth of spring might not be!  

Michelle Gielan, writer for Psychology Today, suggests some ways to beat cabin fever: 
"During the winter months, people spend more time inside.  Even if you have to bundle up, go out for a walk!  Set aside time, perhaps on your lunch hour, to spend a few minutes outside.  You'll get some exercise and soak up the sun, including the vitamins that come with it.  If there is a body of water such as a lake or pond nearby, take advantage of it.  One study shows that just five minutes a day walking by the water boosts our mood."

Another suggestion of hers is to plan a trip or event so that you have something to look forward to.  Here are some things going on locally that will help you feel like you're outta town!  

For a new experience, try the full moon snowshoeing/cross-country skiing at Sundance Resort--it's coming up on March 18th and 19th:
They also offer Night Owling!  A professionally-guided snowshoe tour including calling for owls, and using live owls to teach about wildlife in winter.  Coming up on March 25th!

Don't feel like climbing up the mountain?  How about riding down on a nordic coaster?  Park City Mountain Resort's Nordic Coaster is open during the winter and it is a BLAST!

Or how about tubing at Soldier Hollow?  You ride the mountain UP AND DOWN!  You can even do the biathlon on their Olympic course (including shooting at targets!)

Just wanna snuggle?  Try a SLEIGH RIDE at Homestead Resort!

No time for a getaway?  Try seeing the snow in a new way!  When was the last time you made a snowman?  My friend in Nashville, TN made a snowman and dressed it in a homemade (paper) hat, scarf, buttons, etc.  Or what about a snowball fight?  Or a snow angel?  

 Photo by Barry B. Brown/Coral Reef Photos

If, after trying your darndest to appreciate the lingering/loitering winter, you don't succeed, maybe you should start planning your mid-winter getaway for next year so you won't find yourself in the same funk.  Read this article from Outside blogger Aaron Gulley (who is also fed-up with the cold) about great Caribbean mountain biking getaways.  The pictures alone will cheer you up!

Monday, March 7, 2011

When should you second-guess yourself?

When I was 20 years old I did a study abroad in Italy.  It was a dream come true!  I had to learn Italian before we left, and then we practiced it more while there.  One weekend we traveled to Pompeii to see the amazing ruins there.  It was HOT that day...the stray dogs were lazing about in the dusty shade, and the humans were glowing, well, dripping with sweat.  At the end of our tour, we visited the snack bar to quench our thirst.  While I stood deliberating about which drink would taste the best on my parched tongue, letting others pass me in line in my indecision, I heard the man behind the counter say something to his co-worker that I loosely translated as "I feel sorry for her husband".  I thought, "hey!", and then I thought, "That hurt, but maybe it really shouldn't be this hard to pick out a beverage!"  I resolved from that moment on to be more decisive.  I don't always make the best decision, but I at least try to make a decision and then learn from the experience instead of wasting my time in indecision.  So when should you take the time in a decision, or to reconsider a previously-made decision?

I LOVED this article from Psychology Today blog writer Mark D. White, Ph.D., who suffers from indecision, too!  He explains when we are being rational in our decisions, and when we are simply rationalizing our decisions.  Can you tell the difference in your own life?  Read this!

When Should You Second-Guess Yourself?

When is a person like Buridan's ass?
Hi, I'm Mark, and I'm a pathological second-guesser. I spend a tremendous amount of time questioning my own decisions, to the point where I resemble Buridan's ass, who died fromhunger and thrist after being unable to choose between two equally good options (a pail of water and a bale of hay) equally distant from it. I can't tell you how much time I've wasted walking or driving around because I keep flipping between eating out and eating in, meanwhile growing hungrier every minute. And that's just the tip of the iceberg—today, I'm considering pulling out a conference later this year, after being accepting on the program and buying the plane tickets.
Clearly, this a problem. (Or is it? Yes, it is... but wait, maybe not...) But what kind of problem is it? There are many ways to characterize these problem, but I'll pick a way that I've discussed before in the context of procrastination: a lack of self-respect. In an earlier post, I talked about how procrastination, or weakness in will in general, betrays a lack of self-respect in that such a person fails to respect the choices and plans she committed herself to in the past.

For example, if Judy decides to learn to play the violin, but then repeatedly puts off practicing, she is letting herself down—and even though there is nothing inherently ethical (or unethical) in learning the violin, there is a lack of character evidenced by not following through with your deliberately made plans. We can assume Judy spent some time choosing whether to learn an instrument and then which one to take up, and she made that decision for certain reasons. If those reasons still hold, she should respect her earlier decision and maintain a regular practice schedule. More easily said than done, of course, but she owes it to herself to try.

But what if Judy's failure to practice isn't a result of procrastination or weakness of will? What if Judy decides, just as deliberately and reasonably as before, that playing the violin isn't what she wants to do? This is what philosophers calls rational reconsideration, and we definitely don't want people to avoid this type of reconsideration—but we have make sure Judy is really engaging in the rational kind. Perhaps she discovers that learning to play comes at some unforeseen cost, such as unexpected physical pain, or simply that she doesn't enjoy playing as much as she anticipated. These may be cases of rational reconsideration; if she had realized these things when she originally chose to take up the violin, she may have made a different choice.

What typically doesn't count as rational reconsideration is when you change your mind for the very reason you made the commitment in the first place. Another example: John decides to give up eating donuts because they're bad for his health. He makes this commitment to himself because he knows how much he loves the taste of donuts, so he has to exert willpower, or use some external coping mechanism, to keep away from donuts. One day, he decides to give in and have a donut because they just taste so darn good. This would not count as rational reconsideration, because his "rationale" was precisely what he made the commitment to fight against! On the other hand, if he had decided to have a donut because his coworkers were all having them and he didn't want to stand out, that may be rational reconsideration (insofar as this motivationis sincere and not just a rationalization), since that is a unique situation and one that merits revisiting the original choice.

The same concept can be applied to second-guessing decisions that don't seem to rise to the level of commitments per se, such as whether to eat out for lunch today. Let's say I decide to go out to eat, for any number of reasons: it's a nice day, I haven't eaten in a while, there's only so many ways to dress up a Pop-Tart, etc. But halfway there, I start to rethink this decision: maybe I don't need to go out, I could just sit by the window, I haven't tried deep-fried Pop-Tarts yet, etc. According to the same concept of self-respect mentioned above, I shouldn't be second-guessing a decision I made for sound reasons before, especially if nothing has changed that would have affected that judgment. If circumstances had changed—it starts to rain, for example, or a friend calls to invite me out for dinner later that day—then those are legitimate reasons to reconsider (similar to rational reconsideration). But second-guessing the decision I made earlier, on the same grounds on which I made the original decision, even though nothing had changed—that shows I have little faith in my judgment.

For the depressed, especially those suffering from manic depression, this becomes even worse. Negative thinking is very commonly associated withdepression (in different ways depending on the school of thought), and this can include having little regard for your own judgment. "Sure," Jennifer thinks to herself, "I decided to go to the movies tonight, but was that really a good decision? Did I take all factors into account? I probably didn't, did I? Maybe I shouldn't go... it was a bad idea from the start." And for the manic depressive, decisions made during high points, when the person feels good and life looks relatively promising, are subject to reconsideration during the low points, when things look bad again, and then again during the next high point. So Jennifer may well bounce back later, change her mind, and decide to go to the movies after all. Until, that is... well, you get the idea.So there are times when second-guessing is appropriate, namely when some circumstances or standards have changed, which represents good reasons to revisit the original choice. But second-guessing is not appropriate, and is likely to be detrimental, when nothing has changed to invalidate the original decision, and the reconsideration reflects a lack of faith in your judgment and reasoning. Try to remember that you made that original decision for a reason—and trust that it was a good reason—and follow through with it. And if it proves to be the wrong decision, take that into account and make a better decision next time. As they say, the only truly bad decision is one never made, and therefore never learned from.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vitamin D

It's a gorgeous sunny day outside!  Do you have on enough sunscreen?  Or did you get your unprotected sun exposure today?  

Are you confused about sun exposure and getting enough Vitamin D?  I saw this informative article on Gwyneth Paltrow's Blog--  Loved it!  Did you know that Vitamin D acts more as a horomone than a vitamin?   This article says 1 in 3 adults have a deficiency-- learn the right and wrong ways to get your Vitamin D below...

I suffered a pretty severe Tibial plateau fracture a few years ago (requiring surgery) which lead the orthopaedic surgeon to give me a bone scan, at which point it was discovered I had the beginning stages of osteopenia. This led my western/eastern doctors in New York to test my Vitamin D levels, which turned out to be the lowest they had ever seen (not a good thing). I went on a prescription strength level of Vitamin D and was told to…spend a bit of time in the sun! I was curious if this was safe, having been told for years to stay away from its dangerous rays, not to mention a tad bit confused. As we are all well schooled in the dangers of overexposure to the sun, I thought it would be interesting to hear Dr. Frank Lipman’s very informative (if possibly incendiary) opinion on the benefits of sunshine. Below is his article about the dangers of Vitamin D deficiency and the benefits of catching a few summer rays sensibly.

Vitamin D Deficiency
by Dr. Frank Lipman:

For the last 30 years or so, doctors (dermatologists in particular), health officials, beauty experts and many product companies have been demonizing the sun. They’ve told us to avoid it because without sunscreen, exposure to the sun’s rays will damage skin and cause cancer. But this oversimplification distorts the facts. In the past few years, numerous studies have shown that optimizing your Vitamin D levels may actually help prevent as many as 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers. And the best way to optimize Vitamin D levels is through safe, smart and limited sunscreen-free exposure to the sun.
For hundreds of thousands of years, man has lived with the sun: Our ancestors were outdoors far more often than indoors. We developed a dependence on sunshine for health and life, so the idea that sunlight is dangerous does not make sense. How could we have evolved and survived as a species, if we were that vulnerable to something humans have been constantly exposed to for their entire existence? Is it possible that our bodies are made in such a way that the sun is really a lethal enemy? Not in my opinion. Like all living things, we need sunshine, and it feels good for a reason. Much as plants harness the sun’s rays through photosynthesis, our bodies use sunlight to help the skin produce the Vitamin D it needs to build bones, quell inflammation, bolster the immune system and protect against cancer (including skin cancer).

“Let the sun shine in”

Western medicine has made a practice of telling us to abstain from things that are bad for us in extreme quantities, when in fact those same things⎯fat, salt, and sunshine for example⎯are very good for us when consumed wisely and in moderation. In the case of sunshine, our UV paranoia is contributing to a silent epidemic: Vitamin D deficiency. It’s silent because most people don’t know they are deficient. And it’s deadly, because this deficiency can lead to cancer and a multitude of other diseases. But we’ve demonized the sun and been brainwashed into believing that even small amounts will harm us. We are told to slather on sunscreen whenever we are in the sun, which blocks Vitamin D production and exacerbates the Vitamin D deficiency induced by our modern, indoor lives.
Studies show that as many as three out of four Americans suffer from Vitamin D deficiency. A study published in 2009 in the Archives of Internal Medicine (a leading scientific journal), found that 70% of Caucasians, 90% of Hispanics and 97% of African Americans in the US have insufficient blood levels of Vitamin D. Indeed, it’s thought to be the most common medical condition in the world, affecting over one billion people and we now have research showing just how essential Vitamin D is to health.
U.S. and Norwegian researchers have found that people who live in higher latitudes are more prone to Vitamin D deficiency and more prone to developing common cancers and dying of them. It’s now thought that this is due in part to the body’s inability to make enough activated Vitamin D to help regulate cell growth and to keep cell growth in check. Independent scientific research has shown that whether you live in a sunny or not-so-sunny climate, exposure to the sun and its UVB radiation will increase your production of Vitamin D and help lower the risk of a host of debilitating and fatal diseases – including many cancers, heart disease, high blood pressure, Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and depression.
And now the experts are concerned that we’re passing an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency down to a new generation. Studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency may imprint on an infant for the rest of his/her life. Infants that are deficient at birth can remain Vitamin D deficient for the first several months after birth, which may put them at risk of developing many chronic diseases much later in life.

What is Vitamin D and how much do you need?

Although called a vitamin, it is not. Vitamin D is in a class by itself, behaving more like a hormone. It is made in the skin, gets into your bloodstream and then goes into the liver and the kidney where it becomes activated as a key steroid hormone called Calcitriol. It then goes to the intestines, bones and other tissues, effecting metabolic pathways and the expression of myriad genes. Vitamin D's active form can interact with almost every cell in the body directly or indirectly, targeting up to two thousand genes, or about six percent of the human genome. It is necessary for numerous cellular functions, and when the body does not have what it needs to function optimally, it follows that we experience a decline in health and put ourselves at risk of disease. We now know that almost every cell and tissue in our body has Vitamin D receptors, which raises the question: Why would those receptors be there if they didn’t have a function?
Our Vitamin D needs vary with age, body weight, percent of body fat, latitude, skin coloration, season of the year, use of sun block, individual reactions to sun exposure, and our overall health. As a general rule, older people need more Vitamin D than younger people, large people need more that small people, fat people need more than skinny people, northern people need more than southern people, dark-skinned people need more than fair skinned people, winter people need more than summer people, sun-phobes need more than sun worshipers, and ill people may need more than well people.
The best way to determine whether or not you are deficient is to have your Vitamin D blood levels measured and replenish accordingly.

My Top Ten Tips for Healthy Sun Exposure and Optimizing your Vitamin D Levels

Have a healthy respect for the sun. It is powerful medicine with potentially dangerous side effects on your skin. Treat it like medication, using the lowest dose necessary, but don’t avoid it completely. Never fall asleep in the sun without protection.
Always avoid sunburn. It is sunburn, not healthy sun exposure that causes problems. Repeated sunburns, especially in children and very fair-skinned people, have been linked to melanoma. Whereas there is no credible scientific evidence that regular, moderate sun exposure causes melanoma or other skin cancers. Prepare your skin and build up tolerance gradually. Start early in the year (spring), or early in the morning before the sun is strongest and slowly build up the amount of time you spend in the sun.
Get 15-30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure 2-4 times a week. Each of us has different needs for unprotected sun exposure to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D. Depending on your age, what type of skin you have, where you live and what time of the day and year it is, your need will vary. The farther you live from the equator, the more exposure to the sun you need in order to generate Vitamin D. For instance, a fair skinned person, sitting on a New York beach in June, in the middle of the day, for about 10-15 minutes (enough to cause a light pinkness 24 hours after), is producing the equivalent of 15,000-20,000 IU’s of Vitamin D. But the same person living further north in the U.K, or Canada would need 20-30 minutes to get that light pinkness, which is all one needs. Also, people with dark skin pigmentation may need 20-30 times as much exposure to sunlight as fair-skinned people, to generate the same amount of Vitamin D. For more specifics, I recommend the tables in The Vitamin D Solution by Dr Michael Holick.
Get frequent, short exposures. Regular short exposures have been found to be much more effective and safer than intermittent long ones. Note that you cannot generate Vitamin D when sitting behind a glass window, because the UVB rays necessary for Vitamin D production are absorbed by glass.
After your 15-30 minutes of sun-block free time in the sun, you must protect yourself. If you’re going to be out in the sun for longer periods, wear a hat to protect your face and light colored clothing that blocks the sun and keeps you cool. When you do apply sunscreen, use one with fewer chemicals. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of safer sunscreens. Remember that even weak sunscreens block the ability of your skin to manufacture Vitamin D, so once you have applied it, you will not be making Vitamin D.
Boost your “internal sunscreen” by consuming anti-oxidants and beneficial fats. These strengthen skin cells, helping to protect them from sun damage. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, goji berries and pomegranates and supplementing with green powdered mixes and fish oils are great options when going into the sun.
Have your Vitamin D blood levels checked regularly. The correct blood test is 25OH vit D or 25 Hydroxy Vitamin D test. Be aware, however, that current “normal” range for Vitamin D is 20 to 55 ng/ml. This is much too low!!! Those levels may be fine if you want to prevent rickets or osteomalacia, but they are not adequate for optimal health. The ideal range for optimal health is 50-80 ng/ml.
Don’t rely on food alone for your Vitamin D needs. It is almost impossible to get your Vitamin D needs met by food alone. Fatty wild fish (not farmed), like salmon and mackerel are the best food sources, but you would have to eat huge quantities of them daily to get anywhere near what your body needs. Although fortified milk and orange juice do contain Vitamin D, you would have to drink at least 10 glasses of each daily and I don’t recommend doing that.
Take Vitamin D3 supplements if necessary. In the winter or if you don’t get enough healthy sun exposure or if your blood levels are low, make sure you supplement with at least 2,000 IU’s a day of Vitamin D3. Although I recommend moderate sunbathing, Vitamin D supplements provide the same benefits as sunshine (in terms of Vitamin D needs). But, if taken in too large a dose, they can cause Vitamin D toxicity, whereas sun exposure does not. It is impossible to generate too much Vitamin D in your body from the sun: Your body will self-regulate and only generate what it needs, which just reaffirms to me that we should get our Vitamin D from sensible sun exposure. Here are specific guidelines for replenishing Vitamin D.
Although irresponsible sunbathing is unquestionably harmful and precautions need to be taken, regular, moderate, unprotected sun exposure is essential for good health. It is free, easy to get and good for you when used intelligently. It is the only reliable way to generate Vitamin D in your own body, which we now know to be an essential ingredient for optimizing health and preventing disease.
Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC, where he combines the best of Western medicine with age-old healing techniques from the East. He is the author of the recent REVIVE; Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again (2009) (previously called SPENT) and TOTAL RENEWAL; 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003).
He is the creator of Eleven Eleven Wellness, Guided Health Solutions, a leading edge integrative health program.