Archive | June, 2018

The Anxiety and Panic Projection: The IMAX Movie In Your Head

Experiencing anxiety and watching a scary movie isn’t much different.

One isn’t fun because you think it’s real, and the other is fun because you know it isn’t real. Knowing it’s a complete fabrication you paid money for, Freddy Krueger and Jason can entertain you at the same time they’re scaring the pants off you.

What happens if you stand up in a middle of a suspenseful movie, turn on the lights and begin reminding everyone that it’s just an illusion, and that it’s all made up? Most will tell you to sit down and shut up – and while you’re at it, to turn out those lights! Nobody, it seems, wants to be reminded it isn’t real, especially when they already know it isn’t real.

In this article, we’ll look at the inevitable consequences of believing what anxiety and panic says when it’s being projected onto the screen of OUR awareness. More important, we’ll come up with a way to change our response to anxiety so that we’re back in control, whether Jason and Freddy are after us or not.

Anxiety is a response to a threat this isn’t real.

What you feel is real in the sense that it’s happening, but WHY you feel it is not real.

This all-important distinction is the key that unlocks the door to your suffering.

The problem with anxiety and panic is that we get tricked into believing that since it feels real, then it must be real. This unfounded assumption has us avoiding the people, places and things we used to enjoy.

And when we avoid our anxiety, we make it stronger.

But the problem is, we can’t ever escape where we are, for wherever we go, there we are. We already are where we are running to, even if we don’t recognize it. When we see the wisdom in no escape, we face what’s facing us. When we face what’s in front of us, we chip away at the hold it has on us.

This is all about being free from our anxiety, isn’t it? If so, we can never be free from anything if we run from it.

In fact, what we run from can only chase us.

So, have you ever seen a movie in IMAX? If you haven’t, you should. The highest resolution cameras in the world make for an intimate and virtual experience. It’s about going to the movies to forget you’re at the movies.

The memory of my first IMAX experience is still etched in my mind. More than three decades later, it’s still vivid and impossible to forget.

The opening scene was of a helicopter slowly rising above a Philadelphia neighborhood street, and then hovering above the city at a low altitude. You never saw the helicopter, but because of the floating sensation, you just knew you were in one.

There’s no frame, so the picture is bigger, higher and wider than your field of vision. You’re completely immersed in the scene, believing you’re part of the scene. And then suddenly there I was, in the cockpit of an airplane, or so I thought, flying just a few feet above a huge lake.

You really get the sensation of flying when you’re right above a layer of clouds or slow-moving water. Being right in front of the nose of the airplane looking forward, it felt so real that I totally forgot I was sitting in a chair in a movie theater.

It’s so much fun because you think it’s real.

And it cost only fifteen bucks to feel like you’re flying like Superman! It was the most exhilarating sensation I ever had. Because it made such a lasting imprint on me, I wonder if it contributed to becoming an airline pilot for a short time two decades later?

The sound in an IMAX movie is so precise you can hear a pin drop from across the room and know exactly where it landed. You don’t just see and hear an IMAX movie – you feel it in your bones.

All boundaries drop away and you find yourself intimately in the center of all the action, feeling every sight and sound projected.

The experience is the closest you’ll get to the real thing.

This is precisely what happens when anxiety, panic attacks and phobias are projected onto the screen of YOUR awareness.

Like the IMAX experience, anxiety and panic attacks hold you hostage. Since you feel it in your bones, you don’t question the validity of what your mind and body is telling you.

But this time, it’s no fun at all because you think it’s real.

You believe that IF you feel it in your bones, THEN it must be true. But it isn’t. It just feels that way. The part of your brain that is designed to keep you safe is working overtime – and it’s not getting paid time and a half!

It’s not real in the sense that there isn’t any actual danger involved. It’s not real because there isn’t anything to be worried about. If it isn’t real, then it must be illusory. Nonetheless, it’s a very convincing projection, even if it is illusory.

Knowing it’s just an imaginary movie playing in your head, you aren’t taken in by it. Knowing it’s just an imaginary movie playing in your head, you give yourself the ability to disengage from it and watch it unfold without being tortured by it.

You can just let the projection play out because you know why you feel it isn’t real.

So the next time you find yourself at The IMAX movie in your head, just remember it’s just a movie projected onto the screen of your awareness. You’re completely safe. What you don’t believe in doesn’t have the power to torture you.

If you find yourself feeling tortured, it simply means you’re believing in what’s being projected.

In reality, you’re at the movies and you KNOW you’re at the movies – even if it IS a front row seat.

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The Four Fake Anxiety Attack Symptoms

If you have experienced any anxiety attacks, you have for sure seen that they come with a variety of symptoms affecting your body; they range from difficult breathing to a strong chest pain, to a “like you are dying” feeling. The most popular anxiety attack symptoms are also the fake ones, i.e. they’re not the real expression of the problem you are experiencing. Let’s see why this is true.

Shortness of breath is the most frequent anxiety attack symptom. Its popularity is due to the fact that many people feel other anxiety symptoms and this make them panic. This panic then expresses itself as shortness of breath. The simple advice here is that if you are experiencing shortness of breath, realize that this is just part of an anxiety attack and your world is not caving in. Shortness of breath is just expression of everything else you are already experiencing with your panic attack. This should help you to regain control more easily.

If you are in a crowded area you could experience another anxiety attack symptom: becoming lightheaded. This comes often from an underlying phobia about being in crowds. Even if you could think you are having a major problem, this is usually just one of the symptoms arising from anxiety attacks. So gain awareness and recover a little bit of more control, as with the previous symptom.

When you have an anxiety attack you’ll find yourself with a pounding heart. Sometimes you could think you are going to have an heart attack, however this won’t happen as you will be experiencing just anxiety.

Finally, fear of losing control is for sure another anxiety symptom winner. This is typically result of a mind game: you experience other symptoms, you start to feel nervous, then you realize that symptoms are not relieving, and finally you start to think you have a problem. Than you see that this problem is not solving, as your symptoms are not lighting, and finally you feel that you are losing control. Now the game is done and you start to feel fear. And guess what? This fear will increase all the other symptoms. This is because usually the fear symptoms are really the same than the anxiety ones.

The short version of this story is that the major anxiety symptoms will often be the result of lighter anxiety symptoms and your mind games. And this will build into an anxiety snowball that increases in time with the upsetting condition if this is not resolved. So the previous four symptoms are at the end “fake” symptoms. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist. They’re totally real. However the more you’ll try to solve them, the more you’ll feel anxiety as they are expression of an underlying lack of control and you won’t able to control them directly. You have to recover control on what is behind these symptoms instead.

This is for sure a feasible task. Remember that anxiety can be treated and once you learn to control your attack, you’ll have your life back.

You have four main action items to start with:

1) Remember that your big symptoms are just a snowball result of small starting problems. Remembering what happened when you started to feel anxious could help you much more than anything else.

2) Do small actions that help you to regain control.

3) In the meanwhile, visit your physician and with his help define if your anxiety attacks require serious treatment or just a behavioural approach, just like the two above tips.

4) Know more about your anxiety and use this knowledge to regain control.

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The Most Effective of All Natural Anxiety Cures is Acceptance

Living through an anxiety disorder can be horrifying! Anxiety, complete with its panic attacks, can be so overwhelming the sufferer doesn’t know where to turn because he or she thinks no one can possibly understand what he or she is going through. The sufferer even feels the family doctor would not understand.

Most people will try to hide their case of anxiety disorder from everyone they know. This happens because people don’t realize they are experiencing a disorder that is relatively common. Therefore, they think nobody will understand their anxiety and may actually believe they are somehow weak because their nerves have gotten the better of them.

Anxiety Can and Has Been Overcome Many Times

It is important the anxiety sufferer understand anxiety disorder, with its awful spells of panic is not an unusual disease. Many people have experienced it and in every case, it is considered a condition that can be beaten.

In winning the battle with anxiety disorder the first step requires resisting the temptation to fight the feelings it brings on. Fighting only intensifies anxiety and panic. While fighting makes anxiety worse, giving in to it to helps keep it under control. This is because adrenaline pumps through an anxiety sufferer’s bloodstream and this adrenaline brings about uncomfortable feelings. When we fight these unwanted feelings we cause more adrenaline to enter our bloodstream, and so a fear – adrenaline – fear cycle ensues.

The counterpart to fighting anxiety is running away from it. This doesn’t work either. Trying to ignore your symptoms or pretend they are not there is akin to running away from them. Trying to fight anxiety or running away from it will make more adrenaline flow and therefore cause more and more of these disquieting feelings.

Acceptance is The Key

Not running away or fighting the symptoms of anxiety means you are fulling realizing these symptoms are occurring. So, to realize they are happening, studying the feelings anxiety and panic brings on is helpful because this is the opposite of fighting or running away. When we don’t fight anxiety and we don’t run away from it, we will not be adding any adrenaline to our bloodstreams. Therefore, we will not be manufacturing more frightful feelings anxiety is known for bringing on.

Just make sure you know you are dealing with anxiety disorder. In other words, if a symptom such as chest pains is what you are experiencing, go to a medical facility to make sure it is an anxiety problem and not a heart problem you are having. Once assured your heart is good, you can go ahead and deal with the anxiety disorder.

Letting Anxiety Die

In conclusion, when an panic suffer learns how to prevent making the panic more intense, he or she is in recovery. The recovery won’t come overnight. However, the anxiety and panic will quickly lessen in severity because without additional fear of anxiety’s symptoms, adrenaline flow will be dying down instead of flaring up.

The bottom line is, the key to recovering from anxiety using natural means is learning how to accept the strange and unwanted; even sometimes tormenting feelings anxiety brings about.. The importance of not fighting or running away from panic and anxiety cannot be overstated. This acceptance is a necessary part of beating an anxiety disorder. Then, you must also let occasional attacks come back as they will and receive them as passively as you can. Realize you cannot control these symptoms and the anxiety disorder will die of natural causes.

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Anxiety Muscle Fatigue – One of the Major Symptoms of Anxiety

Approximately, 6.8 million adults worldwide are affected by anxiety and the symptoms of this psychological state of mind can prove to be rather crippling. Anxiety muscle fatigue is one of the most stressful and troublesome symptoms of anxiety that bothers people suffering from anxiety the most. It is believed that genetics, neurological imbalances and past-life experiences combined with anxiety are the main cause of this condition that is experienced by people.

How Does Anxiety Cause Muscle Fatigue?

Difficulty concentrating, interrupted sleep patterns, irritability, muscle tension and fatigue, and restlessness is among the most common symptoms of anxiety. If people experience any of these symptoms, particularly muscle fatigue, because of unknown reasons and for a prolonged period of time, then will be a wise decision to go and see a doctor. Basically, anxiety results in an increase in the production of the stress hormone and this is why people suffering from anxiety experience increased fatigue in their muscles. The energy levels in the body decrease if an individual continuously feels nervous, threatened and worried, and this is why they ultimately feel fatigued if they are too anxious. Even lifestyle factors can contribute to this condition. Thus, being overworked and undernourished can also lead to this condition as well.

Anxiety Muscle Fatigue and Cramps

People suffering from severe anxiety typically suffer from cramps and fatigue, since these among the main symptoms of this issue. Currently, there are millions of people in the world who are suffering from anxiety and a majority of them even experience muscle pain because of this problem as well. Anxiety basically brings out acute inner tension in people and muscle pain they feel is a common symptom of this. People suffering from anxiety, who also experience muscle fatigue, tend to become rather hopeless because of the pain and restlessness they have to endure. Thus, the physical pain that is experienced as a result of anxiety can only be reduced if the anxiety is treated first.

Prolonged Anxiety Muscle Fatigue

People should definitely seek medical assistance and go visit a doctor if they have been experiencing muscle fatigue from the past two weeks or so. Fatigue and weakness are two absolutely different feelings and should never be mixed with each other. Usually a lack of muscular and physical strength is experienced by people who are feeling weak. Weakness makes it difficult to move the arms and legs, while pain can also be experienced. On the other hand, people who are feeling fatigued will feel exhausted and tired, as if they need to rest. Usually, some larger issue tends to be causing these feelings and in many cases they are either a symptom of anxiety or depression. Thus, in order to treat this condition, this symptom must, firstly, be evaluated so that the cause can be ruled out.

How to Treat Anxiety Muscle Fatigue?

Using antidepressant medication is one way of treating muscle fatigue that is being caused by anxiety or depression. Both the physical symptoms and the psychological issues related to anxiety can be treated in a variety of ways. This condition caused by anxiety should never be ignored because this will only lead to further mental stress. Without adequate physical strength, managing mental issues can become quite difficult. The anxiety or depression that is causing this condition can be treated through dietary changes, counseling and regular exercising as well.

People might have to undergo evaluation by a healthcare professional if the muscle fatigue is persisting, and the cause cannot be determined. Once the healthcare professional determines whether anxiety, depression or some other mental condition is causing this condition, they will then recommend the appropriate treatment for it. The muscle fatigue can turn extreme, and the everyday aspects of life can be affected by other symptoms that will begin arising if anxiety that is causing the fatigue is not treated on time.

The feelings of muscle fatigue can also be combated in some easy ways, such:

– Visiting a counselor and seeking advance to deal with stressful situations

– Drinking at least eight glasses of water everyday

– Joining a meditation or yoga class

– Eating a balance and healthy diet to keep energy levels maintained

– Balance the intake of calcium and magnesium

If nothing works, then the best treatment plan for anxiety muscle fatigue can be determined by a qualified doctor.

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Why The Medicinal Use Of L-Carnosine For Anxiety Works For You

Those who suffer from panic attacks and bouts of depression, among other psychological condition may benefit from the medicinal use of L-Carnosine for anxiety. This natural ingredient is a combination of two non-essential amino acids which boost the function and health of your whole body. This natural alternative health supplement acts as a great nerve tonic and supports healthy nervous system functions. When all of your organ systems work in harmony with one another, they stimulate the body’s natural healing response to reach optimal health conditions.

How using L-Carnosine for anxiety prevents recurrent symptoms

The main culprit of psychological disorders that cause the sufferer to experience severe anxiety is nutrient and body substance level imbalances. Certain Ayurvedic medicinal practices state that any imbalance in the body leads to pathological conditions. Using natural L-Carnosine for anxiety reduces inflammation, interruption and chemical imbalances that cause the symptoms of this debilitating disorder. This natural ingredient has the ability of relaxing the nervous system so that the sufferer experiences a sense of calmness, even during times of stress and stimuli.

Healthy benefits associated with the use of L-Carnosine for anxiety

This alternative health supplement normalizes activity in the brain while the naturally occurring antioxidants actually protect cells from damage from different harmful substances. This amino acid extends the life of healthy cells and stimulates the proliferation of certain tissues in the brain to reduce the presence of symptoms. This creates a healing process that starts in the brain and spreads throughout the body. The application of L-Carnosine for anxiety influences the mind to operate efficiently without delay which is essential in receiving chemical and genetic information from the proteins included in this ingredient.

Clinical analysis of the natural L-Carnosine for anxiety

Clinical research has been performed on the therapeutic effects of this amino acid which is naturally present in the brain. This anti-oxidizing substance complements any therapy currently used by the sufferer because of its innate ability to block to effects of chemical and nutrient imbalances that cause the signs and symptoms of this disease. Your cells and nerves need to be revitalized to heal from the progressive effects of this disease. When individuals begin use of L-Carnosine for anxiety, they may feel a great reduction of debilitating symptoms that cause pain, depression, and other mental and emotional disorders.

Out tips and considerations when L-Carnosine is used for anxiety issues

This key ingredient has many revitalizing properties that enhance the function of all organ systems of the body, starting with the brain and nervous system. These key amino acids act as catalysts for biochemical reactions in the body which normalize and sustain healthy functions so that individuals can live a functional life. When this ingredient is used in combination with other vitamins, minerals, and ingredients, its healing power is amplified so that the ultimate rejuvenating effects can take place. Using medicinal L-Carnosine for anxiety is a great natural solution to help normalize internal body health.

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Gout and Exercise – Some Surprising News

Gout is the most painful form of arthritis and is caused by an excessive amount of uric acid in the body. Gout symptoms come on quickly and intensely and often include extreme pain, swelling in the affected joint, redness and lessened mobility. Uric acid is a naturally occurring chemical in the body and if being over produced can be controlled with some medications specially made for the treatment of gout, though most excessive levels of uric acid come from a diet high in purines.

Purines are found in foods high in protein and can be found in common foods like salmon, yeast, bacon, turkey, and scallops, as well as unusual foods like heart, mutton, smelt, sardines and liver. When considering a treatment plan for gout, it’s important to work with not only your doctor but also a trained gout diet nutritionist.

Gout and exercise have also made some recent leaps up the gout treatment plan ladder. When thinking about gout and exercise it’s important to consider exercises that are easy on the joints and will not aggravate gout symptoms further. The best two forms of exercises for gout patients have been determined to be water aerobics and yoga. Water aerobics allows for the strengthening of muscles and joints in a low impact environment that offers no pressure on the joints during the workout routine.

Yoga offers stretching of the joints and muscles to help with flexibility which can also help prevent gout episodes and symptoms. Yoga is also a progressive form of exercise which allows for someone who is only a beginner or experience severe gout symptoms to start with smaller movements, then move to more challenging movements and positions as they are able to. Both of these forms of exercise are widely available at most fitness centers and community centers.

While, gout and exercise is a great way to help treat and prevent gout episodes, it’s important to work with a nutritionist on putting together a gout diet to get and keep the excessive of uric acid out of your body to better prevent future episodes. Pain management may also need to be worked into your treatment plan while you are working to prevent future episodes. With a little help and some dedication you can get your gout under control and keep it from affecting your active life.

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Don’t Believe The Myths About Facial Exercises

Facial exercises are becoming increasingly prevalent for men and ladies in their quest to look younger, but there are many myths about facial exercise regimens. We detach fact from fiction.

For those who are not sure what yoga facial exercises are, they are usually techniques used on various parts of the face and neck to firm sagging face skin, eradicate hog jowls and double chin, revitalize skin color, tighten turkey neck, and smooth out face and eye wrinkles. Some face exercise programs involve isometric principles, and some employ massage techniques involving the use of the fingertips.

Here are some interesting things to take note of concerning facial exercises:

Myth: You can alter the facial structure of the face with plastic surgery, but not with a facial exercise system.

Fact: To some extent, you can actually change your face structure using facelift exercises, just not as fast and as drastic as cosmetic surgery. If you concentrate on certain regions such as cheek exercises, the cheeks will fill out. If you do them on eye bags, these will diminish and your face form will alter towards a more youthful shape. However, facial yoga is not effective for correcting birth defects or damage caused by an accident.

Myth: Surgically cutting away loose skin to firm turkey neck, lift sagging face skin and hanging jowls, and to solve a double chin problem is better than painstakingly massaging these areas.

Fact: Surgical lifting of sagging skin is temporary. After a while, it will become baggy again, and you will have to repeat the surgery at more cost to you. Face and neck exercises will keep the skin firm and toned on an ongoing, yet non-invasive basis.

Myth: DIY Non-surgical facelifts are not as effectual as plastic surgery procedures.

Fact: Cosmetic surgery is radical and interferes with the body’s natural energy lines and nodal points. Facial exercises are gentle, non-invasive, and boost the energy and blood flow, as opposed to restricting it.

Myth: A facial exercise system has to be undertaken every day, and it’s complicated to remember all the techniques and points, and is also time-consuming.

Fact: It’s advisable to do facelift exercises daily for about twenty minutes. There are generally about twenty points to massage on the face and neck, so one minute on each point will suffice; usually they are situated on the same face and neck positions that acupuncturists use to treat certain ailments.

Myth: Facelift exercises are painful, or will damage the sinuses.

Fact: Face exercises must be applied with the fingertips firmly to very specific pressure points. Firm, but not too firm as to cause pain or discomfort. At first, you might experience some stuffiness for the first few days in your nose as you massage the sinus area, but that is perfectly natural, and this will dissipate quickly.

Myth: Facial yoga, or exercises don’t produce better results than creams, lotions, Botox, thermage, laser treatments as an anti-aging skin care routine to smooth out eye wrinkles(crow’s feet), laugh and forehead lines.

Fact: Lotions and creams are great for anti-aging skin care in the long term, and I advise people to use this when performing yoga facial exercises to work in the cream simultaneously. Botox and other artificial methods are quick fixes and can even be harmful to you. But facial yoga can easily turn back the clock holistically, not just be used to slow down the effects of aging.

Before spending substantial amounts of money and risking your looks to a surgeon, try a facial exercise program. They are very cost-effective, and a powerful tool to regain your youthful looks in a couple of weeks!

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Current and Emerging Trends in Fitness

Fitness is a constantly changing field. There are always new machines, methods, and theories aimed at improving the quality of life. Fitness fads may come and go, but there have been several trends in fitness that have lasted several decades and continue to grow in popularity.

Aerobic exercise has always formed the backbone of the fitness industry. Running, step aerobics, dance-type aerobics, boxing, kickboxing, and spinning, an indoor cycling class set to music, have all emerged as mainstays in health and fitness facilities. Their popularity continues to grow.

Aquatic exercise has also increased in popularity. Water has the unique ability to allow cardiovascular and muscular improvements with little stress on the joints of the body. Aquatic exercise is no longer just swimming laps; almost every class that can be done on land is now being done in the water. Running, spinning, step aerobics, and even strengthening can all be done in the water.

With the improvement of health care and longer life spans, older adult exercise has expanded and has also become a necessity to maintain a positive quality of life. Not only are older adults engaging in exercise to maintain and improve health, they are taking part in competitive road races, cycling races, and bodybuilding competitions. Age barriers no longer exist and because of this, fitness classes geared toward the older population are widespread.

As grandparents and great-grandparents take part in sports and fitness, they set an example for younger generations. These younger generations have the benefit of improved technology and more abundant food, and with these things-and a more sedentary lifestyle-come the increased chance that they will live a less healthy lifestyle than their active older family members. The fitness field combats this possibility of unhealthy living with sports and fitness programs geared toward children and young adults. This fitness trend is now faced with the challenge of improving the heath of future generations and has the opportunity to encourage a lifetime of healthy habits.

But the greatest transformation in the fitness field has been the growth of the mind-and-body exercises. There has been a shift toward gentler, more introspective exercises that also contribute to improving cardiovascular health while increasing flexibility and muscular strength. Yoga and pilates would fall into this category of exercise. Yoga has its roots in ancient India (from around 2800 BCE) and focuses on breathing and mindfulness during a practice of held poses. Pilates, on the other hand, was developed by Joseph H. Pilates (1880-1967) around 1926. Pilates’ method involved a unique series of stretching and strengthening exercises. Both yoga and pilates use an individual’s breath and self-awareness as the focus of exercise. Aside from the obvious strength and flexibility benefits, these mind and body exercises are popular for their stress relieving qualities.

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The Fitness Boom

While the worlds of sports and fitness are intertwined, it was not until the 1970s that popular culture was ready to accept fitness as eagerly as it had accepted sports. Fitness had not yet taken on its importance for improving health, and popular opinion likened fitness to work and manual labor. In the 1940s and 1950s, few participated in fitness willingly. Among those who did were Jack LaLanne, Victor Tanny, Joseph Gold, Joseph Weider, and Les and Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton. These fitness pioneers, among others, drew people to the beach in Santa Monica, California-the original Muscle Beach. Visitors came to watch their feats of strength and acrobatic displays. More and more viewers became participants, and these people, originally on the fringe, became a part of the cultural mainstream. Jack LaLanne, Vic Tanny, and Joe Gold all started gym chains with bodybuilding as their main focus. Due toPage 602 the influence of Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, women were introduced to the muscularity and strength that came with bodybuilding. No longer reserved for just for “strongmen,” bodybuilding brought about a change in the mindsets of all those who visited Muscle Beach.

From the seeds planted at the Santa Monica came Venice Beach, the home to bodybuilding legends Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, and many, many more. Venice Beach in the 1970s brought with it a fitness explosion across the globe. Not only did bodybuilding become mainstream, but the popular opinion of fitness changed dramatically. Americans in the 1970s would do anything to improve their health and fitness.

Sports and athletics grew in the 1970s as well. Women became increasingly more interest in participating in sports; however, very little funding was available for the development of woman’s athletics. A landmark law was passed in 1972. Part of a series of educational amendments, “Title IX,” legislated gender equity in athletics. Not only were women becoming more active and more physically fit, a law now existed that called for equal funding and equal opportunity for female athletes. On 21 September 1973, female tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the first-ever winner-take-all “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. The hoopla surrounding this event-and its outcome-provided even more incentive for women to become involved with sports and fitness. By 1977, a record 87.5 million U.S. adults over the age of eighteen claimed to be involved in some sort of athletic activity.

The fitness industry continued its growth into the 1980s. Gym owners tailored their facilities to attract customers and new gyms opened around the United States and around the world. A healthy lifestyle was becoming a part of popular culture. No longer was it unfashionable to be athletic, strong, or healthy. With the development of new technology, health and fitness were able to make their way into homes. Fitness tapes became available in the early 1980s and continue to encourage those to whom a gym or health facility may not be accessible. Innovators such as Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons were able to bring their exercise programs to a new population. Joe Weider became a significant force in bringing health, fitness, and bodybuilding as close as the mailbox through his magazines and pamphlets. Because of fitness pioneers such as Weider, Gold, Fonda, and Simmons, fitness continues to play a significant role in modern society. The importance of being in good health and physically fit has made and continues to have an impact.

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What Has Changed in Health & Fitness Over the Last 30 Years?

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

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